Coping Strategies for Stress

It might have happened many a times with you that you are not being able to take the stress – be it  office related stress, exam or school related stress or family stress. For life to be enjoyable we all need challenges that we feel we can cope with. Sadly we are all, at times, faced with challenges that we feel we cannot cope with and it is then that we may experience stress.

Showing signs of stress does not mean you are a weak individual who cannot cope!

It means you are human like everyone else! People react differently to the situations they have to face because they are all unique individuals. Some may be very passive personalities whilst others may be very competitive. Their life experiences will vary enormously as will their overall conditioning. Their state of health will also vary – it is far more difficult coping with the pressures of everyday life when one is feeling unwell.

Life today is very different to that of only a few years ago. It is very time pressured and competitive. Technology is changing daily. Sadly marriage/partnership breakdowns are becoming very common and long-term job security seems, for many, to be something of the past. It is hardly surprising that at times people feel they just cannot cope.

Some of the most common signs of Stress are :

  • Mood swings
  • Skin problems
  • Muscle tension
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Low self esteem
  • Anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Poor concentration
  • Changes in eating patterns
  • Poor memory

Drowning your frustration in alcohol, eating junk foods, self medicating with drugs such as nicotine – is not the solution.

It is very important to take positive action when faced with stress as it can seriously impair your mental and physical health.

The following proven coping strategies can really start to help you reduce the effects of any stress in your life

  • Be aware of your own warning signs – maybe this could be a sudden feeling of anxiety, extreme tiredness, feeling very tearful, catching every cough and cold – feeling run down.

  • Review what is really causing stress for you? You could be surprised! Think about what action you could perhaps take to change things. How much of your stress is caused by you? Are your expectations of yourself and others realistic for example?

  • At times of stress we often fall into the trap of not eating properly, smoking more or turning to alcohol as a supposedly helpful crutch. (That possible hangover, let alone “guilt trip” the next day could just add to your problems!)

  • Try and eat a balanced diet.

  • Eat complex carbohydrates (such as whole meal bread, jacket potatoes etc) rather than refined (that packet of sugary biscuits!)

  • This can really help with those mood swings.

  • Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables and keep sugar and salt intake to a minimum. This can help to support your immune system in its fight against colds and flu – ailments you so often get when run down.

  • Drink plenty of water, it will help you rehydrate your body. Drink alcohol in moderation.

  • Try and keep caffeine consumption to the minimum.

  • Try not to turn to nicotine or any other self prescribed drugs.

  • Do not feel guilty about including a period of relaxation every day. We all need to turn off from time to time. Do something you enjoy and fits into your life. This could, for example, be reading, listening to music, doing yoga or meditating, enjoying a warm bath with perhaps some aromatherapy oils added to it. It does not have to take long – or be considered a luxury or time wasting. It is a vital part of life.

  • Make sure exercise is part of life. Exercise which is suitable for you. If you have any doubts as to the correct sort for you ask your doctor.

  • Do you often find yourself saying “yes” when in fact you mean “no”? Are you always late for things? Do you get frustrated knowing you could have done a better job if you had organised your time better? Learn how to be more assertive and manage your time properly. Many of us waste so much time – often making excuses for things we have not done! There are some excellent courses available as well as books on both these subjects.

  • Consider attending a stress management training course. You do not have to be stressed to attend one of these. It is far better to know fully what to do prior to experiencing stress than during! We would be happy to supply information about some of the courses that are available.

  • There are times when we all need the help and confidential support of other people. Don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. It can be so helpful.

Click on the links in the box below for a complete guide on Stress Management

Stress Management Guide

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