Mental Health

Six Activities to Help You Cope with Stress

how to cope with stress article image person stressed
If stress is impacting your life, please talk to someone about it. You deserve to live a quality life that makes you fulfilled in every way.

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⚠️Trigger Warning: stress, anxiety, job loss, COVID-19,

What is stress?

According to the NHS, stress is our body’s natural reaction to feeling pressured by things in our daily life.

We will all experience some form of stress. A small amount can help motivate us, ensuring that we get tasks done and meet life’s demands. However, too much stress can impact us both physically and psychologically.

Causes and Symptoms of Stress

There are many things that can cause stress, such as significant life changes, work, finances, prolonged worrying, and pressure.

Physical symptoms of stress can include chest pain, muscle tension, headaches, and insomnia.

Psychological symptoms can include feeling overwhelmed, feeling more anxious, struggling to focus, and feeling irritable.

Related: Stressed? Burnt Out? Tips For A More Peaceful Life

How stress impacted me

coping with stress

One thing in my life that caused stress was work. Due to the pandemic, I was stuck at home, like many others, for many months in 2020.

Thankfully, I was able to get a temp job working in a school with kids who had special educational needs. As it was a temp job, it didn’t guarantee that I’d be working every day, which was indeed true. I worked from school to school for the remainder of 2020 until we went into another lockdown around Christmas time.

Getting a New Job

It wouldn’t be until March 2021 when I was contacted by an agency offering me work. Although I was nervous as I hadn’t worked for months, I figured I had nothing to lose.

I began working in a primary school offering one-on-one support to a young girl who had challenging behaviour and special educational needs. As the young child had yet to be assessed, we were unsure how to support her learning.

Feeling Overwhelmed at Work

As I had limited experience in this field, I felt overwhelmed.

Working with her was extremely challenging. She ran off often, so I had to chase her constantly. She spat at the staff and bit us.

Due to my role, I was employed to work with other kids who had special educational needs in the same school.

The role began to take a toll on me as I wasn’t getting the support I needed, and at times, I wasn’t getting adequate breaks.

Experiencing Physical Symptoms of Stress

In addition, I started to experience chest pains and thought it would be best to get checked out asap. I had an electrocardiogram (ECG) –a test to check the heart’s rhythm and electrical activity. Everything was normal, thankfully.

During the two days off, the school decided that my services were no longer needed. I was fired. I was shocked, but in hindsight, the job wasn’t a match and created a lot of stress.

Since then, I have worked as a support worker, and I am due to start a new job in the mental health and recovery field, which I am excited about.

Having stressful job roles has taught me the importance of self-care.

How I Cope With Stress

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Here are six activities that have helped me manage stress:

Meditating

Studies show that meditation is an effective way of reducing levels of stress. I meditate for a minimum of 5 minutes every morning.

Related: Using Meditation to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Exercising

This is another stress reliever; I love working out. Not only does it reduce stress, but it also gives me a confidence boost, especially when I start to see the results I want.

Related: Using Exercise for Managing Stress

Deep Breathing

how to cope with stress breathing

In moments of high stress, I make sure to focus on my breathing. If work is hectic, I try to get some time for myself. I try to go to the bathroom, take some deep breaths and compose myself before returning to the task at hand.

Journaling

how to cope with stress journal

At the end of every day, I write in my journal. I write about the day’s events and write about at least I think I am grateful for each day. I use this time to unwind before bed.

Reading

how to cope with stress reading

Getting lost in a story takes my mind off the stress of the day. It helps me to stay calm and is a favourite pastime of mine.

Talking to Loved Ones

A venting session is a must for me. Over my personal development journey, I have learnt the importance of getting things off my chest. I used to keep things bottled up, and it created more stress.

Feeling stressed? You’re not alone.

If stress is impacting your life, please talk to someone about it. You deserve to live a quality life that makes you fulfilled in every way.

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My name is Candice. I am 25 years old, and I live in London, England. I started a mental health blog a couple of years ago as a way to vent and discuss topics that were not addressed in my Caribbean household growing up. I have experienced symptoms of anxiety and depression for several years and recently, completed several sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy. I hope to provide a space for people to know more about how they too can cope with their mental wellbeing and get the help they may need. Fast forward to this year; I morphed my mental health blog to a personal development blog. I decided to focus on personal development as I am consistently looking for ways to grow in every way. Furthermore, I aim to provide advice for those who wish to become a better version of themselves. By no means am I an expert in this field, but through my studies of psychological therapies, I hope to advise readers along with a bit of my personal story.


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