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Understanding your stress container and how to manage it.

“If you listen to your body when it whispers, you won't have to hear it scream.”
Adapted from a Cherokee proverb.

April is stress awareness month and the focus from the Stress Management Society this year is to encourage individuals to make small changes to our daily self-care routine, with the aim of reducing our stress levels. Over time these small steps can yield significant improvements in our mental wellbeing.

Understanding your stress container and how to mamange it

Stress is our body’s natural response to pressure when we cannot meet the demands placed upon us. Stress is actually good for us as it helps us to focus and perform at our best. However, in today’s fast-paced world where we have little time for rest and restoration in between the increasing demands, consistently elevated levels of the stress hormones, adrenaline and cortisol, can become physically and mentally draining on the body. That overload can lead to burnout and more serious physical and mental health issues.

This month we want to share some tips to help teams and individuals to manage their stress levels effectively and introduce you to the “Stress Container” model to help increase our understanding.

What is our stress container?

We all have the capacity to absorb so much of life’s challenges and the MHFA’s stress container model is a tool we can use to help us define our capacity for stress. The Stress Container can help us to understand how we experience stress and how to address this.

Once we understand what causes us stress and techniques that work for us as individuals to manage this feeling, we can positively move forward. Click HERE to explore this tool further.

Every individual will have the capacity to manage different stress levels at different times, by identifying the tasks, people or situations that trigger this feeling, we can learn to manage things. Stress can be generated in a number of difference ways:

  • Life changes eg: getting married, having children, divorce or relationship breakdown, health scares, bereavement or legal issues.

  • Emotional eg: coping with conflict, or uncertainty.

  • Physical eg: poor diet, lack of sleep, alcohol or drugs.

  • Environmental eg: poor housing, social isolation, unemployment or financial pressures.

  • Changes at work eg: starting a new job, increased workload, poor relationships or redundancy.

At The Mind Hub one of our popular workshops is around sharing how we can understand and manage our stress levels (or stress admin) via our stress container. Like many other things in life, if we do not manage our stress levels, they can build up and become overwhelming.

What are the signs of stress?

Some of the signs that indicate we need to take steps to manage our stress levels include: being easily agitated, frustrated, moody, having self-doubt, low mood, feeling overwhelmed or out of control. We may also experience physical symptoms such as headaches, feeling tired, panic attacks or chest pains. Once we recognise these signs and are aware of the cause, we can start to put strategies in place to manage these situations.

Questions we might ask ourselves to identify how we are feeling might be:

  • What sources of stress are in my container right now?

  • What can I control?

  • What can I delegate?

  • What can I stop, start or continue to do differently?

  • Who can help me?

  • What do I need to accept that I cannot change?

  • What do I need to do to help myself?

Tips to manage our stress levels.

To be the best version of ourselves we need to ensure we prioritise self-care. With this in mind, we wanted to share some tips to help manage our stress levels:

  1. Plan regular non-negotiable time in your week for self-care. This could be taking a warm bath, catching up with a friend or reading a book.

  2. Plan regular exercise into your week. Focusing on exercise you enjoy and building movement into your week is a key part to help us to manage our stress levels.

  3. Eat a balanced, healthy diet.

  4. Practice good sleep hygiene.

  5. Calmly plan your day and review your to do list, be realistic and reach out to colleagues if you feel overwhelmed. Agree the focus, see if there is opportunity to reach out to others for help and delegate a particular task or project.

  6. Celebrate the small wins.

  7. Let go of the feeling that you “should” be able to do more.

In Summary

Stress is part of modern day life and can be managed to minimise its impact. If you or your teams are experiencing difficulties in managing stress levels and you would like to understand how we can help,

please get in touch to find out more about our full range of workshops.


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