Managing Stress

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Symptoms of Stress

Firstly, what is stress? Stress is defined as “a condition or feeling experienced when a person perceives that; demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilise” (stress management society 2017) or put more simply a feeling of being unable to cope with a situation. Symptoms can include:

  • Irritability or moodiness
  • Interrupted sleep
  • Worrying or feeling of anxiety
  • Frequent headaches, minor to migraine
  • Chest pains/Upset stomach
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Changes in appetite
  • Rashes or skin breakouts

These symptoms reduce quality of life, and people suffering from stress may notice that work performance or relationships suffer more as a result. You may be able to use some the strategies listed here, or you may find it useful to consult a counsellor for more help.

Stress Management Tips

1) Identify your stressors, and see if there are some things within your control to manage better. Some things will be beyond your control, for example if you work a job that is based on working towards deadlines then you can’t change this without changing jobs. But perhaps you can control some aspects, such as scheduling to have at least a short lunch break each day, or to go to bed earlier so that you have more energy to cope with the daytime.

2) Build regular exercise into your life – as well as being part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle and giving you more energy, many people find that working out at the gym or playing sport helps them to unwind.

3) Make sure that you eat and sleep well.

4) Take time out for family, friends and recreational activities. Most of us know that this is important but we do not all do it. If you find it hard to make time for this, perhaps you need to take deliberate steps to have time out, such as set aside one day of the weekend for relaxing at home, we often schedule tasks to care for others why not ourselves?

5) Learn calming techniques such as controlled breathing and progressive muscle relaxation, to train your mind and body to become more relaxed. These techniques require practice but can be helpful with regular use. Our Coping with Stress handout can help!

6) Last but definitely not least, consider whether there is negative thinking which is contributing to your stress. Negative thinking, or Unhelpful thinking, can make us worry more than is necessary, increasing stress, and generally does not motivate us to take positive actions. see the information sheet on “Unhelpful Thinking Habits” (by alternatively consider booking in with one of our counsellors to see how they can help with this.

Here at Joints and Points we are offering face to face appointments, as well as telephone or video appointments for those that are self isolating. Speaking to one of our qualified counsellors can help support you through this difficult time.

Don’t forget you can still speak to your doctor if you are struggling with a mental health problem, with many surgeries offering telephone appointments.

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Office number 0151 345 6823