Stress Awareness Month: Learning To Live With Stress

Stress is something that all of us experience. Sometimes it can be caused by a major change at work or an ill relative. Other times it can just stem from something as simple as a cluttered house or noisy neighbours! However, learning to live with and manage stress is not so simple. It’s an ever-changing learning curve, but here are some useful tips and practices to help make things that little bit easier!

Making It Make Sense

It’s very easy for stress to take over everything. Often being caused by anxiety, it won’t magically disappear, but it can be managed. The first step to making sense of stress is understanding what it is, and what is causing it at that time. Being able to rationalise it will help massively. This can help you learn to make sense of it. X is causing you stress, so you can do Y and Z to reduce your stress levels. With this in mind, it’s still important to allow yourself to feel. It will allow you to get it out of your system, and it’s much better than bottling it up.

Confiding in someone you trust will also help you manage your stress. An outside perspective can help you make sense of things, and you’ll often feel a weight lifted off your mind afterwards. Since the cost of living crisis, it’s much more acceptable to discuss financial worries than before. I’ve found talking to someone about it to be really helpful in managing financial stress. Even though it won’t magically fix everything, a second perspective can help you make sense of things.

Find a Routine

Creating a sense of structure can be really helpful in isolating and containing the stresses of the day. Small morning and evening routines act as book-ends which stop stress carrying over to the next day. Keeping the day’s stress contained makes it easier to manage, and prevents it from snowballing and overwhelming you.

Having a routine on both sides of your day will help you think of them as reset buttons. For example, making a coffee in the morning to start, and having a cup of tea and a snack when you finish for the day to end the shift. Personally, I find this close down routine really helps me deal with stress, especially if my workspace is messy.

Doing a close and reset as part of a routine is great for peace of mind. You’ll also have less worry about the next day, so you can to start with a clean slate.

If you work from home, having your break completely detached from your workspace is incredibly helpful in cementing the bookend idea to your routine. Leaving your desk or office for the full duration of your break allows you to properly relax. Before coming back, making yourself a drink can help get you back into work mode as well.

Be Kind to Yourself

Hobbies are a great example of distractions you can find to take your mind off things, especially if you’ve had a stressful day. A tried and tested method is reading. It’s a fantastic way of helping you relax, and it gives you something to focus on, so you can put the stresses of the day out of your mind. Using hobbies to treat yourself is another good practice. You can do something you enjoy, and in a way, it’s a reward to yourself for getting through the day.

I find painting models a fantastic stress relief. I started after a friend recommended it. This allows me to be more mindful by focusing entirely on my painting. Granted, it can be fiddly, but the rewarding feeling once I’ve finished is more than worth it!

Going outside for exercise, or even just to be in nature is proven to help relieve stress. Even for just 15 minutes a day, this can really help improve mental health. It is, unfortunately, weather-dependant, particularly in the UK, but being able to leave the house and just be in nature really can be revolutionary.

If a friend or family member’s situation is worrying you, you can meet up with them and go for a walk in a local park. Seeing them will put your mind at ease. You can both help each other, and you’ll both be able to enjoy the benefits of being outside. Also pairing it with a task that requires you to leave the house is also helpful to tick something off your list. If I have to return a parcel, I’ll often go on my lunch break, as the fresh air and exercise are great for breaking up the day and resetting myself for the afternoon.

Don’t Be Scared of Help

It’s important to remember that when it comes to stress, don’t keep trying to push through it. If help is available to you, make the most of it!

You shouldn’t be scared or worried about asking someone for help – they will almost always say yes. You will realise that you’re not alone, and it will help you feel less overwhelmed. It will feel scary at the time, but you’ll soon find out that you it’s not as bad as you thought.

Living with stress isn’t easy. Some days are much harder than others, but it isn’t the end of the world even if it feels that way. Friends, family, and even your employer can offer advice and resources to help when things are getting too much. Just remember that help is there for you, so don’t be afraid to ask for it.

What helped you learn to live with stress? We’d love to hear if you have any tips! Get in touch with us on our Twitter or LinkedIn pages and let us know! You can also check out our previous mental health blogs here!