We all know what it’s like to feel stressed out – whether it’s work woes, family drama or relationship struggles. But when does that feeling of being overwhelmed turn into full-on burnout? As Britain marks National Stress Awareness Day (7 November), it’s a good time to ask the question
More than a third (36 per cent) of people say they have been experiencing workplace stress for the past five years, according to a new survey by non-profit
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What To Do Next
In order to deal with stress, you need to be mindful of what your normal operating state is. Shah recommends practising mindfulness to help live more in the moment, rather than thinking about the endless meetings you’ve got coming up, the to-do list you didn’t get through last week, or the impending financial burden of Christmas. If you’re mindful, you’re more likely to pick up changes that are happening to your behaviour, Shah explains.
Breathing exercises can also help, so take five minutes out of your day, sit comfortably somewhere and focus on your breath. There are a number of deep breathing apps you can download on your phone to help guide you.
If you get to the point where you can’t focus, Shah recommends speaking to friends, family members and work colleagues before going to the doctor. Make a list of the people you would turn to in a stressful situation – whether that’s someone you need to have a laugh with, moan about your relationship with, or air your work woes to. “One person might feature multiple times,” says Shah.
It’s important to talk through your worries with your support system, but with people living far apart and with increasing time pressures, it can sometimes be hard to know who to turn to. In this case, helplines and online support groups might help.
If your stress is causing you a lot of distress and you have nobody to turn to, or if you’ve exhausted the above options, speak to your GP. You can also refer yourself for psychological therapy through the NHS IAPT service.
Useful websites and helplines:
- Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
- Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI – this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
- The Mix is a free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: [email protected]
- Rethink Mental Illness offers practical help through its advice line which can be reached on 0300 5000 927 (open Monday to Friday 10am-4pm). More info can be found on www.rethink.org.