Find out tips to manage stress and where to get help if you want to talk to someone.
According to the Mental Health Foundation 74% of UK adults* have felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they've felt overwhelmed or unable to cope.
Stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It's also linked to physical health problems like:
- heart disease
- problems with the immune system
- digestive problems
Where to get help
- NHS Inform website
- Breathing Space website
- Samaritans website
- Shout website
- The Stress Management Society website
- SAMH website
Tips to manage stress
- Learn to recognise when you're feeling under stress. Write this in a diary so you can recognise triggers and manage these in future.
- Take time out each day to relax such as listening to music, or just sit quietly thinking about something which makes you feel relaxed. This could be lying on a beach, walking through the countryside - whatever creates a relaxing picture in your mind.
- Try to avoid or reduce nicotine, alcohol and caffeine as these are all stimulants and can affect sleep.
- Take regular exercise. Try and build this into your daily routine. Any physical activity will help you to work off the stress and feel a lot better afterwards such as a walk, a jog, an exercise video, yoga or play a sport - whatever you enjoy doing - even if it's only 10 minutes a day.
- Try and go to bed and get up at a regular time. It's important to get a good night's sleep and establish a good sleep pattern.
- Don't skip meals or overeat. Try and eat healthily when possible. Stress impacts appetite in differently in individuals focus on nourishing your body with nutritious food.
- Try and keep active. Try out a new hobby or interest that you will enjoy and also will help in meeting other people and maybe making new friends.
- Learn to say no. If you're feeling under increased stress it is important to put yourself first and take time out when you need it. Don't allow family and friends to pressure you into doing something you don't want to do or don't have time to do as this'll all add to the stress. It's okay to say to people you need some time out for yourself.
- Try to get fresh air every day.
- Don't expect too much of yourself. Don't give yourself a hard time if you can't cope as well as you normally can and if you can't do as much as you normally can. Take time out when you need it.
- Try to keep thinking in a positive frame of mind that you'll get through this period of stress. Negative thinking will only add to the stress.
- Talk to someone about how you're feeling such as a family member, friends, counsellor or helpline staff. Sometimes stress can build up due to continual worry about problems, and it can help to talk about your feelings to someone.