Stress is a typical part of life, we’ll all experience it at some point and so it is best that you work out what can help you to feel less negatively effected by it early on. A study by UK Youth has found that young adults can spend around 6 hours a day feeling stressed out, with various triggers found such as money, appearances and careers. That’s a lot of time you could get back if you work out the best way of dealing with stress.
Stress is not always a bad thing, however, as it can push you to be more motivated and can provide other short term physical and mental health benefits. It’s important to recognise when stress is turning into a negative and effecting your day to day life as this is when you should ask for help or come up with ways to chill yourself out.
Feeling content is something that we all reach in different ways, we all use different techniques to combat negative thoughts and consequently there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to dealing with stress. Here are some overarching ideas that can be shaped to your individual needs.
Reach out to family and friends
When feeling stressed, it’s easy to shut yourself off and not know how to best approach talking to people about your feelings. However, it is really important that you let people know how you’re feeling, with UK Youth’s research finding that 56% of young adults have ended up facing more issues after not confiding in someone else.
This is a really hard thing to do and it does take a lot of courage to open up to people. It’s not always about explicitly telling someone: “I am stressed and need help”, but sometimes just a long chat about anything at all can really help you to feel comforted.
If you do feel that you need to speak to someone but don’t feel comfortable, you can reach out to charities such as Samaritans.
Talk to your manager at work
If your stress appears to be stemming from issues or worries at work, talk to your manager about this. If you’ve got too much work to do and don’t feel that you’ll be able to meet a deadline, it’s important that you engage in those conversations.
Your line managers are there to help you and should support you if you talk to them about your issues at work. If you don’t feel that you can, take a look at your employee handbook and see if there are any anonymous support services that the company suggest using.
Take up a hobby or sport
There are many options for relaxing hobbies that you could take up to reduce the amount of stress you experience. For example, reading has been found to reduce stress levels by around 68%*, offering it as one of the quickest ways to relax.
Similarly, finding a hobby that involves exercise could be a great idea. Exercising is not only good for your physical health, it can have major benefits for your mental health too.
If you find yourself experiencing a lot of stress at your workplace, it’s important to take part in an activity that can switch your mind off from work when you get home.
Work out what the root of the issue is and tackle it head on
Sometimes it can seem easier to avoid the problem rather than face it, but stress is a concept that can do a lot of damage to you if you just let it fester. Dealing with stress begins by working out the root of the problem.
When you’re feeling stressed out about something, make a note of it. Then when you’re feeling a bit more energised and confident to, work out how you could best deal with that particular stressor. If it’s to do with money, see if you can cut back any unnecessary costs each week or set up a monthly savings plan. If it’s the prospect of your future career that is stressing you out, take the time to really think about what you want from your job and how you can achieve that. If it’s to do with graduate blues, you can read more about that here.
One of the biggest parts of all of this is recognising in the first place that you’re stressed and in need of some help, so you should feel proud if you have identified that. It’s not easy to deal with stress so don’t be hard on yourself if you can’t instantly find your calm amidst the storm.
*University of Sussex (2008)