ARE YOU WORRIED/ STRESSED?
Stress is a normal reaction to a challenging situation but when you suffer intense stress for a long time it can affect your physical and mental health, well being and enjoyment of life. The signs that stress is affecting you may not be obvious. By recognising stress and learning what to do you can protect yourself from its worst effects.
STRESS WILL SHOW UP AS A COMBINATION OF THESE FEELINGS AND BEHAVIOURS:
- Difficulty in concentrating
- Feeling “wired”, nervous or tense
- Anxiety or panic – racing heart, rapid breathing
- Increased use of alcohol
YOU MAY NOT BE ABLE TO FIX ALL THE SYMPTOMS OR THE CAUSE, BUT YOU CAN LEARN STRATEGIES THAT WILL HELP YOU COPE AND REDUCE THE IMPACT OF STRESS
- RECOGNISE IT – recognising the signs is the first step in doing something about stress
- TALK ABOUT IT – talking calmly and openly with someone you trust about how you are feeling can help release pent-up feelings.
- SEEK AND ACCEPT HELP – research shows that people with strong social connections (friends, family, community) cope best in times of crisis. Strengthen your support network. It will make you feel less alone and you will have someone to talk to when things get rough.
Ongoing stress can lead to feelings of helplessness or worthlessness and even build to thoughts of self harm or suicide. Take such thoughts seriously and seek immediate help by talking to someone you trust, calling LIFELINE on 0800 54 33 54, or visiting your GP. IN AN EMERGENCY CALL 111.
Things to do that will help:
- Establish a daily routine with regular times for sleep, meals, being sociable and physical activity
- Do breathing exercises to help relax. Inhale fully, and then proceed without pausing to exhale slowly – repeating as many times as possible.
- As we get anxious and stressed we retreat into ourselves and start to almost physically curl up. This subconscious action compresses your internal organs and means shallower breathing. To relieve this, try progressive muscle relaxation – alternatively tense and relax muscle groups, starting at your toes, and move up your entire body.
- Take time out to do something enjoyable – it won’t change your situation but will increase your ability to cope and make decisions