Stress Management

If you are struggling to cope with life pressures, you might be stressed.

Struggling to cope with stress may include the following.

• You are struggling to do everyday things.
• You have stopped looking after yourself.
• You are taking more time of work.
• You have thought that life is not worth living.
• You are using drugs or alcohol to cope with how you feel
• You have felt very low or hopeless for 2 weeks or more.
• You no longer enjoy anything.
• You are having panic attacks.

You might not be able to avoid stress but there are things you can do to manage it.

1. What is stress?

Stress is the feeling of being under too much mental or emotional pressure. When you are stressed, your body releases stress hormones
such as adrenaline and cortisol.

Stress is your body’s reaction to help you deal with pressure or threats.This is sometimes called a “fight or flight” response. Your stress hormone
levels usually return to normal once the pressure or threat has passed.
A small amount of stress can be useful. It can motivate you to take action
and get tasks completed.But
too much stress can cause a negative impact on your mental health such as a change in your mood, your body, and relationship issues.

2. What are the signs of stress?

Stress affects different people in different ways like Headaches, sweating, imagining the worst, overthinking, change in appetite,
stomach problems, forgetfulness, Biting your nails, muscle tension or pain, concentration problems, feeling tired or dizzy, feeling irritable, Sleep problems, Fast heartbeat, dry mouth, Making mistakes, Shortness of breath, etc.

3. What causes stress?

Almost anything that affects your daily life, work, or relationships can cause stress. Even seemingly trivial issues can cause stress if they go on for a long time. Some people are more affected by stress than others. It can depend on factors such as your personality, upbringing, your work, and home atmosphere.

4. Can stress cause a mental illness?

Stress is not an illness itself, but it can lead to you becoming unwell. For example, if the stress lasts for a long time it can lead to anxiety and
depression. Experiencing a very stressful or traumatic event could cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Stress can make an existing mental illness worse such as causing a psychotic relapse.

How can I help myself?

There are things that you can do to help reduce your symptoms of stress. You may need to try different things until you find what works for you.

1. Stress diary

You could write it down when you feel stressed. You should include what happens just before or after you feel stressed. It could also help you to identify things (triggers) that can make you unwell. Identifying your triggers can help you to have more control over your stress levels.

2. Get practical advice

You may be able to take steps to change the cause of your stress. An expert’s advice may be a good place to start. They may be able to support you to solve the problem.

3. Manage your money

Money can cause many different issues such as poverty, debt, and relationship problems. Making a budget sheet could help. This will help you work out what you can afford to pay.

4. Plan your time

If you plan your time this can make you feel more in control of things. you can follow some ideas that could help you do this:
• write lists of what you need to do,
• prioritize the most important tasks,
• share tasks with others if possible
• don’t put things off, and
• set yourself steps and goals for complicated tasks.
•reward yourself for any achievements.

5. Talk to someone

Telling someone how you are feeling can help to ‘offload’ your worries. You could call an emotional support line or see a counselor/psychiatrist.

6. Make lifestyle changes

Limit your caffeine intake (coffee, tea, energy drinks, and chocolate)contains caffeine. Reducing your caffeine intake could help you sleep better.

7. Exercise

Exercise can relieve stress. It can also help you to stay healthy. You could try cycling, walking, running or going to the gym. Doing housework or gardening is also a way to exercise.

8. Get enough sleep

If you’re dealing with stress you may struggle to sleep well. If you don’t get enough sleep this can cause problems such as poor concentration and low mood. Long-term sleep issues can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. If you struggle with sleep,
• talk to your psychiatrist.
• practice sleep hygiene.
Sleep hygiene means things like:
• having a regular bedtime routine,
• only using your bed for sleep,
• exercising regularly but avoiding lots of exercises too close to bedtime,
• cutting down on caffeine, especially in the evening,
• making the place you sleep is a comfortable temperature,
• making sure the place you sleep is dark,
• not using your phone or computer immediately before bedtime, and
• making sure that the place you sleep is tidy.

9. Eat a balanced diet

Eating a healthy balanced diet is good for your mental and physical health.

10. Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is a type of meditation to help you to be aware of the present moment and pay attention to it. This can help to deal with symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.

11. Use relaxation techniques

Relaxation can help you to deal with stress. Some people relax using meditation, aromatherapy, or yoga. Can my doctor help?
You can speak to your psychiatrist if you are struggling to cope with stress.