Stress is often caused by mental or emotional pressure, and it can affect anyone - 1 in 14 adults in the UK reportedly feel stress every day!
When a person is stressed, the body releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline. These can cause real physical symptoms such as a faster heartbeat and sweating. If someone is stressed for a prolonged period of time, it can cause serious and debilitating consequences and make life very hard to handle. Symptoms of stress can be physical and emotional.
Now more than ever it is important to look after your mental health, we have listed some easy tips to help deal with stress:
Take care of yourself: Eat healthy, exercise, get plenty of sleep. Even more importantly, give yourself a break and be kind to yourself. It is okay to have stressful days, or days that we don’t take care of ourselves in the traditional ways. Being gentle and forgiving of the fact that you’re just human and trying your best is a critical part of self-care.
Talk to others: Don’t isolate yourself. Reach out to your community and participate in hobbies or ask for support. People around you want to do what they can to make your life easier. If you’re part of a faith community, reach out to them and ask for their support also. Being around others and helping others will help you find reciprocated support.
Avoid unhealthy habits: Alcohol, caffeine and smoking are great tools for temporary relief when it comes to stress but instead of resolving your stress, it is likely to create extra stress in the long run. It is much better to face your stress and try to resolve it.
Don’t run before you can walk: Don’t rush into doing too many things at once. Take small steps, prioritising the tasks that are most urgent. Overloading yourself with an impossible amount of work is likely to leave you stressed but not likely to help you get more work done than you might have otherwise. Accept that you might not have time for everything and that is ok. Ask others to take some tasks off of your hands if you can.
Accept the things that you can’t change: Stress can be caused by so many things. Whether it be work, finances, family, health or something else, realising that some things will just be, no matter what we do, can help lift some of the emotional burden off of your shoulders.
Be active: If you’re able, being active is a great tool for alleviating stress. This doesn’t have to be going to the gym every day. It can be as simple as taking a gentle walk to process your thoughts and emotions and have some time to yourself.
Self-care: Setting time aside for yourself every so often is critical for your wellbeing, especially for someone who might work long hours. This can be time spent socialising or alone. Breathing exercises, meditations and mindfulness can make all the difference to your wellbeing and help clear some of the stresses that might be on your mind
Try to identify the cause: Stress can be caused by a variety of factors. This can be anything from work pressure, unemployment or retirement to family, relationship difficulties, divorce or caring for someone. Identifying the cause of your stress is the first step to finding healthy ways to resolve it.
Take control: Nobody knows you better than yourself. Find healthy coping mechanisms that work for you. No treatment is one size fits all. Being kind to yourself and listening to your body will mean you’re able to find the healthiest ways to combat stress for YOU. Even if they aren’t what help someone else, as long as they help you, that it was matters most.
Know when you need more help: Sometimes, stress can get out of hand. Everyone gets stressed from time to time and some people are able to thrive from this. However, if you find that stress is debilitating for you, there are resources to help. Reaching out to your GP or care provider is the first step to freeing yourself from stress and may even itself lift some of the weight off of your shoulders.
Lifeline - 0808 808 8000 - The Northern Ireland crisis response helpline service for people in distress or despair.
Samaritans – 116 123 – If you’re having a difficult time or worried about someone else
Aware NI – aware-ni.org – Aware NI offer online support groups to help manage stress as well as a support mail service.
Every mind matters - https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/ - Every mind matters have a range of CBT techniques to help manage stress
Never be afraid to reach out for more help.