April marks National Stress Awareness Month and what better way to mark it than to sit down with our Clinical Director of Medical Services Dr Tang to discuss how to decrease your stress levels.
Stress is the body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. It’s extremely common, and low-level stress can be motivating to help us achieve things in our daily life, and help us meet the demands of home, work and family life.
However, too much stress can affect our mood, our body and our relationships – especially when it feels out of our control. It can make us feel anxious and irritable and affect our self-esteem.
Experiencing a lot of stress over a long period of time can also lead to a feeling of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion, often called burnout.
Dr Tang said: “It’s important to know what symptoms to look out for when it comes to stress. Stress affects people differently, and the things that cause stress vary from person to another.”
Symptoms of stress usually include:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Having racing thoughts or difficulty concentrating
- Being irritable
- Feeling constantly worried, anxious or scared
- Feeling a lack of self-confidence
- Having trouble sleeping or feeling tired all the time
- Avoiding things or situations you are having problems with
- Eating more or less than usual
- Drinking or smoking more than usual
Dr Tang continued: “There are many ways to decrease your stress levels and it’s important to consider which of the below tips work best for you to improve your mood.
“To improve dealing with stress and burnout I would suggest increasing your amount of exercise. Being active can help you to burn off nervous energy – it will not make your stress disappear, but it can make it less intense and the time spent exercising can help you process what needs to be done and how you can effectively tackle it.
“The second way to improve stress would be to plan ahead and split up big tasks. If you know you have a difficult task to deal with, try breaking it down into easier chunks and give yourself credit for completing each one.
“Lastly, take the time to talk to someone. Whether it’s a friend, family member or work colleague. Don’t be afraid to say how you feel and whoever you speak to will be able to provide a more positive outlook on the emotions you are feeling.”
If you feel like you are struggling with stress and would like to speak to someone you can book a private GP appointment at Pall Mall.