During times of changes, or important stages of your life, there is an increased risk of stress. You can’t make stress go away entirely, but you can learn to cope with it better stay healthy through times of change.
These days, we are much better at talking about our feelings than in previous generations, but it can still be a difficult conversation to start. Remember that everyone has been through stress at some time in their lives – no matter how alone you feel, there is always someone who can relate to what you’re going through.
We all need a little help from time to time. Talk to a close friend or a trusted family member about what you’re dealing with and how it’s making you feel. You may find they are able to offer practical help but, more often, just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone.
If you have a good support network of friends or family, lean on them in times of stress. They can sometimes help you find a different perspective on things, so that you can see a path through to solving practical problems in a way that seemed impossible before
Sometimes, of course, it isn’t possible to speak to people close to you. They may be involved in the issue, or you may just want to keep things private. In those instances, it can feel easier to seek support from an online community, where you can share your story or ask a question. Sometimes just getting the thoughts out of your head can help you start to see a new perspective on things.
Sometimes, the best way forward is to seek professional help. Stress can be just as bad for your health as a physical illness, and deserves the same amount of attention as you would pay to any other injury. If you’re struggling with stress, your GP can offer some tips on where to get further help and may be able to refer you to a specialist.
Regular physical exercise can be a great boost for your mental health, making you more resilient and protecting your self-esteem. When your body is healthy, you are more likely to feel calmer, and you will find it easier to sleep at night and concentrate during the day, and generally feel better. Getting enough exercise can be as easy as taking a half-hour walk every day, so don’t worry if you don’t have the time or motivation to get to the gym.
Avoid the temptation to mask your stress with alcohol or other recreational drugs. You will not make the underlying issues go away and you may end up feeling worse as the chemicals in your brain reset themselves after a binge. If you do drink, monitor your intake, or consider taking a break while you get things back on track.
There are strong links between what we eat and how we feel. Cook yourself a healthy meal, with plenty of colourful fresh ingredients, and make sure you’re drinking plenty of water.