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Stress busters

There are many things that can cause stress, such as your job or something in your personal life. If you feel stressed, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause.

Avoid turning to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking.

How to deal with stress

Be active

Physical activity will not make your stress disappear. But it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you're feeling. It helps to clear your thoughts and to be calm when dealing with your problems.

Physical activity and mental health

Take control

There's a solution to any problem. That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.

Focus on the things you have control over. Taking control of a problem will help you find a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.

Connect with people

A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles. This can help you see things in a different way.

The activities we do with friends help us relax. Enjoying a good laugh with them is an excellent stress reliever.

Making time for family and friends

Quality time away from work

We often do not spend enough time doing things we enjoy.

Set aside a couple of nights a week for some quality "me time" away from work.

Challenge yourself

Set yourself goals and challenges, both at work or outside of work. Activities such as learning a new language or playing new sports can help to build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.

Activities you can do with other people to improve your mental health

Avoid unhealthy habits

Do not rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. These will not solve your problems. They'll create new ones. They might provide temporary relief. But they will not make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress.

Help other people

You can become more resilient by helping others. You can do this through volunteering or community work.

If you do not have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone to cross the road or going on a coffee-run for colleagues.

Work smarter, not harder

Working smarter means prioritising your work. You can then concentrate on the tasks that will make a real difference.

Leave the least important tasks to last. Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Do not expect it to be empty at the end of the day.

Try to be positive

Look for the positives in life and things for which you're grateful.

At the end of every day, try writing down 3 things that went well or that you're grateful for.

Accept the things you cannot change

Changing a difficult situation is not always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over - not on the things you cannot control.

For example, the organisation you work for might be letting people go. But there's nothing you can do about this. In a situation like this, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.

Find out more about mindfulness

Learn how to change your thinking and improve your mental health

Page last reviewed: 1 September 2022
Next review due: 1 September 2025