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Are you feeling stressed? Stress is thought to affect around 70-80% of Adults in the UK alone with many adults being signed off work sick with stress at one point in their lives or another.

Stress can manifest itself in different ways

Stress manifests itself in many different ways, often presenting with a wide range of physical, emotional and psychological symptoms and changes in behaviour. If you find that you’re suddenly suffering from low energy, headaches, stomach upsets, aches, pains, mood changes or are coming down with way more colds and flu than is normal for you, chances are you’re feeling stressed.  Stress can also affect your libido and cause problems in the bedroom. 

As stress can cause you to feel overwhelmed by everyday tasks going out and socialising can become a challenge. This can contribute to low mood and loneliness and avoidance of social situations. 

Emotionally, stress can leave you feeling worried, with racing thoughts, inability to focus, poor decision making and feeling pessimistic. As most of your thinking capacity is taken up by the fight, flight, freeze response, you may find it hard to remember things and leave you feeling disorganised. 

Behaviourally, you might find that your appetite changes either making you crave foods and over eat, or reduce your appetite levels right down. You might also find yourself biting your nails, fidgeting, procrastinating or self-medicating with alcohol, nicotine, or recreational drugs.

What causes stress?

Stress can be triggered by life events such as marriage, moving house, the death of a loved one, divorce/separation, losing a job or major change in financial situation, money worries, problems with school/work/university, having a new baby, caring for family members and working too hard with not enough time out. 

Often a stressful situation will resolve itself without any problem but until it does there are some simple things you can do to to help yourself.

What can be done to ease stress?

Concentrate mainly on what you need to do to get through each day. This could just mean having clean clothes or uniform to wear, food to eat for every meal and if at all possible a short walk to help settle the mind. Keeping yourself hydrated is key as dehydration will make you feel worse.

Consider if there’s anything you can delegate that doesn’t need to be done by you or if there’s anything that you don’t have to do ever, that could simply be crossed off the list. The same goes for things beyond your control. Some things we can change and other things (like what’s happening in the world around us) we can’t. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it. I’ve seen people getting stressed about the snow, we can’t make it not snow so the best thing we can do is be as prepared as possible for snow and then let it get on with it! 

Face the thing that most scares you. If you’re putting off making a phone call because you’re scared of the outcome, then make that call first, so at least you’re not having to worry about it all day. Then give yourself a reward (no matter how small)

Diarise time out for yourself if at all possible, plan something fun into the diary so that you have something to look forward to

Have a regular Reflexology, Massage, Aromatherapy Massage, or Reiki treatment can help reduce stress levels and improve mood, sleep patterns and increase your sense of wellbeing

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