Stress is often described as a feeling of being overloaded, wound-up, tense and worried. Learning to handle stress in healthy ways is important. Fortunately, it’s easy to learn simple techniques that help.

 

Identify warning signs:

Signs you are stressed could include tensing your jaw, grinding your teeth, getting headaches, or feeling irritable and short tempered.

Identify triggers

Triggers can raise our stress levels. If you can identify and anticipate them you can practise calming yourself down beforehand, or even and ways to avoid them. Triggers might include late nights, deadlines, seeing particular people, hunger or over-tired children.

 

Establish routines

Having predictable rhythms and routines in your day, or over a week, such as regular times for exercise and relaxation, meal times, waking and bedtimes, can be calming and reassuring, and can help you to manage your stress.

 

Spend time with people who care

Spending time with and sharing your thoughts and feelingswith people you care about and who care about you can help you to feel less stressed. It’s important not to ‘bottle up’ your feelings.

 

Look after your health

Make sure you are eating healthy food and getting regular exercise. Take time to do activities
you and calming or uplifting, such as listening to music, walking or dancing. Avoid using alcohol,
tobacco or other drugs to cope.

 

Notice your ‘self-talk’

Saying things to yourself such as: “I can’t cope”, or “I’m toobusy”, or “I’m so tired”, or “It’s not fair” is called unhelpful “self-talk”. Try more helpful self-talk like “I can cope”, or “Calm down”, or “Breathe easy”.

Practise relaxation

Make time to practise relaxation. This will help your body and nervous system to settle and readjust. Consider learning a formal relaxation technique such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation or yoga; or make time to absorb yourself in a relaxing activity such as gardening or listening to music.

 

Fore more information, go to the APS website

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