Managing stress

It’s hard to avoid stress, but you can cope with it in a healthy way.

It’s important to recognise the early warning signs that your stress levels are rising. This will allow you to take some time out and use coping strategies to help you relax.

Here is a checklist of effective ways to manage stress. You may like to print this off as a reminder.

Checklist for Managing Stress

  • Lower your expectations so that you are not expecting too much of others
  • Focus on what you can control, not on the things outside of your control
  • Keep your sense of humour – the act of laughing helps your body fight stress
  • Prioritise – have a to-do list of daily tasks. If you have too much happening, distinguish between what must be done and what can be put off until later
  • Compromise – when two people are willing to adjust their behaviour a little, they have a good chance of finding the middle ground
  • Make time for leisure activities
  • Remove some of the things causing stress, particularly the long-term background stressors
  • Delegate some tasks to others so that you are not taking on too much
  • Learn to say ‘no’. Know your limits and stick to them
  • Get support from friends, family, a carer support group or health professional
  • Release guilt – you did not cause the mental illness
  • Accept that it’s normal to feel angry at how the mental illness has affected your life, and the life of the person you care for
  • Express your feelings – don’t bottle them up
  • Focus on the positive – reflect on the things you appreciate in life. This simple strategy can help keep things in perspective
  • Learn to forgive yourself and others