Is stress taking over your life?

Stress happens when we are unable to cope with everything we have going on in our lives. It could be that an event has taken place in your life that has overwhelmed you and before that, everything was fine, you were managing well. Or it could be that you have so much going on in your everyday life and you’re feeling unable to cope with it.


Too much emotional or mental pressure leads to stress.

Do you ever feel like you’re spinning too many plates and somehow keep ending up with even more? 

You’ve tried to work out which ones to put down but they’re all so important and the ones you end up putting down are the ones that involve self-care and time for you…

It can feel difficult to say no and the pressure we can feel to fit in, do well, be successful, and please those around us can make saying no difficult – hence those ever-spinning plates piling up.

Learning how to manage those plates more effectively is crucial to your well-being because how long can you carry them around before they all come crashing down and make a big mess? 

It’s not easy to learn how to manage stress or to decide which plates to put down because they all seem so important and when we’re feeling stressed, we may find it harder to make decisions.

Signs, symptoms, and behaviours of stress

  • feeling irritable, snappy, impatient, or angry
  • feeling anxious, nervous, or low in mood
  • feeling tearful
  • racing thoughts that are difficult to switch off from
  • a sense of dread
  • feelings of worry and loneliness
  • withdrawing from people and life
  • biting nails and/or skin picking
  • tensing jaw
  • restlessness
  • loss of libido

Physical signs of stress

  • panic attacks
  • trouble sleeping
  • feeling tired
  • headaches
  • constipation and/or diarrhea
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • sweating
  • rashes and/or itchy skin
  • existing physical health conditions worsening

Stress is an inevitable part of life, especially with so many of us now working full-time while being full-time parents and trying to be the best partners, friends, students, and everything in between that we can possibly be. However, we can only stretch ourselves so far and sometimes we need to check in with ourselves about how much we are taking on before we completely burn out.

We are under so much pressure in today’s society to be the best, do a fantastic job, and attend all the meetings but how much of that pressure are you actually putting on yourself? If you take a step back and think about all those plates you’re spinning, what do they look like? Can any of them be put down, even for a little bit, while you catch your breath and do something for yourself?

We can’t do our best work while we are burnt out and we can’t keep too many plates up in the air for too long.

Practical ideas to help manage your stress

Here are some practical things you can do to help manage your stress and free up some plates:

  • Talk to a friend or family member and ask for support, let them know if there is anything they can do to help you.
  • Make your to-do list smaller, and try not to write yourself huge lists that you know you cannot get done in that time frame.
  • Reconsider what you’re telling yourself you have to get done, are they all urgent – or can anything wait?
  • Prioritise self-care and make a note of how you feel when you do so you remember to make more time for it.
  • Breathwork, meditation, yoga, relaxation.
  • Exercise.
  • Listening to music.
  • Any activity that brings you joy and helps you to de-stress.

If you’d like some support in making sense of those plates so you can learn how to put some down without feeling guilty, feel free to contact me and I’m happy to support you in managing your stress effectively.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Birmingham, West Midlands, B43
Written by Jodie McCormack, Integrative Counsellor MBACP
Birmingham, West Midlands, B43

Jodie McCormack is an integrative counsellor, offering a safe and confidential space for people to explore their thoughts and feelings. She hopes to help people to feel more confident and empowered as they work through whatever they choose to bring to their sessions.

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