Men’s Health Week: Managing stress
Everyone will experience stress at some time in their lives. While stress is a part of everyday life, it can sometimes become overwhelming. While keeping your worries to yourself and “dealing with it” can often seem like the easier option, talking about how you are feeling can be a great help and the first step to feeling better.
We look at the ways you can manage everyday stress, recognise when you are starting to feel overwhelmed and what you can do to cope. Counsellor, psychotherapist and Counselling Directory member, Paul Noke shares his advice for managing stress:
“Everybody suffers from stress at various times in their lives due to adverse mental or emotional strain or tension, what is important is how we manage it. Daily stress may be due to pressures at work, with finances/relationships, recent loss or just feeling overwhelmed by life itself. Men in particular can feel that they are taking on the weight of the world on their shoulders.
Ways to release stress include:
- Through exercise. When doing any sport, including walking, our bodies release endorphins also known as ‘happy hormones’.
- Healthy diet. Eating the right foods and eating regularly is essential as this combats low blood sugar as this leads to adrenaline being released.
- Listening to music. Having a playlist of certain songs/music to suit your mood and help you relax.
- Writing down your thoughts/feelings. Sometimes it feels like our head is going to explode so writing it down can be a great release.
- Talking to friends. They say “a problem shared is a problem halved”. This is very true as opening up helps you feel less trapped.
For men, admitting they are stressed is immensely difficult due to the stigma attached to stress and the fear that they are seen as ‘weak’. Seeking support is often not a consideration for men, as this would mean admitting they are struggling, which is no good for that ‘male ego’.
Accepting that you are stressed and talking to someone is in fact, incredibly courageous and admirable. As a counsellor, I run workshops on stress and work with a number of men who have taken that leap of faith, not only in admitting they are suffering, but also finding the strength to ask for help.
Together we have been able to normalise what they are going through and identify strategies to help them release the pressure and improve their happiness. My advice is, “don’t suppress your feelings, identify with them, open up to them and talk to an expert who can help you feel human again.”
We asked the Counselling Directory team their tips for managing everyday stress:
“When I feel stressed I tend to put on some energetic music and either go for a run or go to the gym. When exercising, it helps me take my mind off things and channel my energy towards a positive goal.” – Ross, Marketing Communications Executive.
“Most of the time when I get stressed is when I’m feeling overwhelmed. So I tend to write lists to break down the pending tasks into smaller, manageable chunks. I can then prioritise and feel a lot better. The other usual stuff helps too, deep breathing techniques, chilled music, watching a comedy film/show etc.” – Carl, SEO Executive.
“I take my dog for a walk in the countryside (actually do that twice a day anyway!) I guess that’s why I am not so stressed about life! I run early in the morning, so it helps to release all of them positive endorphins. I also love music, so a good old ‘crank up the volume and sing along’ is pretty helpful.” – Matt, Project Manager.
“Removing yourself from the situation isn’t always the solution, but it can help to think about why you are actually stressing about something, so you’re ready to go back and tackle whatever it was. Having a hobby helps me to forget about everything and focus on that one good thing for a few hours a week.” – Steve, Software Engineer.
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