Dr Heather Dyson
Stress Awareness Month
April is Stress Awareness Month. Stress is something that we all experience. It is both necessary and, in the right amounts helpful. It motivates us to get out of bed and engage with the world. However, when our stress levels becomes unmanageable we can be left feeling overwhelmed and de-motivated by even the simplest of tasks.
Stress is a feeling of being under abnormal pressure. This pressure can come from different aspects of your day to day life. Such as an increased workload, a transitional period, an argument you have with your family or new and existing financial worries. You may find that it has a cumulative effect, with each stressor building on top of one another.
It's likely that many of us are feeling the strain of life at the moment as we wait for life to return to "normal". Here are some ideas to help manage your levels of stress...
1. Realise when it is causing you a problem
Try to make the connection between feeling tired or ill and the pressures you are faced with
Look out for the signs of stress. This could include...
feelings of constant worry or anxiety
feelings of being overwhelmed
mood swings or changes in your mood
irritability or having a short temper
eating more or less than usual
changes in your sleeping habits
using alcohol, tobacco or illegal drugs to relax
aches and pains, particularly muscle tension
diarrhoea and constipation
feelings of nausea or dizziness
loss of sex drive.
2. Identify the causes
Try to identify the underlying causes
Sort the possible reasons for your stress into three categories 1) those with a practical solution 2) those that will get better given time and 3) those you can’t do anything about
Try to release the worry of those in the second and third groups and let them go
3. Review your lifestyle
Could you be taking on too much?
Are there things you are doing which could be handed over to someone else?
Can you do things in a more leisurely way?
To act on the answer to these questions, you may need to prioritise things you are trying to achieve and re-organise your life
This will help to release pressure that can come from trying to do everything at once
The NHS has a fantastic guide which can give you some ideas about how to decrease your stress and promote your wellbeing: https://www.nhs.uk/mental-health/self-help/guides-tools-and-activities/tips-to-reduce-stress/
Unfortunately some of us may need a stronger intervention of support to get our stress under control. If resonates with you then contacting your GP or a private psychologist may be a good place to start.
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