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poster to advertise Mental Health Awareness Week at Loughborough

15 May 2018

How to manage stress – Mental Health Awareness Week 2018

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, and the theme for this year is stress. Below is some advice on how to manage stress, looking at coping mechanisms and techniques you can incorporate in your everyday life.

Don’t forget, the Health and Safety team are running a number of events on campus starting from today (15 May) to raise awareness – you can find out what’s on here.

Symptoms of stress can include headaches, feeling tired, struggling to sleep and a poor diet. These kinds of symptoms can not only negatively affect our mental health, but our physical health too.

Studies have shown significantly high levels of stress can make us feel physically ill and can also impact our long-term health.

By learning to reduce your stress levels, you can help to alleviate symptoms of anxiety and depression, improve your energy levels and you’ll feel like you’re achieving more.

There are four key steps you can take to help with managing stress. They are:

Identifying your triggers

Take time to reflect on what could be causing your stress. Take note of issues that happen regularly, one-off events as well as any ongoing events. This could be moving house, having problems at work or having to pay a bill. You may be surprised at how many aspects of your life are actually causing you to be stressed.

It’s important to note that stress can be caused from being too busy or not being very busy at all.

Organise your time

Being more organised with your time can help you to feel more in control of your life.

Ways of organising your time could mean identifying the most productive time of the day for you. For example, if you generally feel more energetic in the mornings, this should be your time to tackle some of the harder tasks on your to-do lists. The afternoons could then be spent on lower priority jobs such as checking your emails or keeping up with the latest news.

Some people find creating a timetable can help them to focus, and others may feel more comfortable splitting their goals into smaller targets that are much more achievable. This can avoid feelings of disappointment from not reaching a goal.

Remember, it’s vital to take breaks to keep your productivity levels high, and it’s also important to try and vary your activities between interesting and more boring ones, or easier and hard ones.

Addressing issues and accepting what can’t be changed

Sometimes things can’t be changed no matter how hard you try. And a key part of this is learning to accept what cannot be changed. Understanding this will help you to let go and feel less stressed, so you can use your time more productively instead.

Being more mindful

Mindfulness has become a more prominent topic in recent years and it’s easy to see why. Being more mindful can help you to become more aware of your feelings and helps you to observe them from a distance.

With practice, this can help you to become more accepting, more in control of your life, and overall less stressed.

Trust yourself and have a fresh perspective. By being more open-minded, rather than putting pressure on yourself, your mental wellbeing can improve which can help you to a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Find out more about mindfulness on the NHS website.