The Stress Management Society

The Scotsman: Managing stress in challenging times

In these trying times, when more and more people are affected by various crises, financial and otherwise, there are ways to manage the symptoms and avoid the worst effects of stress, as Alice Wyllie reports

IT WOULD be an understatement to say that these are trying times. Every morning the nation seems to wake to the news that the financial crisis is deepening, and it’s affecting more and more of us personally every day.

“We’ve found that in terms of the number of enquiries we’ve had from people who are feeling stressed and looking for help, the last six months has been our busiest ever period,” says Neil Shah, the director of the Stress Management Society ( www.stress.org.uk).
“Not only are people finding the current financial climate stressful because of the way it affects their jobs, homes and finances, but in times like these, the ‘luxuries’ like holidays or meals out are the first things to go. These are the things that help us unwind and alleviate stress, so it’s a bit of a vicious circle.”

It is vital though, that we do not let stress get on top of us. Panicking will not achieve anything and the effect of stress on our health and well-being can be disastrous.

So if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the increasingly-bleak economic news and you can’t stop worrying, take a deep breath and read our tips on how to beat stress and stop the credit crunch woes getting you down:

These range from anger, depression, difficulty sleeping or a loss of appetite to chest pains, constipation, dizziness or breathlessness.

If you experience some of these symptoms for a prolonged period of time, you increase your risk of developing high blood pressure. Your GP should be able to diagnose stress based on your symptoms alone and will be able to suggest appropriate treatment. This may be in the form of counselling, medication or stress management techniques.

When you feel stressed out you may feel compelled to snack on sugary junk food, which gives your body a sugar rush followed by a slump in your energy levels, often making you feel tired and irritable. Instead, eat at regular times, don’t skip breakfast and follow a healthy, balanced diet. Visit www.eatwell.gov.uk for tips on maintaining a healthy diet.

Being told to relax when you’re feeling anything but can be irritating. However, there are plenty of practical steps you can take to help you unwind: