Don’t worry, stress is bad for you. Excellent advice in theory, hugely unhelpful in practice.
Similar to much of the well-meaning advice we’re given for our health: Stop smoking. Drink less alcohol. Exercise more. Eat less fatty and sugary foods.
At least those we have some kind of control over, but worrying isn’t something most of us can consciously control. So how do we eliminate worry and stress less? A survey from Age UK in 2012 found that the average person worries about five things every day: Money, Health, Getting Older, Work Stress, and Gaining Weight.
But this list is missing the overwhelming anxiety that happens when you have a sick relative or close friend. This is hardly surprising, as it encompasses most of the big five common worries:
“How will I pay for my relative’s care?”
“My friend is the same age as me and has this health condition, what if I suddenly get sick?”
“My parents are elderly, so I must be getting old too”
“I’ve taken so much time off work to care for my friend, will my boss fire me?”
Even if they’re not in the hospital or acutely unwell, the looming dark cloud of a chronic illness can feel like it’s a constant worry. This is unfortunately become the reality for a large proportion of us, we may all be living longer, but the numbers of people with long term conditions like diabetes are only increasing.
So what can we do?
Wrap everyone we love in bubble wrap? Call them three times a day to harass them into taking their medication?? Google their symptoms endlessly??
How about keeping up to date with their vital statistics (blood pressure, blood glucose etc) and if they’ve taken their medication through your smartphone? Checking their GP or nurse appointments? Booking the appointments yourself? Will that take some of the anxiety away?
The myGP team have been thinking hard about how best to help us all worry less about ours and our loved ones’ health. They are putting even more of these strategies into place for the next update of the app, in a few months time. It might not take away all the worry but it’s definitely a step in the right direction. And hopefully help us all stress less.
By Fi Ozin