April is stress awareness month – what can we do to help manage everyday stress?
It’s normal to feel stressed from time to time. It’s something we all experience in our everyday lives, either at work when we have that important deadline looming or even just at home in our family life.
However, if stress is starting to affect your wellbeing or you notice that you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed more often, it can be helpful to find out more about options for managing stress and where to go for further information or support.
What is stress?
Stress is the body’s way of responding to the pressures of a situation or life event. Emotionally, we may feel overwhelmed or irritable, mentally we may be constantly worrying, have difficulty concentrating or difficulty making decisions. Physically, we may experience back pain, tension in our muscles or experience problems sleeping.
For a more detailed list of the signs of stress, click here.
Top tips to help you cope with stress
While it’s not always possible to eliminate stress from our lives, there are a number of things that can help with managing stress.
1. Use techniques to reconnect to the present
Feeling stressed can often lead you to feel disconnected from the present, meaning you focus on what will happen next and lose track of what is happening in the ‘here and now’. There are some simple techniques that can help you to reconnect with the present or to listen to your thoughts and feelings.
Mindfulness has been shown to help reduce stress and improve mood – you can find out more about what mindfulness is and how you can put it into practice here. Other techniques that can help to manage stress include breathing exercises that help by increasing the flow of oxygen around our body.
2. Take time to relax and do something you enjoy
It’s important, especially when we’re feeling stressed, to try to make a little time to look after ourselves. Aim to spend a bit of time each day (even just 10 or 15 minutes) doing something relaxing – a hot bath, listening to relaxing music or going for a brief walk outside can help.
3. Identify what is stressful for you
Knowing what makes you feel stressed can help you prepare or decide what actions to take next. Make a list of things that make you feel stressed. Are there a lot of recurring things in your life, such as work deadlines? Or singular events you worry about, such as big family gatherings? Or more on-going situations, such as looking after a family member who is ill?
4. Know where you can go for help or support
There are a number of places in Croydon you can go to find help or support with stress, including the local talking therapies service to counselling or support from dedicated charities and third sector organisations. You can find out more about what is available and how to access services here.
You may also find talking to family and friends can help. Having someone to listen can be a real comfort and confiding in someone close about how your feeling can be beneficial– they may be able to look into some options or offer some tips to help with stress.
However, you are feeling this April, being aware of stress and what helps you manage stress will help you to take care of your health and wellbeing.