What is Stress and How Can I Manage it?

The 6th of November 2019 is Stress Awareness Day which is an opportunity to highlight the dangers of stress and how you can combat this.

Stress can often feel like a natural part of life and sometimes it is, life is just stressful sometimes. But it’s when your stress levels reach dangerous levels and start impacting you daily life is when stress can become more than just natural. This article aims to help identify when your stress levels are getting too high and ways you can alleviate that.

Stress can affect any aspect of your life and can affect both physical and emotional health. There are a number of signs to look out for when your stress levels are getting too much:

Emotional:

-         Becoming easily agitated, frustrated, and moody

-         Feeling overwhelmed, like you are losing control or need to take control

-         Having difficulty relaxing and quieting your mind

-         Feeling bad about yourself (low self-esteem), lonely, worthless, and depressed

-         Avoiding others, such as friends and family

Physical:

-         Low energy

-         Headaches

-         Aches, pains, and tense muscles

-         Chest pain and rapid heartbeat

-         Insomnia

-         Frequent colds and infections

-         Nervousness and shaking, ringing in the ear, cold or sweaty hands and feet

-         Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing

-         Clenched jaw and grinding teeth

If you are feeling overwhelmed by stress it is important to talk to your doctor so that they can help to identify solutions for you. You could also get in contact with the Community Wellbeing Service (CWS) who will be able to signpost you to relevant resources. Information for the CWS can be found here:

In terms of preventing and alleviating stress there are several measures that you can take in everyday:

-         Learn and practice relaxation techniques; try meditation, yoga, or tai-chi for stress management

-         Exercise regularly. Your body can fight stress better when it is fit

-         Eat healthy, well-balanced meals

-         Set limits and saying no to requests that could cause excessive stress

-         Get enough sleep. Your body needs time to rest and recover

-         Don’t rely on drugs, drink or other addictive behaviours to reduce stress.

These are just a few ways to reduce stress and there are many other resources out there that can help you, such as:

Mind

NHS

Mental Health Foundation