Living with Stress
Stress can be a common issue for many people. Our job, relationships, financial worries are just some aspects of our life that can place a burden on us. Stress is a fairly common emotion to experience. However, it is the degree and length of time we feel the pressure that can lead to problems. Stress can be useful to some extent. It can push us to get the job done on time or work harder. However, a problem can occur when we are placed under so much stress that we begin to feel overwhelmed. Excess stress can lead to physical and emotional problems.
In this section, you can find answers to common questions about stress, mental health and how The Spark provides support for stress. Click or tap on the options below to expand the answers.
If you think you need extra support for stress or it has been recommended by your GP, please Freephone The Spark’s counselling enquiry line – in confidence – on 0808 802 0050 during our opening hours. Or complete an enquiry form and will call you back at a suitable time.
Learn more about our counselling services for individuals and couples.
Stress and Counselling
What is Stress?
Stress is what we feel when our body is placed under pressure. The body is placed under a certain tension that can affect our physical, mental or emotional well-being. Stress can cause different reactions to different individuals. Some may believe they need the pressure to get the job done. However, for some, they can find a certain level of stress extremely overwhelming and difficult to cope with. It depends on the individual and the situation. Moreover, there is no right or wrong way to feel.
However, it is important to know the signs when you are beginning to struggle with stress. If you have an existing mental health issue you may be more likely to feel pressured or overwhelmed. Knowing how to handle stress or becoming aware of the symptoms is a good start in preventing long term detrimental effects.
Every case of stress is different. However, prolonged stress can begin to impact our daily life and normal activities such as eating and socialising.
Find out more about stress on NHS inform website < https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/ >
What can cause Stress?
The causes of stress vary from individual to individual.
The following is a list of possible issues, past and present that can contribute to stress:
Loss of Job
The health of a family member
Coping with a serious injury
You can read more about symptoms and potential causes of stress <here> https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/understanding-stress/
Alternatively, make a counselling enquiry by completing our online form.
According to the HSE, over 11 million days are lost because of work-related stress. Nearly half a million people in the UK have work-related stress to an extent it makes them feel ill.
Stress can be useful and help us perform better at work. However, if pressure and demands from our job become too much to handle we can begin to suffer from work-related stress.
There can be many issues causing work-related stress such as:
Bullying at work
Lack of managerial support
Overseeing many teams or employees
Refer to HSE website if you feel you are suffering from work-related stress. The NHS also provides national clinical advice. Employers have a duty of care to measure and monitor risks including the possibility of a mental health issue.
What can I do to manage stress?
Assess your environment
First of all, it is important to identify the source which is causing stress. Becoming aware of the source can help initiate an appropriate reaction. For example, do I need to reduce my workload? Do I need to talk to my partner about a personal issue?
Time management is also an effective way to prevent or reduce stress. If you have a few deadlines coming up, try organising and prioritising your workload in accordance with each deadline. Give yourself plenty of time to complete the work and speak to someone if you think that the workload is unmanageable.
Make time for yourself
No matter how busy and intense life gets. Spend 1 hour a day doing something you love or find something that involves mindfulness and relaxation. For example, reading, exercising or meeting friends for a coffee. Research shows that spending 1 hour a day doing something we love can boost our moods and overall productivity.
Writing is an acknowledged method of helping people come to terms with their feelings. Keeping a journal or diary can help bring your feelings to the surface. You may be also written what triggers your stress and how you have handled it in the past. This can be helpful for future reference.
There are various other relaxation techniques such as yoga, Pilates, lavender to promote sleep, relation apps such as CALM. It is about what works for you.
Learn how to say ‘no’ if you already feel like you have too much work …setting limits do not mean you are weak, its improves your strengths because you can give more time to the things that matter to you and excel in those aspects.
Don’t be a perfectionist. We all make mistakes, we all fail at something, and we can’t please everyone. This is not a bad thing, this is life. No one is perfect. Realise that you need to take a step back, change your outlook/perspective and don’t prioritise anything over your mental health. Working hard and discipline are all things we must embrace as human beings – but in moderation. It’s okay to take a break, to accept that you have done your best, even if the result is not what you desired. We must show ourselves appreciation.
When is it time to get support for stress?
There is no right or wrong answer to this. If you feel stress is starting to affect your daily life and your relationships then it may be time to get support. You should never feel afraid of getting the support you need.
Stress can disengage us from our loved ones and unintentionally isolate us. If you have attempted self-help techniques but still feel like you need further support, speak to your GP. They may advise you to speak to a professional.
If stress is beginning to have an impact on your relationship with a loved one such as your partner – it may help to talk to someone.
How could counselling help with stress?
Stress can lead to other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. It is important to understand that if stress is ignored, it can become increasingly overwhelming and difficult to cope with, then this can have a negative on other areas of your life such as relationships
The NHS outlines common stress symptoms:
Anxiety or fear
State of worry or panic
Physical effects such as loss of appetite, headaches, dizziness, feeling tired
What can I do if my partner is stressed?
Dealing with difficult emotions such as stress can harm relationships.
This is because, it may change the way a person interacts, or it could be a relationship that is causing the stress. Your partner may begin to act moody, withdrawn, disengaged from things they are usually interested; or they may even turn to alcohol or drugs as a form of release.
There are self-help tips that you could do for your partner who is feeling overwhelmed by stress.
First of all, help your partner – you know them better than anyone. Are they perhaps working too much? Are they not providing themselves enough time to avoid unnecessary stress? Is your partner acting differently / almost disengaged from home life, family, etc because of stress?
Secondly, listen without judgment and validate their feelings
Third of all, identify how your partner experiences stress
Lastly, Pencil out time in the diary and spend some quality time together. Starting new habits together such as going a walk or attending a yoga class together can be the perfect way to de-stress and spend less time on social media.