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MANAGING STRESS

<p> <strong>Physical symptoms of stress may include:&nbsp;</strong></p> <ul> <li> Headache&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li> Fatigue&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li> Insomnia&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li> Digestive changes, such as becoming more prone to diarrhoea&nbsp;</li> <li> Loss of appetite or overeating (especially of &lsquo;comfort foods&rsquo;)&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li> Increased use of tobacco or alcohol&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li> Muscle tension (e.g. neck or backache)</li> <li> Nervousness and a tendency to be easily startled</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Psychological symptoms may include:</strong></p> <ul> <li> Tension or anxiety&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li> Feeling overwhelmed&nbsp;</li> <li> Anger and aggression&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> <li> Poor decision making&nbsp;</li> <li> Memory problems&nbsp;and poor concentration&nbsp;</li> <li> Increased irritability&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p> <strong>Diet and lifestyle suggestions:</strong></p> <ul> <li> Emotional and practical social support is a very important aspect of stress management.&nbsp;Often talking your problems over with someone helps you to see things from a different slant. If there is no family member or friend whom you feel comfortable talking to or asking for help, ask your healthcare professional for a referral to a counsellor, psychologist or social worker who can help you to pinpoint events or conditions that are stressful to you, and to devise ways of reducing the stress they cause.&nbsp;</li> <li> Maintaining your physical health has a strong benefit for your mental health too. When you are under a lot of stress, pay extra attention to your diet and exercise routine. Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and sugary and fatty foods, which can lead to declining energy levels, and aim for a balanced diet to ensure you are getting enough vitamins and minerals.&nbsp;</li> <li> Schedule regular periods of activities that you find relaxing. This can mean anything from walking the dog to watching a funny movie or going out to dinner with friends. Massage is also of benefit, and as well as being relaxing can help to improve your sleep and relieve muscle tension.</li> <li> Your body is less likely to be affected by stress when it&#39;s in good health. Stop smoking, commence a regular exercise programme&nbsp;and maintain a balanced diet, and you will find that you&rsquo;re better able to cope with stressful circumstances.&nbsp;</li> <li> If you know that you are particularly susceptible to stress, consider taking up meditation or doing a course to develop new problem-solving skills. Sometimes changing the way you look at problems changes the way you react to them. For help in these areas, ask your healthcare professional to refer you to a teacher in your area.</li> </ul>

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