S R E S S
Stress: is a well-known trigger for depression and it can also affect your physical health. So it's important to identify the causes of Stress in your life and try to minimise them.
Any sort of loss, from bereavement, divorce and separation to a child leaving home, causes stress, as do long-term illness and disability. But things such as marriage, moving house, a new job and holidays have quite high stress ratings too.
In work, worrying about deadlines or about not being up to the challenges of a particular task can cause
Symptoms of stress
Some common signs of too much stress include:
Heightened sensitivity to criticism
Signs of tension, such as nail-biting
Difficulty getting to sleep and early morning waking
Drinking and smoking more
Loss of concentration
It's important to act to relieve damaging stress before it affects your physical or mental health.
Dealing with stress
The secret of managing stress is to look after yourself and, where possible, to remove some of the causes of stress. If you start to feel things are getting on top of you, give yourself some breathing space.
Take a day off work, domestic chores, family and everything else that puts pressure on you. Spend the day doing only relaxing things that make you feel good. It can make all the difference, reducing the threat to your wellbeing.
Some ways to cope with stress:
Accept offers of practical help
Do one thing at a time - don't keep piling stress on stress
Know your own limits - don't be too competitive or expect too much of yourself
Talk to someone
Let off steam in a way that causes no harm (shout, scream or hit a pillow)
Walk away from stressful situations
Try to spend time with people who are rewarding rather than critical and judgmental
Practise slow breathing using the lower part of the lungs
Use relaxation techniques
One response to stress can be anger. Find out more about anger management.
Stress caused by work is the second biggest occupational health problem in the UK (after back problems). Because there's still a stigma attached to mental health problems, employees are often reluctant to seek help in case they're seen as unable to cope.
Many situations can lead to stress at work. These include:
Poor relationships with colleagues
an unsupportive boss
Lack of consultation and communication
Too much interference with your private, social or family life
Toomuch or too little to do
Too much pressure, with unrealistic deadlines
Work that's too difficult or not demanding enough
Lack of control over the way the work is done
Poor working conditions
Being in the wrong job
Insecurity and the threat of unemployment
When people feel under impossible pressure at work, they tend to work harder and harder to try to close the gap between what they're achieving and what they think they should be achieving. They stop taking breaks and lose touch with their own needs.
Tackling work stress
There are general things you can do:
Talk to someone you trust - at work or outside - about the things that are upsetting you
Use whatever counselling or support is available
Work regular hours and take all the breaks and holidays you're entitled to.
If things get too much, book a day off or a long weekend
Use flexitime, if available, to avoid rush-hour travel or to fit in with childcare needs
Look after yourself through exercise and healthy eating
Tackle addictions to alcohol, smoking or other drugs
Specific things to do
Make your work environment comfortable and suited to your needs
Discuss problems with your supervisor or manager, and if difficulties can't be resolved, talk to your personnel department, trade union representative or other relevant members of staff
Treat colleagues with the respect and consideration you'd like from them
Be aware of company policies on harassment, bullying or racism, so you know how to challenge unacceptable behaviour and what back-up there is