How to: Recognise and Cope with Stress

Stress doesn’t discriminate, we have all felt it at different times and to different degrees in our life. Stress is a feeling that people have when they are overloaded and struggling to cope with demands; these demands can be linked to finances, work, relationships etc.

Having the skills and coping mechanisms to recognise and manage stress is crucial for your personal and working life. Finding healthy ways to cope, and getting the right care and support can put problems into perspective and help stressful feelings and symptoms subside.

Recognising when you’re stressed

Stress can present itself in many ways: behavioural, physical, emotional and cognitive. A few warning signs can be:

  • Increased nicotine, alcohol or caffeine use
  • Lack of enthusiasm
  • Headaches
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Increased sweating
  • Changes in appetite
  • Negative thoughts/worrying
  • Loss of concentration
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty making decisions

The above are just a few indicators of stress, but it’s always best to see a professional and receive appropriate guidance and help.

Coping with stress


Just say you’ve finished work but you’re really stressed about your workload and the fact that you may not complete your work in the given time. You’ll most likely lay awake in bed and think about how much you have to get done, then before you know it, your alarm goes off to start the next day. This is unhealthy for your mind and body so in order to get yourself back on track, here is a list of things you can do to alleviate stress in your life:

  • Find support: Seek help from friends and family, counsellor or a doctor. Having someone that can listen and sympathise with you about what’s going on can really help.
  • Socialise: It’s easy to isolate yourself when you’re stressed so it’s important to make sure you take the time out, attend a social event or fun activity that will take your mind off things stressing you out
  • Look after yourself: Make sure you’re eating a healthy, well-balanced diet and exercising regularly. Get plenty of sleep, sleep is your friend. Treat yourself, whether that’s getting a facial, a therapeutic massage etc.
  • Establish a routine: If you’ve gotten out of your routine, work to get back into it. If it’s not working, then it’s best to seek support to find one that will work. Having a routine helps to maintain balance in your life and increases your sense of control.

It’s really important to recognise when you need more help if you are experiencing high levels of stress talk to your GP, a Counsellor or call Lifeline on 13 11 14.

By Charlotte Ruddy

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