How to deal with stress when you have to keep pushing on
Anyone else feeling frazzled at the moment?
Whether it’s worries about finances amidst a crippling cost of living crisis, or an ever-increasing workload with surging rates of burnout – there’s a lot to be stressed about right now.
We’re feeling increasingly anxious in so many areas – from personal to professional. Our money worries aren’t going anywhere (what with bills going up again this month) and family, childcare and caring responsibilities only heightening the pressure.
But lots of us have no choice but to just… carry on.
April marks National Stress Awareness month and, with many burning the candles at both ends, it has come at exactly the right time.
‘Burnout Britain’ is in full force – but what’s the best way to deal with stress when you have no choice but to keep pushing on in different aspects of life?
Counsellor Georgina Ross, from Counselling Directory, says: ‘It can be really hard to feel like we have to keep going and pushing through when we are already feeling really stressed and at capacity.
‘It is all too easy for people to tell us to “take a break” but, sometimes, this is easier said than done – or not possible for us to do.’
If this sounds familiar to you, experts share a few things to try.
Take five minutes every day
When we are feeling overwhelmed, it’s important to give ourselves a break.
This might be just five minutes of time for yourself every day.
Georgina explains: ‘Trying to make time in the day for yourself could help to reduce some of your stress.
‘This could be something for just five minutes, like having a cup of tea by yourself or listening to your favourite song in the car.’
When we are stressed our mind can feel noisy, or even foggy.
‘When we experience anxiety it can be easy to get caught in negative thought patterns, fuelling anxious thoughts with more anxious thoughts,’ says Eve Lewis Prieto, the director of teaching and mindfulness at Headspace.
‘Meditation can be a really supportive and effective way to calm the chatter in the mind down.’
If you want to give it a go, but are unsure on where to start, be sure to check out our guide here.
Be kind to yourself
Practicing self-compassion is also really needed when you are pushed to your limit, adds Eve.
She explains: ‘It allows us to see our common humanity, we can see that, as humans, we are vulnerable and not perfect and that we all experience challenging times in our lives.’
But Eve stresses that self-compassion is different to self-pity.
‘It’s really about providing a space for healing to take place instead of getting caught up in negative thought patterns, or engaging with judgement and self-doubt,’ she adds.
‘It also helps to expand our perspective – this doesn’t mean denying what is happening to you, but instead framing it in a supportive way. For example, saying to yourself: “I am finding it hard that I don’t feel 100% right now when I feel like I should, but I understand that it’s normal and natural for human beings to struggle at times.”‘
Give mindful walking a go
We’ve all heard of ‘mindfulness’ – but it can be hard to put into practice, and switch off, when life feels extremely hectic.
However, walking is an easy way to practice mindfulness every day – as it’s something you’ll probably do anyway.
Eve says: ‘Mindful walking is a great way to calm an anxious mind, connect with the body, and feel the movement of each step – this might be the sensation of legs making contact with the surface. Also, pay attention to the environment around you, like birds tweeting or the sound of trees.
‘If you are feeling particularly anxious try walking quite fast to start with and even shake out your hands and arms, and gradually slow to your normal pace.
‘The reason this is effective is it helps to come out of the mind and into the body and our surroundings.’
Essentially it’s a good way to ground yourself, quite literally, when you’re feeling stressed.
Delegate where you can
Also, remember, your loved ones are there for you when you’re going through a tough time, says Dr Elena Touroni, a consultant psychologist and co-founder of The Chelsea Psychology Clinic.
She explains: ‘If you’re feeling overwhelmed and like you’ve taken too much on, make sure you delegate and ask for support.
‘Some people will struggle with this more than others, depending on their own vulnerabilities. But it’s unrealistic to expect that you can do it all.’
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