Stress is a normal condition that most of us will deal with at least one time or another over the course of our lives. In fact, a small amount of stress from time to time can actually motivate us to get things done; it’s only when stress is intense and continuous that it can impact both our physical and mental health. “Stress is different for everyone,” says Professor Vijaya Manicavasagar, Clinical Psychologist at the Black Dog Institute. “People approach, react and respond to situations differently. What may be a stressful situation for one person, for instance public speaking, will see another person thrive.”

Am I burnt out?

‘Burnout is a feeling of complete exhaustion and can make you withdraw from other people and develop a cynical attitude – especially towards your work. Burnout can cause you to delay tasks that would have once been easy. In severe cases, burnout might make it hard for you to function at all. Burnout is your mind and body’s way of forcing a shut down so you retreat and can be associated with depression, anxiety and heart disease.’ (Beyond Blue)

6 Healthy ways to cope with stress:

  1. Postpone any major changes. If you’re already feeling stressed or anxious, it might be best to avoid or delay moving to a new house or changing jobs.
  2. Addressing personal conflicts. Resolving problems that you might be facing with other people is often a great way to reduce stress. Be open and communicate with them, which will not only help you but them. A counsellor or psychologist can help.
  3. Make time for things that bring you joy. Sit down and work out what it is that brings you peace, makes you feel relaxed and upbeat. It could be as simple as making a playlist of music you love to listen to, or finally reading that book you have put off.
  4. Finding the right balance. If work is increasing your stress levels, try to avoid long hours and additional responsibilities, and learn to say ‘no’ more often.
  5. Get active, and make it regular. Physical exercise can help relieve tension and relax your mind immediately. It also counts as time out for you, where you can focus on nothing but feeling better!
  6. Get support. Talk to a friend, doctor or counsellor. Don’t be afraid to ask for support at home, at work or in your other activities.

Need some extra help?

When you’ve reached the point of burnout, to reduce this amount of stress, you may need more help than the suggested strategies above. Drawing on the support of your GP, or an allied health professional to overcome these feelings is your best starting point to feeling better. If you’re feeling distressed or need help now, please phone Lifeline on 13 11 14.