Managing your Stress
We have written about stress on these blog pages mentioning the different types of stress and how it can negatively affect your health, including increasing your risk of cancer.
What we didn’t mention is how to identify your own stress and what you can do to deescalate your stress levels, here are our tips:
Identifying your own stress
We all experiences stress but when it affects your wellbeing it’s important to address it as soon as you can by identifying the symptoms, some of which may include one or all of the following:
- Constant worry or anxiety
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Mood swings
- Finding it difficult to relaxing
- Changing eating habits
- Changes in sleeping habits
- Using alcohol and/or tobacco to relax
Identify the Cause
Once you have identified your stress it’s important to single out the cause of your stress so that you can do something about it. These may include:
- Work related issues, like feeling undervalued
- Money issues
- Relationships with family and friends
- Major upheavals like divorce, unemployment or bereavement
It can help to categorise the causes into 3 kinds:
- Those that have a practical solution
Think about what the solution looks like, and consider small steps that you can take to get to that solution. Ask others for help in necessary.
- Those that will get better over time
Be patient and focus on the future, letting the anxiety over the issue go.
- Those you can nothing about
Be philosophical and realise that some things are just the way they are – try to focus on letting these go.
Practical steps that can help reduce your stress
While stress is a psychological condition, there are physical steps you can take to protect yourself from the effects of stress. These include:
1. Eating well – food definitely affects your mood, so you are always off to a good start when you are eating lots of raw fruit and veg. Besides, good nutrition keeps your immune system strong.
2. Stop smoking and reduce your alcohol levels – while it may feel like alcohol reduces stress, this can change when you drink too much as it can bring on anxiety. It can also affect the way the people closest to you respond to you, which can make things worse.
3. Exercise – any light exercise is good, just getting some fresh air during a 30-minute walk can make a big difference.
4. Give yourself a break – Give yourself some time out. Use your weekends to forget about work, do something completely different. Book a holiday far in advance, it will give you something to look forward to.
5. Sleep well – While a lack of sleep may be a symptom of your stress, if you can take steps to help you sleep it will have the effect of reducing your stress. Can you make changes to your environment that will help you sleep?
6. Don’t be too hard on yourself – Try to keep things in perspective, be philosophical! Life can be challenging, and everybody has these challenges!