Stress is everywhere. It is one of the most common conditions experienced by people in the UK today. It is known to contribute to the more serious physical and mental illnesses, as well as being a cause of obesity, itself rapidly growing in numbers.
People going to work whilst suffering stress contribute to poor performance of businesses and services, and can be a contributor to poor care, errors, and disasters caused by lack of concentration. The financial cost to the UK has been estimated at £60 billion or about £1000 per man, woman and child.
Stress busting tips
National Stress Awareness Day aims to raise awareness about stress, how to prevent it and how to manage it once it occurs.
With around 44% of adults saying they are suffering from stress, it’s important to learn how to manage stress. Here are a few tips:
Realise when stress is causing you a problem
You need to make the connection between feeling tired or ill with the pressures you are faced with. Do not ignore physical warnings such as tense muscles, over-tiredness, headaches or migraines.
Identify the causes
Try to identify the underlying causes. Sort the possible reasons for your stress into those with a practical solution, those that will get better anyway given time, and those you can’t do anything about. Try to let go of those in the second and third groups – there is no point in worrying about things you can’t change or things that will sort themselves out.
Review your lifestyle
Are you 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? You may need to prioritise things you are trying to achieve and reorganise your life so that you are not trying to do everything at once.
You can also help protect yourself from stress in a number of ways:
A healthy diet will help prevent you from becoming overweight and will reduce the risks of other diet-related diseases. Also, there is a growing amount of evidence showing how food affects our mood. Feelings of wellbeing can be protected by ensuring that our diet provides adequate amounts of brain nutrients such as essential vitamins and minerals as well as water.
Try to keep smoking and drinking to a minimum
It is misleading to think that smoking and drinking relieve tension. They often make problems worse.
Physical exercise can be very effective in relieving stress. Even moderate physical exercise, like walking to the shops, can help.
Take time out
Take time to relax. Saying “I just can’t take the time off” is no use if you are forced to take time off later through ill health. Striking a balance between responsibility to others and responsibility to yourself is vital in reducing stress levels.
Mindfulness meditation can be practised anywhere at any time and has been proven to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and related problems such as insomnia, poor concentration and low moods.
Get some restful sleep
Sleeping problems are common when you’re suffering from stress, but try to ensure you get enough rest. For more tips about how to get a good night’s sleep visit howdidyousleeplastnight.org.
One of the best antidotes for stress is enjoying yourself so try to bring some fun into your life by giving yourself treats and rewards for positive actions, attitudes and thoughts. Even simple pleasures like a relaxing bath, a pleasant walk, or an interesting book can all help you deal with stress.
It’s important to try to keep things in proportion and don’t be too hard on yourself. After all, we all have bad days.