At some point in our lives most of us will suffer from stress, and sometimes those feelings can seem totally overwhelming and completely beyond our control. Whilst there is no single definition for stress, the most common explanation is physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension.
Stress, whilst not categorised as an illness itself, can have a huge impact on both our mental and physical well-being. It can affect relationships. It can affect our work and also our families.
Carrying out even the simplest of tasks can sometimes feel totally beyond us and, if not constrained in some manner for a long period of time, stress can lead to potentially serious illnesses, such as depression, heart disease, or high blood pressure issues.
May 15-23 is Mental Health Awareness Week this year and during this period the campaign will improve public understanding of anxiety and highlight ways people can prevent it becoming a problem. Look out for it and get involved.
6 Ways to address stress
If you struggle to manage stress, there are a few practical tips which might help. These include:
Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it can reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.
If you think you cannot do anything about your problem, your stress can get worse. That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing. The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.
Connect with people
A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way. The activities we do with friends can help us relax and relieve stress. Talking things through with a friend may also help you find solutions to your problems.
Have some “me time”
Many of us work long hours, meaning we often don’t spend enough time doing things we really enjoy. It’s important to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise. You could try setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work.
Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, can help build confidence. This may help you deal with stress. It can also make you want to do things and be active.
Accept the things you can’t change
Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over. For example, if your company is making redundancies, you could focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.
It’s important that you don’t think you are alone and expected to deal with stress all on your own. As with a lot of things in life, getting experienced and knowledgeable advice is a good support mechanism and assists you to stay/get on the right track.
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