06th Feb 2020
The vast majority of us are going to have to deal with stress at some point in our lives so it’s best we learn techniques on how to handle it.
Low energy, headaches, aches, pain, tense muscles, lack of sleep, upset stomach, chest pain, rapid heartbeat, frequent colds and infections: stress is blamed for a myriad of problems.
Prolonged stress even is linked to heart disease, depression and diabetes.
In an ideal world, none of us would have any stress and we would all be floating around in zen-like states getting eight hours of sleep a night and meditating as the sun rises every morning. But this is not an ideal world.
The vast majority of us are going to have to deal with stress at some point in our lives. Adding stressing about being stressed to the pile of things to that are causing your stress isn’t exactly a solution. Instead, it is best to learn to handle your stress.
“Symptoms of stress include memory and concentration problems, negativity, anxious thoughts, general unhappiness, moodiness, anger and a feeling of being overwhelmed.”
First, it is important to recognise when you’re feeling stressed. Recent research from the University of Limerick found that personalising treatment for back pain, the most costly and disabling health condition in the world, by addressing issues including stress is very effective. But researchers found that people do not even realise they are stressed.
Symptoms of stress include memory and concentration problems, negativity, anxious thoughts, general unhappiness, moodiness, anger, and a feeling of being overwhelmed. It is important to recognise when you are stressed so you can take steps to mitigate it.
When you have identified that you are in a stressed state, there are several steps you can take.
Exercising is a great way to relive your mind of what is causing it stress. Exercise is good for you both physically and mentally.
Pick whatever exercise you enjoy most: whether that is kicking a football around, joining a Zumba class or going for a walk while listening to your favourite podcast.
It can be tempting to reach for sugar-filled food when you are stressed out. We all like a treat, but also ensure that you are getting plenty of vegetables, fruit, protein and wholegrains to keep yourself fuelled. And for goodness sake, don’t skip meals, stress and hunger is a terrible combination.
If you know you’re going to have a busy day and won’t be able to get out for lunch, make sure to bring in meals and snacks to keep yourself fuelled.
Get more sleep
Stress can interrupt our sleep so it can seem like a catch-22 to suggest getting more sleep to reduce stress but it is possible to do so without medication. Create a tranquil environment before your bedtime: avoid screens and caffeine.
Try reading a book or taking a bath to unwind. Keep going to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning – even on the days you are off work. This will train your body to sleep.
Talk to someone
The old adage of a problem shared is a problem halved is true. Instead of keeping it all in your head, share your feelings with a trusted colleague, friend or professional.
Read more: I had a mental health crisis and people did not know how to respond
Read more: Taking a pay cut in your 30s puts you at risk of memory loss and impacts ageing
Read more: Exhausted at the end of the day? Here are 8 steps for a better sleep tonight
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