Understanding and managing stress

Stress is a common experience for many individuals, and while it can sometimes be motivating, prolonged or overwhelming, stress can negatively impact your life. Recognizing the symptoms of stress and seeking support are essential steps in managing its effects.

Symptoms of stress

Stress can manifest in various ways, affecting your physical well-being, mental state, and behaviour.

  • Physical symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, muscle tension or pain, stomach problems, chest pain, a faster heartbeat, and sexual issues.
  • Mental symptoms may involve difficulty concentrating, decision-making struggles, feeling overwhelmed, constant worrying, and forgetfulness.
  • Changes in behaviour may manifest as irritability, sleep disturbances, appetite changes, avoidance of certain situations or people, and increased alcohol or tobacco consumption.

Helpful strategies for managing stress

Do:

  • Share your feelings with a trusted friend, family member, or healthcare professional. Organizations like Samaritans (116 123 or jo@samaritans.org) can provide support and a listening ear.
  • Explore stress-busting techniques such as exercise, time management, and relaxation practices.
  • Practice calming breathing exercises to promote relaxation.
  • Plan ahead for stressful days or events by organizing tasks and creating to-do lists.
  • Consider peer support to connect with others who have similar experiences.
  • Utilize free mental well-being audio guides available for support.

Don't:

  • Avoid trying to tackle everything at once. Set achievable targets to prevent feeling overwhelmed.
  • Focus on aspects beyond your control. Direct your energy towards positive actions that improve your well-being.
  • Remind yourself that you are not alone; many individuals experience stress at some point, and support is available.
  • Avoid relying on alcohol, cigarettes, gambling, or drugs to cope with stress, as they can contribute to mental health issues.

10 Stress-busting techniques

Identifying the cause of your stress is crucial for effective management. Instead of turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms, prioritize actions that promote emotional strength, control over situations, a strong support network, and a positive outlook.

  1. Be active: Engage in regular exercise to reduce emotional intensity, clear your thoughts, and approach problems calmly.
  2. Take control: Empower yourself by addressing the issues causing stress. Recognize that you have the ability to find solutions that work for you.
  3. Connect with people: Cultivate a support network of friends, family, and colleagues who can provide a fresh perspective and help alleviate work-related stress.
  4. Have "me time": Set aside time for activities you enjoy, whether it's socializing, relaxation, or exercise. Prioritize self-care away from work obligations.
  5. Challenge yourself: Set goals and take on challenges to boost confidence and develop resilience. Learning new skills or pursuing hobbies can help combat stress.
  6. Avoid unhealthy habits: Refrain from relying on alcohol, smoking, or caffeine as coping mechanisms. Address the underlying causes of stress instead.
  7. Help others: Engaging in acts of kindness and volunteering fosters resilience and contributes to overall well-being.
  8. Work smarter: Prioritize tasks that make a real difference and accept that you cannot accomplish everything. Focus on meaningful work and manage your time effectively.
  9. Embrace positivity: Cultivate gratitude by acknowledging positive aspects of life. Consider keeping a gratitude journal to reflect on daily successes or things you appreciate.
  10. Seek professional help: If stress becomes overwhelming or persists despite your efforts, consult a healthcare professional for personalized guidance and support.

By implementing these strategies, you can better manage stress, improve your mental and physical well-being, and lead a more balanced life. Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and there are resources available to support you on your journey to stress-free living.

Doctor
General Practitioner

At Dr.Dropin our experienced GPs provide a wide range of primary care services, similar to those provided by the NHS, either in the clinic or through video consultations.

Dermatologist

At Dr.Dropin, you will receive specialist care from our expert Consultant Dermatologists provided by skindoc. With extensive experience from both public and private hospitals, we can assess and treat most chronic and acute skin disorders – either in the clinic, through video, or via a photo upload service.

References