Everybody gets stressed. It’s a natural response your body has to challenges or threats. It tends to happen when we feel like we are in a situation we can’t control. A small amount of stress can usually help us complete tasks or drive us to push ourselves further. However, high levels of stress over a long period can have a serious impact on your mental and physical health. Here are some ways to help you manage stress, some of which can help you in the moment and others that you can incorporate into your lifestyle to help you manage stress long-term.

Take a break

It might sound simple, but sometimes you just need a break. When something is causing you distress, whether it be a challenging work task or a frustrating chore at home, it helps to take a step back. Taking a 5-minute break to have a little breather outside or make a coffee can really help. It means you can come back to what you were doing with fresh eyes and a more relaxed outlook. Regular breaks will make you more productive and motivated as you’re constantly working towards a small rest.

Focus on your breathing

Panic can often leave you feeling as though you cannot breathe. This is the fight-or-flight response. This means your heart will start beating faster and your muscles will be getting ready for action, resulting in shortness of breath. This is what your body naturally does to save your life, however, when the situation does not require a physical escape, this response can feel quite scary. Try breathing slowly and deeply and focus on every breath. This will help you regulate your breathing and feel less panicked.

Set boundaries

It’s okay to say no! If your to-do list is overflowing and your week is overwhelming, then picking up extra work could make you feel stressed. Try saying things such as “I’m at capacity this week, can this be put on hold until next week” or “I’m happy to pick this up but I will have to put something else on hold”. You’re not saying a flat no, you’re politely saying “not now”.

Get moving

Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. It doesn’t have to be anything too strenuous, even a short walk outside once a day can help you manage stress and anxiety. When we exercise endorphins are released which makes us feel good. It’s also a great distraction from your everyday stresses!  

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Being well-rested and starting the day with a clear head works wonders. Stress can sometimes prevent a good night’s sleep and in turn, we get more stressed because we’re tired. There are some little things you can do such as having a routine bedtime, not going on devices before bed and cutting out caffeine after 3 pm that can help. For more tips check out our blog on sleep!

Talk about it

Try not to keep everything bottled up. If something is on your mind and feels like it’s taking over your every thought then speaking about it out loud can help relieve some of the pressure. Whether there are problems in your personal life causing you stress or issues at work, it’s important to get things off your chest. Once you tell someone what is on your mind you’ll feel like a weight has been lifted. Talking to someone you trust can help as people may not be able to recognise you are struggling, but once they do they can support you through.

Make time for yourself

It’s so important for your mental well-being to make time to do the things you want to do. It doesn’t matter what it is, just having a little bit of time every day to focus on something that makes you happy makes a world of difference. To stick with this, try and schedule “me time” in the same way you would commit to a meeting or an appointment. Put it in your calendar and don’t overbook yourself. That way you are prioritising yourself. For more tips on putting yourself first check out our blog.

Managing stress looks different for everyone. We all react to things differently and need different things to feel calm and relaxed. While a little bit of stress is normal and can be helpful, too much stress can be damaging. If you feel like you are dealing with high levels of stress, you may benefit from speaking to a GP. Our GPs can advise what the best path for you could be to manage your stress and protect your mental health. We also have self-guided support available that you can work through at your own pace. Remember it’s important to take care of your mental health as much as your physical health!


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