National Stress Awareness Day is on 2 November, so we thought we would take this opportunity to consider a few ways to combat stress in our everyday lives.
Stress is a natural response to danger or harm in our lives. It can give us an indication if we need to react quickly or with extra awareness.
However acute stress (over the short term) can turn into chronic stress (lasting over a long time). Chronic stress is when you feel permanently overwhelmed and this type of stress can factor into a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, anger, or can even contribute to physical health conditions.
Chronic stress is tough to combat, but it can be done as part of your Recovery journey to manage your mental and physical health independently.
There are a few things to consider when learning to manage your stress:
Can you change the situation you are in?
If you are stressed at work perhaps you might consider talking to your boss or supervisor. If friends or family members are causing you problems can you communicate that you are stressed to them? If you find overcrowded or busy places overwhelming, could you arrange to socialise in a quieter place with fewer people?
Telling people that you are stressed can be stressful, but often if people find out you are having difficulties then they are keen to support you.
Can you change how you react to a situation?
Sometimes you have to put yourself first. If you have too much on your plate you could be making your life more stressful than it has to be. If you are one of those people who always says “yes” when asked to do something, perhaps you need to just say “no” on occasion to give yourself a break.
Try to give yourself time to relax. Are you checking emails all evening? Looking at your phone in the middle of the night? Make a point of unwinding at the end of a day, this can help you achieve a better night’s sleep and giving your body a chance to unwind.
Are you very easily distracted? If you keep putting off tasks, then the pressure of too many things to do can be overwhelming and cause you further stress. Try to prioritise your tasks and set yourself small targets to achieve over the short term. This should help to reduce your stress levels in the long term.
Can you change how you react to others?
When you are chronically stressed it can be difficult to see beyond your own situation because you are so tense. However, is your stress affecting how you communicate with others? If people are reacting to you in a way that you didn’t intend, perhaps you are abrupt and snappy with others without even realising. Take a breath and give yourself the time to really listen to other people so you can communicate your ideas effectively.
Are you being judgemental? When you are stressed it can be so overwhelming that you undermine your own self-confidence. Give yourself a break! Everyone goes through periods of stress and you can get through it. Be sure to give other people a break too.
National Stress Awareness Day is a good opportunity to consider how you and other people in your life are affected by stress. Taking some time to think about how stress affects your life and developing some solid strategies to cope, could be valuable way to manage your stress levels now and into the future.
We run a number of courses across our campuses at the Nottingham Recovery College that can form part of your strategy to manage your stress.
Here are just a few of them:
- Stress Management
- Anxiety Management
- Building Self Confidence
- Effective Communication Skills
- Introduction to Mindfulness
- Managing Perfectionism
- Time Management
Our next term begins in January 2017. If you are interested in any of our courses, please contact the college on 0115 956 0827 for further information and details on how to enrol, or you can enrol using one of our online forms.
Please let us know if you have any stress management tips that work for you in the comments below, we would love to hear your thoughts.