Tips for managing stress
If you have recognised that you might be struggling with stress, there are things you can do to help you manage, from lifestyle changes to seeking help from a professional service. You can read more about the help we offer for stress here (link to other stress article), and we have put together some tips that you can try yourself below.
Determine what is causing your stress
When we are feeling stressed and overwhelmed it can be tempting to ‘bury our heads’ because facing what is causing our stress can feel like too much. However, this often makes the problem worse in the long run. Take some time to reflect and write down the things that are bothering you currently. It could be things like paying bills, a heavy work load or even relationships that you are finding difficult to manage. Sometimes just writing things down can help you visualise what is on your plate rather than feeling like everything is constantly spinning around in your head.
Divide up your to-do list
Splitting your tasks into more manageable chunks is a great way to help you feel more in control of your to-do list. Sort all of the triggers you noted down above into relevant groups such as work, finances, wellbeing. Arrange your list in order of importance, so that you can see which tasks are most pressing and you should focus on first. Often, just feeling like you have made a start in sorting a problem that originally felt over whelming, can reduce the feelings of stress it was causing.
Prioritise your time
It is important to not take on too much at once. When we have lots to do it can be tempting to try and get through everything at once, particularly if we are trying to do things for other people. But often when we take on too much we end up finding everything much harder. You will be much more efficient if you prioritise your time between different tasks.
Learning to recognise and respect your own limits can do wonders for reducing stress. You should not feel guilty for saying no when someone asks you to do something that you either can’t do or don’t feel comfortable doing.
Take a break
If something is causing you to feel stressed, taking a break from what you are doing can help you to relax, recover and approach it more productively later. If you keep trying to complete something but are getting nowhere, take some time out.
Taking some time for yourself away from your to-do list is just as important as working through your tasks. Distracting your brain with things you find enjoyable can be a great way to break the stress cycle. Reading a book, doing some drawing, taking a bath with your favourite bubble bath, anything that makes you feel relaxed should be a regular priority. Your brain needs the opportunity to recharge and will make you more productive when you come back to your task list.
Ask for help
If you are feeling overwhelmed, you could ask a friend, family member or even colleague if they could lend a hand. This could be either by taking a smaller task off you to free you up for more urgent tasks or even just by talking things through to provide another perspective on things.
Sometimes it can be difficult to recognise what is triggering your stress or to work out the best way to start making positive changes. CBT can be a great way of learning how your different thoughts and feelings around certain situations could be affecting your stress levels and speaking with a professional can help you better understand how this could be improved. You can find out more about how CBT can reduce stress here.