It is National Stress Awareness Month this April, so we at MoneyMagpie wanted to share with you some information about stress and how to access help if you are experiencing feelings of stress.
Stress is something that everyone may experience throughout their lives. To some, a low level of it may even be helpful but to others, it can be detrimental. This article with help explain what stress is and how you can access help should you need it.
- What is Stress?
- Possible Causes of Stress
- Signs of Stress or Burnout
- Free help online
- Free Meditation
- Free Yoga
- When to See a doctor
Stress is the body’s reaction to being under pressure or feeling threatened – feelings of stress are very common throughout the population. Whilst low levels of stress can be helpful, too much stress can make us feel out of control. These adverse feelings can make us feel and anxious leading to negative effects on our daily lives. Too much stress over a long period of time can lead to complete physical and mental exhaustion often referred to as burnout.
There are many possible causes of stress including but not limited to:
- Difficulties in our personal lives and relationships
- Unexpected life changes no matter how big or small
- Our individual genes, upbringing, and experiences
- Health issues whether these are personal or those of someone close to you
- Money difficulties
- Feeling lonely or unsupported
- A difficult work environment
If you are stressed, you may:
- Have difficulty concentrating
- Feel overwhelmed
- Be irritable
- Have a lack of self-confidence
- Have trouble sleeping
- Feel constantly worried, anxious, or scared
- Have a change in appetite
- Avoid people or tasks you are having difficulties with
If you’re feeling stressed, there is plenty of free help online through various charities and the NHS website. From free wellbeing audio guides to stress-busting activities, there’s plenty to help relieve some of those feelings. We’ve rounded up some of the best online resources to help relieve stress.
- NHS 10 Stress Busters – this article on the NHS website covers everything from exercise to connecting with others. It includes an audio guide on unhelpful thinking as well as sleep problem guides. It is a great place to start when looking for help online.
- NHS Breathing Exercises for Stress – this article talks you through some quick and simple breathing exercises you can carry out to calm yourself from feelings of stress.
- MIND Tips for Managing Stress – this Mind webpage includes tips on stress management covering spending time in nature and developing hobbies – their website also includes more pages on looking after your wellbeing.
- NHS Easy Time-Management Tips – If you feel some element of your stress is down to not having enough time, this article could be for you. It covers how to prioritise as well as practice the ‘4 Ds’.
- Get Your Mind Plan – This tool made by the NHS allows you to answer 5 questions and get tips and advice personalised to you – the best thing about it is that it’s free!
If you’re interested in meditation, there are plenty of free resources out there. When it comes to apps there’s one that stands out: Smiling Mind. Smiling Mind is a free to download app that is 100% not for profit. It has programmes for all age groups ranging from mindful eating to digital detoxes. The app is completely free and has something for everyone. It’s perfect for people at the beginning of their meditation journey.
There are also some great videos on YouTube for guided meditations. The Headspace YouTube channel is a good place to start – it has playlists for different situations that you might be facing.
Another great option is Goodful which has around 20 short, guided meditations to choose from – these are perfect for beginners.
If yoga is more up your street there are some great YouTube channels out there to help you!
Yoga with Adriene is one of the most highly rated yoga channels on YouTube, with hundreds of videos to choose from there are plenty to go at.
Yoga With Bird is also a great resource when it comes to free yoga flows – there’s even a playlist dedicated to beginners!
If Stress is affecting your daily life or causing considerable distress, you should talk to your GP. In England, you can also refer yourself for psychological therapy via the NHS IAPT service without seeing your GP. There is also the Every Mind Matters website that offers expert advice on how to look after your mental health.
If you feel you need urgent support there are services out there able to help you.
Free 24-hour listening support:
Samaritans are available to talk any time of day when life is tough no matter how difficult it may be. You can call them for free on 116 123.
Shout 85258 offers confidential 24/7 crisis text support for times when you need immediate assistance. Text “SHOUT” to 85258.
Crisis support for young people
If you’re under 35 and feel that life is not worth living anymore, call Papyrus’s HopelineUK from 9 am to 10 pm on weekdays and 2 pm to 10 pm on weekends:
- call HopelineUK on 0800 068 41 41
- text 07786 209697
If you’re under 19, you can also speak to Childline. The number will not appear on your phone bill: