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Dealing with stress (November 2020)

Most of us will feel stressed sometimes. Stress isn’t always a bad thing; it can often help us to achieve things in our home, work and family life. If you, however, you find yourself becoming overwhelmed by feelings of stress a lot of the time, it could negatively impact your mental health and wellbeing.
That’s why it’s important that we are aware of what stress is and the things that we can do to help manage it.

What is stress?
Stress is your body’s way of reacting to feeling under pressure or threatened. It can lead to many different symptoms, and can impact both our physical and our mental health. Often, the first things you might notice are physical signs, like tiredness, headaches, and stomach or chest pains.

It can also have a real impact on your mental health, or make existing mental health difficulties worse. Stress often leads to problems concentrating and making decisions, it can make people feel overwhelmed, constantly worried and can lead to mental health difficulties like anxiety or depression.

Stress is common, and there are lots of things that you can do to help manage it.

Talk about how you’re feeling
One of the most important things that you can do to help manage your stress is to talk about your feelings to a friend, family member, or a healthcare professional.

Having a good support network can help ease your worries and troubles, and might help you see things in a different way. Even just spending quality time with your loved ones can help you to relax and relieve your stress.

If you’d like to talk to someone else, remember that the Samaritans and Breathing Space are always here to listen.
Samaritans: call 116 123, or email jo@samaritans.org.
Breathing Space: 0800 83 85 87

Be active
While exercise won’t make your stress go away completely, it will help to reduce its intensity and make it feel more manageable. It can help you to feel calmer, clear your head and allow you to deal with your problems. And remember, exercise doesn’t have to mean doing something intense. You could do something gentle like yoga or go for a walk in your local park to help you unwind.

Control what you can
While there will always be things outside of our control in life, try to think about the things that you can have control over.

Make time for yourself
Self-care can be a really powerful way to fight feelings of stress. Try to have some time for yourself that is away from work or your to-do list. To make sure you stick to it, you could set aside a couple of nights a week for some ‘me time’.

Avoid unhealthy habits
When we’re feeling stressed, some of us may turn to unhealthy habits such as drinking or eating unhealthy foods, as a way of coping. Try to recognise these unhealthy habits and avoid them where you can. You might find our blog on forming habits useful, which you can read here.

Help others
People who spend their time helping others have been shown to be more resilient to stress. You could help others by giving your time volunteering or fundraising for a local charity. Or it could be as simple as doing one random act of kindness a day – you can read our blog here for some ideas.

We’re all feeling more stress than usual right now with everything that is going on around the world. That’s why it’s more important than ever that you’re aware of how you’re feeling and make the time to look after yourself.

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