I got my first breaking point as a German expatriate in the Philippines as a result of culture shocks. This was a long time ago and very much different from today’s situation. Meanwhile I have been living here smooth and sound for several years.
Time changed. We all continue to suffer from the previous pandemic and the restrictions in our daily lives. Many friends, colleagues and neighbors I talked with are reaching the breaking point.
They are experiencing mood changes. Indeed, the emotional effects of stress can have a serious impact on your day-to-day mood and mental health. Firstly, you may find that you’re feeling more irritated or pessimistic than usual. This mood change can then begin to affect your motivation to work, socialise with your loved ones or complete the things on your to-do list. If left unchecked, these feelings can threaten to completely overwhelm you, leaving you feeling apathetic, depressed, frustrated, panicky or trapped.
Many are having trouble sleeping. If you’re going through a stressful period in your life, you may have noticed just how difficult it can be to maintain a regular sleeping pattern. For instance, you may find it hard to fall or stay asleep at night. You may also have trouble getting up in the morning. A lack of proper sleep can leave you exhausted during the day which often leads to increased caffeine consumption which further exacerbates the issue. If left unmanaged, you may start feeling like you never have the energy for anything and soon reach an emotional breaking point.
A lot of people around me can’t seem to focus or concentrate properly. If you’re battling to concentrate, keep focused or remember certain things, this is a good indication that you’re feeling the effects of anxiety. These changes in thinking and memory (also known as “brain fog”) can occur when you’re trying to manage several stressful situations at once, which can make you confused and forgetful. These situations may include demanding jobs or emotionally-taxing tasks. Unregulated emotional exhaustion can really impact your attention, executive functioning (organising and planning), and memory.
A lot of people are expressing difficulty with personal relationships. You’ll often notice emotional exhaustion from prolonged stress manifesting in your relationship and your capacity to connect with your family on a meaningful emotional level. You may find yourself picking fights over small things, feeling angry at or unsatisfied with your partner or being overly judgemental. Tension in your close relationships can cause you to feel anxious, detached, and withdrawn which can make it difficult to ask for emotional support when you need it or be there for those you love.
A low self-esteem is being reported a lot these days. If lately you’ve found your mind overwhelmed with negative thoughts, you’ve probably also noticed their impact on how you view yourself. Perhaps you’re feeling more cynical and hopeless than usual? Or maybe you’ve lacked confidence in situations where you would normally speak up. At times, you may even have found yourself wondering if what you’re doing even matters anymore. It is important to recognise these changes. If left unchecked, these feelings may progress into symptoms of depression.
To stay in balance you need to turn these behaviors around. The smallest changes make a difference, but pay attention to changes that aren’t so small, like getting enough sleep (without drugs), dealing with your anger and anxiety before they erupt, moving around during the day, making time to play, eating sensibly and simply being with yourself.
Especially during the pandemic, I learned that prevention is the best medicine. Reaching your breaking point means that you’ve crossed into the red zone, from which it’s hard to return. You won’t get to your red zone if you apply the habits of self-care I’ve just listed. The choice is really yours. Medical research has abundantly validated that being in balance is the healthiest way to live. Spend the next two weeks getting back into balance. You’ll be amazed and pleased with the results. I adopted a certain “Bahala-na”-emotion especially when it comes to “bad news”. I enjoy playing my piano and listening to wonderful relaxing music. I enjoy staying together with my family. I talked to God… .