In life, everyone deals with stressful situations in various shapes and forms. This could be anything from buying a house to a university assignment to just not having the best day. Now, it's easy to stress out and suppress this, maybe relieve it for a couple of hours by treating yourself or just ignoring it completely. However, this isn't the way to look after yourself and your mind.

In light of National Stress Awareness Day, let's talk about the importance of combating stress, dealing with it in whichever way that suits you best and most importantly, not ignoring it.

dealing with stress

Ignoring the stressful situation at the time always seems like a good idea, you're just pushing it to the back of your mind for a while. However, the longer you suppress it, the more extreme impact it has on your life in the long run. As someone who suffers with anxiety, I used to just avoid thinking about things that caused me stress, trying to suppress it as much as possible and continue with my life. This would always result in some sort of a breakdown as I've just let it all pile up with no solution of how to make it better. Now, I actively try to combat stress and anxiety using a number of techniques. Tackling things head on has made me much more aware of what causes me stress and more importantly, how I can reduce its impact on my mental wellbeing.

Like I said, it's inevitable that we will all experience stress at some point in our lives and there's nothing we can do to control that. However, we can try to control how we react to this. My top tip for combating stress is thinking about or writing down what is causing you to worry and then look at identifying the realistic outcomes of this stressful event and what I can do to stop this from having an impact on my mental health. For example, if I'm stressed about money, I will write this down and work out exactly how much money I have and budget properly in order to reassure myself that my fear of not being able to pay my rent is irrational. I often find that when you just let yourself think about stressful events without writing them down or talking to people about it, the situation becomes worse and worse because you're allowing yourself to create this really traumatic event, continuously adding more negative components the more you think about it and as soon as you talk about it or write it down, you realise it's not all that bad.

Sometimes though, things are bad. Coming back to the money example, sometimes there's not enough money to do a proper food shop or to be able to travel home. Rather than letting myself get worked up about this, I create a strategy of how I can resolve this and earn more money. Whether it's picking up some extra work or selling that jumper I haven't taken out of my cupboard in months, I will find ways to make it work. Actively working on reducing your stress and creating solutions to your problems is so useful.

However, as someone who struggles with mental health problems, this is sometimes easier said than done. Sometimes, I do not have the energy to sit and think about things rationally. I think the worst. I don't want to get out of bed. I've struggled with my mental health for as long as I can remember and before, I would just beat myself up about not combatting my stress and I would feel guilty that I couldn't stop myself from feeling the way I do. I still have those days and that's ok but now, I'm trying to allow myself to just breathe. I'm learning that if I'm having a bad day, whatever I have to do will still be there tomorrow and I can come back to it rather than burning myself out. I'm learning that life isn't going to stop just because I miss an upload day on the blog or I'm a week behind on my University reading. Most importantly, I'm learning to put myself first. If the only thing I've done in the day is made my bed and cooked myself some food, I shouldn't feel guilty. Self care is so important.

With University and work, it's inevitable that I am going to be stressed but I will continue to work on how to deal with this stress and remember that it's ok to say no. Nothing is more important than our own mental wellbeing. Remember to be kind to yourself.