What happens when we continue “burning the candle at both ends”? We reach physical and emotional exhaustion, and just like the candle itself, we risk burning ourselves out.
Have you ever experienced a slow acceptance of the pressures around you until everything is “just too much” and you can barely cope?
If so, you’re not alone. Roughly 8.3 million American adults were reported to have experienced serious psychological distress in 2017.
The clinical definition of stress is the “psychological, physiological and behavioural response by an individual when they perceive a lack of equilibrium between the demands placed upon them and their ability to meet those demands, which, over a period of time, leads to ill-health”. (Palmer, 1989).
If you have ever felt like that (as many of us have), here are some tips for managing your stress.
Understand your stress
How does your stress present itself? By understanding what stress looks like for you, you can be better prepared when you start to get stressed.
Identify your stress sources
It could be work, family, change, or other potential thousand triggers.
Learn to recognise stress signals
We all process stress differently, so it’s essential to be aware of your stress symptoms. It could be headaches, stomach pain, unable to sleep or many other things.
Recognise your negative stress strategies
What is your ‘unhealthy’ go-to tactic for calming down? For example, some people cope with stress by self-medicating with alcohol or overeating, binge TV watching etc.
Implement healthy stress management strategies
Become mindful of your unhealthy strategies so you can switch them for positive options; instead of overeating, phone a friend to chat through your situation. Instead of staying in bed – get up and do a fun physical activity.
Make self-care a priority
It’s right and proper to look after ‘you’. When we make time for ourselves, we put our well-being before others. Initially, this can feel selfish, but it is like the lifesaver analogy-if we are drowning, we can’t save others.
Ask for support when needed
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, reach out to a friend or family member you can talk to.