Coping with everyday stress


What is everyday stress?

Modern life can be very demanding, and while some everyday stress is normal, it's important to manage your stress levels so they don't end up taking their toll on your health.

Stress is often a normal response to the demands of work, finances or relationships, and low amounts of stress can make us perform better and prepare us for difficult situations.

However, too much stress is linked with heart disease, mental health problems such as depression and anxiety, and a weakened immune system. Here are some tips for staying stress-free under pressure.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms can be both physical and psychological, and are triggered by the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol.

Physical symptoms include:

  • Raised blood pressure and heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Headaches and muscle tension
  • Nausea and indigestion

Psychological symptoms include:

  • Tearfulness
  • Irritability
  • Withdrawal from social settings
  • Anxiety

If these symptoms are affecting your day-to-day life, it's a good idea to see your Doctor for advice.

Ways to reduce everyday stress

Start by identifying what's worrying you, and, if possible, take steps to change the stressful situation.

Work pressures getting you down? It may be worth contacting your boss see if they can help.

If you're experiencing stress in your personal relationships, frank and open discussions are often the best way to let people know you need support.

Other steps you could take include:

  • Cutting down on alcohol and stopping smoking, as these affect our general health, making it harder for the body to fight back against stress
  • Eating healthily and exercising regularly – as well as helping to keep you fit and healthy, exercise can be a great stress-buster
  • Making some time for yourself to do something you enjoy, whether that's reading a book, having a long bath, or going to the cinema
  • Consider practising mindfulness, a form of meditation which has proven benefits of reducing stress and anxiety in some people. There are plenty of apps and websites available for guided mindfulness meditation
  • Ask your pharmacist about remedies such as valerian root and hops extracts. These are traditional herbal products that have been licensed for the short-term relief of everyday stress

When to seek help

If you are suffering from low self-esteem, depression, mood swings, difficulty sleeping, or if stress is affecting your everyday life, it's best to seek medical advice. You should also see your Doctor if symptoms persist to discuss treatment options, which might include medicines or talking therapies if necessary.

Next steps

  • Try and identify the areas of your life contributing to your everyday stress
  • Try some simple ways to reduce your stress levels
  • Seek advice from your Doctor if you are finding it difficult to cope, or if symptoms persist