Stress affects 3 million people in the UK. Prolonged exposure to stressors can lead to chronic stress, which is a major contributor to the development of mental health difficulties. Stress has a significant impact on the quality of life of individuals and their families, as well as wider economic costs. Healthcare workers are not exempt – 39% of NHS staff reported that they had felt unwell in the last year due to work-related stress.
While it isn’t always possible to completely avoid stress, there are a lot of ways it can be managed. Noemi Viganó, Counselling Psychologist at SilverCloud Health (www.silvercloudhealth.com) shares her top tips on how you can manage stress.
1. Recognise that you’re feeling stressed: This can give you the motivation to do something about it.
2. Identify what is causing you stress: Have you experienced any changes or losses in your life recently? Have you had to adjust to a new environment? Have you worked long hours?
3. Find time to relax every day: Your body cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time. You can learn to control your stress response by learning to tell your body to relax.
4. Stay healthy: When we are under pressure, stressed and tired we tend to lose balance in our lives; you may seek out comfort foods, cut down on exercise or have trouble sleeping. These behaviours can feed your stress.
5. Have some fun: This will help you combat stress as well as lifting your mood and helping you to appreciate the good things in your life.
6. Tune-up on your work-life balance: Leave work at work, learn to say no, switch off from phone and emails and forget about perfection.
7. Talk to someone: If you aren’t comfortable about starting a face to face conversation, try using your phone, Skype or an online messenger, or even sending a text.
8. What are your signature strengths? Take time to ask yourself what has helped you to manage stress in the past. Chances are you have been stressed before and have coped with it.
9. Get skilled at beating stress: There are a wide range of tools and tactics available to help you manage stress and bring balance back into your life.