Stress is something most people experience. When stress reaches a point where you feel you are overwhelmed or unable to cope, it can have a serious impact on your health and wellbeing. As part of Health and Wellbeing Month we help you recognise stress, understand how it affects you and identify ways to cope with it.
According to The Mental Health Foundation, stress is a feeling of being under abnormal pressure. This pressure can come from different aspects of your day-to-day life, such as an increased workload, a transitional period, an argument with your family or new and existing financial worries. You may also find that it has a cumulative effect, with each stressor building on top of one another.
During a stressful situation, you may feel threatened or upset and your body might create a stress response. This can cause a variety of physical symptoms, change the way you behave, and lead you to experience more intense emotions.
Stress can affect you in a number of ways, physical symptoms may include;
- stomach problems
- faster heartbeat or chest pains
- headaches or dizziness
Mental symptoms may include;
- difficulty concentrating
- feeling overwhelmed
- feeling constantly worried or anxious
To cope with these physical and mental symptoms, you may change your behaviour. These changes might include;
- drinking or smoking more
- eating more or less than usual
- avoiding certain places or people
- being irritable or short tempered
Coping with stress
The NHS suggests the following that you can try to help with stress:
- try these 10 stress busters
- get started with exercise
- use these breathing exercises
- try mindfulness
- use these time-management tips
- listen to free mental wellbeing audio guides
Useful resources to help manage stress
Visit The Mental Health Foundation to learn about three steps you can take when feeling stressed and seven steps to help protect yourself from stress. There is also a downloadable guide called “How to manage and reduce stress”.
Launched by the Ministry of Defence and The Royal Foundation, HeadFIT for Life is made up of a series of tools or activities that can be easily incorporated into anyone’s day-to-day routine. Although it is designed for Defence personnel, it is applicable to anybody and the aim is to help you establish healthy habits to unlock potential, achieve personal goals and reach your optimal wellbeing. Use the HeadFIT tools to improve your drive, confidence, mood and how you de-stress.
Further information on health and wellbeing
This story comes to you as part of the RAF FF’s themed month of May for all things relating to health and wellbeing. The website also provides a good reference section on all things health-related. You can also sign up to our (free) weekly eBulletin and/or quarterly Envoy magazine to keep yourself up to date with information on new initiatives as they go live.