Tired, worried and feeling completely ‘meh’? Find out if you’re suffering from stress – and how to cope with it…
Stress can strike any one of us at any time. It can be caused by all sorts of reasons, from exams and school pressures to relationships and arguments. Oh, and, of course, pesky pandemics…
Learn to spot the signs of stress to act fast and get those anxieties under control with our stress-buster tips!
FEELING TIRED AND LETHARGIC
Are you sleeping more than usual or finding it really difficult to switch off at nights and fall asleep? Changes to your sleeping pattern are a good indicator of stress.
STRESS-BUSTER TIP: Get into good bedtime habits. Follow the same routine every night and give yourself plenty of time to wind-down and relax. Avoid caffeine and high impact exercise late in the day. Keep lighting low, reduce background noise, and turn off any screens. You can try a sleep app and play soothing music to help you drift off.
HEADACHES OR TUMMY ACHES
If you find yourself suffering from regular tension headaches or stomach upsets, these could be caused by stress.
STRESS-BUSTER TIP: Go outdoors to get a breath of fresh air or find a quiet space to unwind. You can use a hot water bottle or a cool cloth to soothe the aches. Always check with an adult before taking any paracetamol or ibuprofen to help with the pain.
FEELING MORE IRRITABLE
Have you been losing your temper more frequently or easily? Stress can cause you to feel overwhelmed and irritated by things that wouldn’t normally bother you. You’re likely to be feeling over-tired, too, which makes it harder to deal with day-to-day problems.
STRESS-BUSTER TIP: Identify what is causing you to feel irritable and remove yourself from the situation, if you can. Take a deep breath and focus on breathing in and out to calm yourself down. You can use an app to help you with this – check out our pick of the best anxiety apps here.
WORRYING ABOUT EVERYTHING
Do you often find yourself worrying about things you can’t control or fretting over little things that wouldn’t have bothered you in the past? Excessive worrying could be a sign of stress.
STRESS-BUSTER TIP: Write down everything that you’re feeling worried about and sort them into two lists – the things you CAN do something about and the things you CAN’T do anything about. Focus on the CAN list and work through it, one at a time. This can help to clear your mind and calm your nerves.
THINKING AND TALKING NEGATIVELY
When you feel stressed, it can be hard to see the positives in life. You might be gloomy and negative about things that would normally make you smile.
STRESS-BUSTER TIP: Start a positivity journal to boost your mental wellbeing. You can get these online – we love these ones from The Positive Planner: https://www.thepositiveplanners.com/shop/ You can also search online for free positive journal pages to download and print at home, like this one: https://www.101planners.com/gratitude-journal/
GETTING MORE HELP
If you’re struggling to cope with stress, you may need more help. Severe stress can be a sign of an underlying mental health condition like depression or anxiety. Talk to an adult or your doctor if you feel unable to manage your stress. You can also talk to Childline on 0800 11 11.