Though mental health issues have increasingly been in the spotlight in the past few years, there's still a long way to go in removing the stigma around discussing and addressing some mental illnesses.
While experiencing stress isn't in itself a mental illness, it can go on to cause or worsen existing mental health problems if it isn't handled properly.
According to Mind, a mental health charity: "Being under pressure is a normal part of life. It can help you take action, feel more energised and get results. But if you often become overwhelmed by stress, these feelings could start to be a problem for you."
How to identify if you're suffering from stress…
Stress can show numerous different symptoms, both physically and mentally, and everyone experiences stress in different ways.
If you think you're suffering from stress, you might be feeling:
- irritable, aggressive, impatient or wound up
- anxious, nervous or afraid
- like your thoughts are racing and you can't switch off
- unable to enjoy yourself
- uninterested in life
- like you've lost your sense of humour
- a sense of dread
- worried about your health
- neglected or lonely
And you could be experiencing some of these physical symptoms:
- shallow breathing or hyperventilating
- you might have a panic attack
- muscle tension
- blurred eyesight or sore eyes
- problems getting to sleep, staying asleep or having nightmares
- sexual problems, such as losing interest in sex or being unable to enjoy sex
- tired all the time
- grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw
- chest pains
- high blood pressure
- indigestion or heartburn
- constipation or diarrhoea
- feeling sick, dizzy or fainting
But the good news is you don't have to go on feeling this way, as there are ways of handling and reducing your stress in a healthy way.
To handle your stress, Mind recommends trying the following steps:
- identify your triggers
- organise your time
- address some of the causes
- accept the things you can't change
If you want to try and develop or improve your emotional resilience to reduce the impact stress has on your life, there are several steps you can take.
Take a look and see which ones could help you improve your mental health.
Use relaxation techniques
Setting aside time to unwind and relax is a great way to manage your stress levels.
Get enough sleep
Though it may seem easier said than done, getting enough sleep is vital in preventing your body from getting run down, or you feeling like you're too tired to cope when a stressful situation arises.
To get a better night's sleep, try to avoid screens before bed, and give meditation a go to help your body relax and feel ready for sleep.
Give yourself a break
According to Mind, rewarding yourself for your achievements is a great way of improving your self-esteem.
Whether you've finished a project, taken the bins out, or done a good deed, take a moment to praise yourself and identify the goals that you've reached.