Managing Stress Amidst Uncertainties
As the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) affects us all globally, we’re having to change the way we live our lives on a daily basis, the social distancing measures, isolation, and staying at home affects the way we operate as a human being (humans being social). This extremely challenging times may cause us to be stressed. Most of us know what it’s like to feel stressed, but it’s not easy to pin down exactly what stress means. There’s no medical definition of stress, and health care professionals often disagree over whether stress is the cause of problems or the result of them. This can make it difficult for you to work out what causes your feelings of stress, or how to deal with them. Whatever your personal definition of stress is, it’s likely that you can learn to manage your stress better by:
- Managing external pressures, so stressful situations don’t seem to happen to you quite so often
- Developing your emotional resilience, so you’re better at coping with tough situations when they do happen and don’t feel quite so stressed
Is stress a mental health problem?
Being under pressure is a normal part of life. It can help you take action, feel more energized and get results. However, if you often become overwhelmed by stress, these feelings could start to be a problem for you. Stress isn’t a psychiatric diagnosis, but it’s closely linked to your mental health in two important ways:
- Stress can cause mental health problems, and make existing problems worse. For example, if you often struggle to manage feelings of stress, you might develop a mental health problem like anxiety or depression
- Mental health problems can cause stress. You might find coping with the day-to-day symptoms of your mental health problem, as well as potentially needing to manage medication, heath care appointments or treatments, can become extra sources of stress.
What are the signs of stress?
We all experience stress differently in different situations. Sometimes you might be able to tell right away when you’re feeling under stress, but other times you might keep going without recognizing the signs. Stress can affect you both emotionally and physically, and it can affect the way you behave.
|How You Might Feel||How you might behave||How You Might be physically affected|
Feelings of stress are normally triggered by things happening in your life, which involve:
- Being under lots of pressure
- Facing big changes
- Worrying about something
- Not having much or any control over the outcome of a situation
- Having responsibilities that you’re finding overwhelming
- Not having enough work, activities or change in your life
- Times of uncertainty like the global pandemic
Taking steps to look after your wellbeing can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. This is sometimes called developing emotional resilience. Resilience is not just your ability to bounce back, but also your capacity to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances, whilst maintaining stable mental wellbeing. Resilience isn’t a personality trait, it’s something that we can all take steps to achieve. Taking steps to look after your wellbeing can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. This is sometimes called developing emotional resilience. Resilience is not just your ability to bounce back, but also your capacity to adapt in the face of challenging circumstances, whilst maintaining stable mental wellbeing. Resilience isn’t a personality trait, it’s something that we can all take steps to achieve.
- Make some lifestyle changes – Practice being straightforward and assertive in communicating with others. If people are making unreasonable or unrealistic demands on you, be prepared to tell them how you feel and say no.
- Look after your physical health– Taking steps to look after your physical health can help you to look after your mental health and reduce feelings of stress. Eat healthily, get enough sleep, and be active.
- Give yourself a break– Learning to be kinder to yourself, in general, can help you control the amount of pressure you feel in different situations, which can help you feel less stressed.
- Build your support network- Remember that whatever you’re going through that’s causing you stress, you don’t have to cope with it alone. Talk to friends and family and/or peer support.
Remember: You can talk with our trained psychosocial counselor on 0800720586 who can help you learn how to deal with stress and become more aware of your own thoughts and feelings.