Wednesday, 16 May 2018

MHAW 2018: All About Stress


One of the most common emotions that all of us have to deal with throughout our lives is stress. It can be debilitating, exhausting and overwhelming at the best of times, but how we learn to cope is what we should be focusing our attention on.

I have personally always been a very anxious, panic-stricken individual and no matter what happens, I can't ever seem to remain calm for too long. Over the years, I have thankfully improved, but I still have a way to go and many more issues that I need to work on, which is completely understandable.

We all have different experiences of managing with the difficulties that everyday life throws at us and some of us manage better than others. Some people might find mundane tasks too much of a challenge, causing them to enter panic mode, whereas other people might only start having a meltdown when things have continuously been going downhill for a few months. We all have different tolerances and that's just how it is.

I'm currently in Year 12, which is my first year of Sixth Form for anyone who doesn't live in the UK and to be quite honest with you, I am finding it a struggle in regard to the amount of stress that I'm feeling. At the moment, I also work once a week at McDonalds, have coursework and other bits to complete, go to personal training once a week, volunteer at a charity shop once a week, have DofE meetings once a week, have blog posts to work on and schedule and I also have to make sure I relax, spend time on myself and get enough sleep too, so that I can keep going. These past 5 months have been the most productive and rewarding for me, but also the most challenging. When you feel stressed and isolated with all of the demands that your life entails, it can be hard to remain positive and help yourself, because you might think that other people don't understand your situation and they could just assume that you're making a fuss out of nothing.

However, we are now in 2018 and mental health is becoming much less of a taboo topic. We have occasions like Mental Health Awareness Week, so that we can speak up and encourage others to do the same, regardless of whether they are struggling or whether they just want to make a difference to the lives of those who are. Things may have become too much for you, but you don't have to let them take over your life and cause your mental health and wellbeing to get knocked down. There are always answers and solutions to even the stickiest of situations and there is always support available, whether it's professional or non-professional.

I thought it would be a good idea to use my time wisely and share with you all a short list of the tips and the techniques that I use for myself when I'm feeling stressed in the hope that one of them could be beneficial to you too:

MAKE THE MOST OF TIME MANAGEMENT
Something that is so important, but so often overlooked is managing your time and sticking to some sort of schedule, whether it's rough or super specific. I used to be awful at this and I'm still trying to work on it, but things will seem a lot less complicated if you use to-do lists to your advantage and actually focus on tasks one at a time. Keep track of your deadlines and work on whatever is due first. Once that's completed to the best of your ability, put 110% into the next thing on the list. Don't take on too much and if you feel yourself beginning to slip into that bad habit, just remember that your mental health and wellbeing comes first and you will only become unwell if you don't listen to the signals that your mind and your body are giving off when they are too tired. 

TAKE BREAKS AND TAKE THEM OFTEN
Breaks are needed in every aspect of life, but they aren't always implemented into our routine as much as they should be. We need to take breaks in school, at work, from people and above everything else, when we settle down for the night. It links on to the previous point, but overworking yourself is never fun and if you become too ill because of it, then you'll end up in a worse state and you will be completely unproductive anyway. Even if you just take 30 minutes to read a book or 15 to practise your breathing and have a cup of tea, you will be surprised how much it will benefit you. 

DON'T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR HELP
Over the years, there has always been an attitude where we should be afraid to open up to others and ask for their help, especially when our mental health and wellbeing is concerned. It's thought that we will be seen as incapable, reliant or foolish, but that is so far from the case. A problem shared truly is a problem halved and people won't ever get anywhere in life if they are too afraid to confide in someone about what's on their mind. When I was going through what I refer to as my 'darkest time', I tried to talk to people about it, but I didn't feel like they understood or could empathise with me. Sometimes that will be the case and it can feel like a kick in the teeth, but it shouldn't put you off. If you are struggling to such an extent, you should keep persisting because even when it feels like 5 people don't get you on a deeper level like you wish for, there will always be someone that does. It may just take you a little longer to find them, but you will eventually if you keep searching and have patience. I have grown up to be an open-minded, straight-forward individual and since entering the latter part of my teens, I'll talk to anyone about anything. You may think that nobody in the world could possibly understand your current concern, but it's most likely more common than you think.

The point of this rambly post is to say that you shouldn't be ashamed if you are finding life tough right now. It is a challenge and nobody ever said it was going to be easy. You are here on this Earth for a reason and every single person has their own path to follow and their own purpose to discover. 
If you have nobody around you that you can talk to, you can always send me a message on Instagram or Twitter. My username is @simplyjadeyx on both of them and I will always aim to answer as soon as I can. Alternatively, you can write in a diary, draw your emotions, connect with song lyrics, get into a sport or a type of reflective dance or you can contact some helpful organisations which can provide you with more information should you need it.

Stress is such a normal thing but it can escalate if it isn't dealt with properly and quickly. If you need to do further research or find support, here are a list of different contact details for you:

Websites
https://www.childline.org.uk/
https://www.samaritans.org/
https://www.mind.org.uk/
https://www.time-to-change.org.uk/

Numbers
0800 1111
116 123 
0300 123 3393
020 8215 2356

I really hope you can take something away from this post. Just remember, you are not alone.

Lots of love always,




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