Handle stress in 5 steps

A bit of stress is normal, especially during a stressful event in your life, like exam time. It can help keep you alert and sharp, but if you’re so stressed that you can’t perform simple tasks, it may be because you’re not dealing with it the right way. Here’s how you can manage stress better.

Signs that you’re stressed

We all react to stress in different ways, but there are some common signs of stress that you can look out for. These include feeling easily irritable, having trouble sleeping or staying asleep, sudden appetite changes (eating too much or not eating enough), worrying a lot, being unable to focus, etc.

Be aware of your stress triggers

As soon as you realise that you’re stressed out, it’s important to try and pinpoint the root of your stress. This way, you’ll be able to deal with the problem. Knowing your stress triggers can help you avoid them or help you face them head on. For example, if you’re likely to experience exam stress, you’ll make sure that you prepare ahead of time so that you don’t crash under pressure.

Let go of what you can’t control

It’s common for us to stress about things outside of our control, but if you actually think about it, if we can’t change anything about a situation then it doesn’t really help to stress about it. For instance, if you’re stressed about the fact that you didn’t have enough time this year to study because of the pandemic, you can try and manage the little time that you have, instead of focusing on the things you can’t change. This is difficult to do at first, but you’ll need to remind yourself that something is out of your control and choose to release it.

Focus on the positive

This isn’t easy to do when you’re under a lot of stress, but it does help to make an effort to think of the positive things in any tough situation. You can do this by making a list of things you’re grateful for every night before bed or choosing to find 5 positive things for every negative thought that comes up.

Take a break

It’s important to take care of yourself no matter how busy or stressed out you are. While it may feel like you always need to keep going and there’s always work to be done, taking time off can actually help you become more productive. Take frequent breaks between your study sessions and make sure you’re getting enough sleep. It’ll do you a world of good.

Talk to someone

Dealing with stress alone isn’t easy and not having a support system can make you feel overwhelmed. Try talking to a loved you trust or contact SADAG on 011 234 4837 for professional help with any feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. You can also reach out to me for a chat.

While stress is a part of our lives and this year has been particularly stressful for most people, there are positive ways of coping and you can overcome stress. Remember to take care of your mental health by incorporating some self-care and positive self-talk into your daily life, and if things get a little too overwhelming, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

If you or a friend need advice or help, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).