Stressed? Here's some ways to relax
Australians need to slow down and stress less – and Lifeline is encouraging them to do just that, with Stress Down Day again coming up on Friday, 27 July.
‘Everyone experiences stress at some point, so it would be unrealistic to expect a life totally free from stress,’ says Lifeline’s John Mendel.
‘However, we can all do a lot to help the people close to us who may be suffering.’
He says we can look out for several signs which may indicate that someone is feeling stressed:
- unusual sleeping patterns – feeling tired all the time, or not getting enough sleep;
- alcohol and substance abuse – an increase in alcohol intake or dependence on alcohol or drugs to ‘get by;’
- loss of interest in activities that were previously of interest, such as hobbies, socialising and special interests;
- experiencing high levels of panic and a sense of not coping;
- feeling down or depressed much of the time;
- uncharacteristic mood swings or changes in personality;
- experiencing any behaviour or feeling that may be putting a person at risk of harm; and
- thoughts of suicide, death or ending the pain.
John says there are several ways to help people deal with stress, including:
- taking time to look after yourself physically and emotionally;
- allocating time for things you enjoy, or things that make you happy;
- not placing unnecessary pressure or expectations on yourself;
- making time for friends and family amid other priorities – strong connections with loved ones are good for mental health;
- making time for discussion of emotions within your family – making mental health a discussion point without judgement or stigma attached to it;
- limiting alcohol intake and use of other substances;
- if you feel your stress levels peaking, taking a few minutes of time out in a private place to assess the situation; and
- scheduling both personal time for relaxation and social time for getting involved in group activities.
‘Studies show that if people seek out help, it can significantly alleviate issues of distress and negative mental health experiences,’ John says.
He suggests people who are suffering from stress can talk to a trusted family or friend, or a professional such as a GP or psychologist. There’s also Lifeline’s 24-hour telephone counselling service on 13 11 14, or online self-help resources such as the self help tool kit at www.lifeline.org.au.
As for Stress Down Day itself, it’s a good chance to dress up or down, or wear slippers to work or school, to ‘have a bit of fun to show that you support Lifeline and its life saving work,’ he says.
‘The day is dedicated to reducing the burden of stress on our community, and will encourage people in schools and workplaces to have fun with their colleagues, friends or family to reduce stress levels, have fun and raise funds for Lifeline.
‘The money will go towards helping Lifeline run our 24-hour telephone support service, a service that is literally life-saving for thousands of Australians every year.’
For more information, visit www.stressdown.org.au.