What is stress and how can you manage it?

Ongoing stress can have lasting effects on your health, both mentally and physically. We’ve put together tips on managing stress to help you let go of your worries for good.

Ongoing stress can have lasting effects on your health, both mentally and physically. We’ve put together tips on managing stress to help you let go of your worries for good.

Debbie Thompson
Life insurance expert
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Posted 4 DECEMBER 2019

What is stress?

High levels of stress and anxiety can make us feel out of control. But stress doesn’t only affect your mood, it can also affect you physically.

Here are some stress symptoms to watch out for:

  • feeling overwhelmed
  • feeling anxious or fearful
  • constantly worrying
  • difficulty concentrating
  • headaches
  • difficulty sleeping
  • feeling tired
  • changes in eating patterns

Learning how to recognise and manage stress is an important part of staying healthy. Here are six effective ways to help you keep stress at bay.

How to manage stress

Keep active

Evidence shows that being active not only has a powerful effect on how you feel about yourself, but could also reduce feelings of anxiety and depression.

Physical activity releases natural chemicals in the body called endorphins, boosting self-esteem, improving energy levels and helping you feel more positive throughout the day.

Top tip: Try to do 75 minutes of physical activity a week to help relieve daily stress.

Make time for self-care

In the UK, we have the longest working hours in Europe. This means we often don’t spend enough time doing the things we love.

Decide on what it is that makes you feel most relaxed, whether it’s reading, exercise or spending time with family or friends, and set aside time in your week for some well-earned self-care.

Avoid unhealthy habits

One of the most common mistakes people make when dealing with stress is turning to unhealthy ‘coping’ mechanisms such as smoking or drinking.
But these common ‘stress relievers’ could end up making you feel worse in the long-term.

Try to come up with some healthy coping mechanisms like exercise, journaling or speaking to a friend, to avoid getting stuck in harmful cycles.

Manage your time

Staying organised can help you feel more in control of your day. Make time in your evenings to plan out the next day’s jobs, ticking tasks off as you go so you can easily see what you’re achieving each day.

Remember, daily plans aren’t just for work. Having something to look forward to can be an effective way of getting through even your most stressful jobs.

Top tip: If you struggle finding time to cook, why not choose a day to batch-make your meals? That way you always have something healthy and nutritious on the go.

Ask for help

Never be afraid to ask for help. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, having a good support network of friends, family and colleagues can help you see difficult situations in a new light.

If your worries are work-related, ask your manager about ways your team or company could help you manage stress in the workplace.

Learn to let go

Change can be challenging, especially when things don’t go to plan. But fretting over things you can’t control can make you feel stressed and hopeless.

Learning to let go of these stresses and accept the unknown without fear or anxiety is key to achieving a more positive outlook, for now and in the future.

Top tip: Mindfulness exercises like deep breathing and meditation can be effective in helping you clear your mind of racing thoughts and pent-up stresses.

Stress and life insurance

If you suffer from stress, you probably will be able to get life insurance – but it’s really important you let potential providers know about your symptoms.

This is because insurance providers consider mental health issues such as anxiety and depression to be pre-existing medical conditions.

To ensure your life insurance policy is valid, make sure you give your provider all the necessary details, including whether you take medication for stress.

Ultimately, having life insurance gives you peace of mind which can help prevent anxiety and stress.

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