Dealing with Stress – 6 Stress Management Tips
According to Way Ahead (Mental Health Association, NSW), 75 percent of Australians surveyed said stress in their lives adversely affected their physical health.
Interestingly, only 64% said stress affected their mental health (even though experts say our mental health is equally affected by stress).
Given stress impacts both our mental and physical health proportionately, it is vital we manage our stress effectively.
We all know one of the most important strategies to manage stress is to reach out, however, when it comes to asking for help, more than half of us fail to do so.
Stress Management in the Era of COVID-19
We’ve all heard that the COVID-19 is an unprecedented event, at least since the ‘Spanish Flu’ of 1918-1919. This event – and any unexpected event that potentially brings negative consequences – brings great uncertainty to our lives. And uncertainty can commonly induce stress, anxiety and with it, the negative effects of stress to both our physical and mental health. This COVID-19 era requires extra vigilance as many of us are at risk of tipping into unhealthy levels of stress.
The Signs of Stress to Lookout For:
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Constantly worrying
- Feeling overwhelmed and ruminating
- Physical effects such as an upset stomach or headaches
- A desire to isolate and avoid connection with family and friends
- Overuse of alcohol and use of drugs
- Thoughts of suicide
What do People Choose to do to Manage Stress?
It is interesting to understand what many of us choose to do to manage stress. According to Way Ahead’s survey, 86% of us choose to ‘chill and watch Netflix’ to relax, with 81% of us spending time with our loved ones as an antidote to stress. Other de-stressing mechanisms include choosing to focus on the positives, listening to music, reading, eating and adjusting our expectations.
Six Successful Strategies to Manage Stress
- By eating, that is not to suggest a tub of ice-cream will do the trick, even if it does feel great at the time. It is essential to know that what you eat affects both your physical and mental health, so choose to eat nutritious food, especially plenty of fresh, seasonal fruit and vegetables.
- Your body deals with stress that much better if you exercise. Ideally enjoy your exercise outside, in nature and with a little sun.
- Rest and Sleep. Sleepless nights will almost definitely add to your stress. Our bodies are designed for activity and rest, so try and keep a balance between the two as it will add to a balanced body and mind.
- Avoid alcohol, drugs, excessive caffeine and addictive behaviour. While you might get a (very) short-term pay-off, over time, you’ll almost certainly pay a price – and only add to your stress levels.
- Connect with family and friends. Connection rules. Choose family members and friends that are supportive, non-judgemental and importantly, empathetic and positive.
- Reach out for professional help. This is key. If there is any message that we as a society need to get – there is no shame in not being okay. In fact, it’s admirable – and all-too human to know when you need help and ask for it.
Resources for Stress Management and help: