With National Stress Day taking place tomorrow, recent research has revealed that stress levels have doubled in the past four years.
So, what is stress? It’s an adverse reaction to too much pressure and can be caused by a number of factors, including money problems, job worries, relationships, death of a loved one, family problems and exams.
It’s very important to spot the signs early to prevent stress from causing serious complications, such as high blood pressure, anxiety and depression.
Symptoms include the following; inability to concentrate or make simple decisions; memory lapses; becoming easily distracted; worrying; depression and anxiety; becoming tearful or irritable; mood swings; being extra sensitive to criticism; being defensive; feeling out of control; lack of confidence; grinding teeth; frequent colds and tiredness.
If you’ve been suffering from any of these symptoms for a while, make an appointment with your GP. If stress is causing you serious health problems you may need medication or further tests.
As well as speaking to your GP there are several other things that you can try.
Learn to manage your time more effectively. Prioritise your tasks, take time at the start of each day to plan a to do list.
Eat a healthy balanced diet and exercise regularly. Relaxation exercises such as yoga can also help you sleep better.
Know your limitations and don’t be afraid to delegate.
Make sure you have seven-eight hours of good quality sleep every night. Your room should be dark, quiet, well-ventilated and at a comfortable temperature. Develop a bedtime routine and stick to it.
Accept things you can’t change and learn to adapt.
And take time out to relax. Include some ‘me time’ on your to do list. Go for a walk, have a relaxing bath or arrange to do something else you enjoy.
Avoid alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. All of these contain stimulants that can affect your sleep and increase your levels of adrenaline, raising your stress levels.
For more information visit nationalstressawarenessday.co.uk.