Most of us are exposed to stress at one time or another in our lives, whether from work, family, or other responsibilities and circumstances. A little stress can often be beneficial, but when we’re put under too much pressure it has the potential to quickly become a problem.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, it’s good to have a few methods to help manage and control it, especially methods that avoid turning to unhealthy crutches and habits. It’s not always possible to remove the sources of stress, but it is possible to learn ways to cope with them and take care of your mental health.
To mark Stress Awareness Week, we’ve put together seven tips and methods for managing stress.
1. Identify the source of your stress
It’s important to understand where your stress is coming from and recognise it when it happens, allowing you to take the first step to controlling it. This also means you can avoid blaming yourself if it’s causing you to feel unwell, tired, or tense. Remember to focus on the cause and not how you’re reacting.
2. Know what you can control
If you have lots of factors causing you stress, consider each one against a simple test: can I do anything to change it? If you can’t, try to avoid giving time and worry to that factor. If you can change something for the better, focus on that and find practical solutions.
3. Make time for relaxation
Downtime shouldn’t be something you only get if you happen to have a free moment. You should plan relaxation time with just as much importance as work time. This helps to avoid burnout in the long run, and gives you the time to let go of everyday stresses.
4. Get enough restful sleep
Sleep is essential for good health, and stress can so easily interrupt it. Clear your mind of the stresses of each day by writing things down as you go to bed. They can be looked at another day while you get the rest you need.
5. Put yourself first
It’s a cliché, but it’s perfectly true that you can only help others if you help yourself first. Look after your own health and don’t take on stress that you can’t handle just to make life easier for someone else. Take care of yourself and you’ll be able to do the same for others.
6. Lean on others when you need help
Whether it’s a family member, a close friend, or a colleague, sharing your worries and asking for help from others can help you to tackle stressful situations and see things in a new light. Just talking about what’s on your mind can be a relief.
7. Be kind to yourself
Treat yourself as you would a good friend, and don’t blame yourself if you’re finding it hard to cope in a stressful situation. Everyone has bad days, and so often it’s beyond our control. Just be kind and supportive to yourself and know that you’ll get through it.
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