It’s 2018, we’re all in debt, we all have to work til we’re 90 and will never own a house, and Donald Trump is the President of the United States. We. Are. All. Stressed. Stress can cause a plethora of problems; the most affecting of these for me personally is that if I let stress build up my general mental health suffers quite dramatically.
Stress is an unavoidable part of life. Some people thrive on stress, others collapse. I am somewhere in the middle – I like to be busy, but I am easily overwhelmed. Stress management is, therefore, key. I find it really difficult to notice when my stress is getting ‘too much’, and I also find it difficult to take time to properly relax. Things pile on top of each other very quickly, and before you know it the small things become unmanageable.
In my years of managing the relationship between stress and mental health, I have found that the best way to keep on top of it is by noticing other symptoms. My sleep is one of the first things to suffer; I either cannot get to sleep, cannot wake up, or both. Quality of sleep is a tangible symptom of feeling stressed, which is less tangible and therefore harder to control and keep on top of. It is easier for me to notice that I am sleeping too much, too little, or badly than it is for me to notice that I am feeling too stressed or overwhelmed. Noticing the quality of my sleep and then taking steps to try to improve it in itself helps me to feel less stressed, and more able to tackle whatever tasks I have. I allow myself a lie in if I have been struggling to sleep, or force myself to set a slightly earlier alarm each day if I have been struggling to wake up, and I got myself a good mattress and some decent pillows. No screens in bed is wishful thinking so I set myself the realistic goal of trying to stay off my phone and watching an episode of something nice before I sleep instead.
NB: I do not suffer with insomnia, and so my thoughts on stress and sleep unfortunately cannot take this into account. If issues with your sleep are persistent and affecting your daily life, you should speak to your GP.
Tempur will be donating £10 to The Mental Health Foundation for every mattress sold throughout May this year. This post is sponsored by Tempur, all thoughts and words are entirely my own.