Stress – And How to Manage It

This is the first in a mini series of posts on how to cope with stress. I hope you find it helpful; please share your own stories and tips too!

Recognise Your Signs

What you find stressful may be the breath of life for someone else, and vice versa. You can’t compare. And some days things will cause you stress which wouldn’t on another day; it depends what else is happening in your life right now. All of us feel stressed from time to time and it needn’t be a problem unless we fail to recognise and take remedial action. Then it can cause us no end of problems and unhappiness and potentially long term ill health.

Here are some commonly agreed symptoms of how stress might show itself in you:

  1. Do you feel on verge of being angry a lot of the time, as if the anger might burst out unbidden? (Indeed, it may, often at the person least due it)
  2. When you wake up in the morning do you feel as tired as if you hadn’t slept? Is your sleep pattern different from normal?
  3. Do you feel tired most of the day, generally below par?
  4. Maybe you are getting a physical sign like  a flare up of eczema (When I was doing social work with abused children I would often get patches of painful eczema in the centre of my palms – a sure sign I was under stress.)
  5. Are you suffering from more than your fair share of headaches?
  6. When you get in from work do you feel too tired and flat to do anything other than slump? (I mean regularly feel like this; we all experience this from time to time.)
  7. Has your appetite changed, either eating compulsively or having no appetite for food at all?
  8. Is your concentration less good than it was? Do you find yourself spending ages on one task and never really finishing it (again, a common occurrence from time to time for all of us! But if it’s happening regularly, it may be telling you something)
  9. Have your lost your sense of humour, your ability to make light of situations?
  10. Is your decision making faculty less good? Do you dither about the simplest of things?

We all experience all of the above from time to time but you will know if it is out of the ordinary for you. Stop and take stock from time, do a little stress inventory on yourself. Recognising the signs is the first step to tackling it.

In the next post I’ll be looking at some of the ways we can help manage our stress at work. Don’t forget to share any of your own ideas and suggestions!


Posted on March 1st, 2010 by

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