How To Manage Stress

Stress has become an overused word, so much so that we tend to minimise the condition, and how it affects us. It truly is a stressful time right now, but how do we know that we’re feeling it in our bodies? Here are some physical signs of stress to look out for:

  • Feeling dizzy or faint, stomach-churning or excessive sweating
  • Trembling, shaking, experiencing cold sweats or having a lump in your throat
  • Rapid breathing, pounding heart, even chest pains or difficulty breathing
  • Racing thoughts, difficulty concentrating, memory problems, or confusion
  • Changes in your sleeping patterns: you experience insomnia or nightmares, for example
  • Unexplained aches and pains, including headaches and muscle pain
  • Loss or increase in appetite, or excessive consumption of alcohol, nicotine, or drugs

Stress clearly affects our minds and emotions too, but not always in the way we think. Here are some common feelings that are associated with stress:

  • Shock and disbelief: you have a hard time accepting the reality of what happened or feel numb and disconnected from your feelings.
  • Fear: you worry that the same thing will happen again, or that you’ll lose control or break down.
  • Sadness or grief: especially if people you know have died or suffered life-altering consequences.
  • Helplessness: the unpredictable nature of the world and country right now can leave you feeling vulnerable.
  • Anger: you may be angry at the government or others or be prone to emotional outbursts.
  • Shame: especially over feelings that you cannot control.
  • Relief: you may feel relieved that the worst is over, that you weren’t as badly affected as others, or even hopeful that your life will return to normal.

All of these are signs that you could be under stress. This may not come as a surprise to you, but what can you do about it? Here are some methods to help manage your stress:

1. Limit your time spent on social media and the news: While it’s important to be aware of what’s going on, accessing a constant stream of information can become overwhelming. Rather choose a few trusted news sources and check in once a day, and then spend any free time doing activities you enjoy, like those included in our mental health challenge.

2. Develop a safety plan: Develop a plan to get to a safe location if you’re worried. By doing this you’ll be able to focus on something you can control, and have an action plan if it becomes necessary.

3. Understand your support system: Make sure you have a strong support system of people that you can talk to when you feel anxious, but remember that you need to actually reach out and ask for help. You can also Ask Nelson 24 hours a day - all consultations are confidential and free. These are also available to your friends and family.

4. Take care of your health: Try to maintain a balanced diet and get adequate rest. This will help to ensure that you’re more equipped to face events and deal with these difficult emotions.

Keep an eye out this month for more Mindful Monday tips and we hope these tips help you live a more balanced life.

About the Author

Keabetswe Nkete
Marketing & Communications Business Partner, Sasfin Bank

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