Laura Greaves from the podcast Suddenly Sightless shares her top ten tips on how to deal with stress.
Everyone will become stressed at some point in their life. It may look or feel different to different people, and many may not even recognise it – but everyone will experience it.
The most stressful time period in my life was during my career transition. I was still coming to terms with my sight loss and tried to keep things as normal as I could. I was no longer able to complete my work duties as I was based in a hospital laboratory working with intricate machinery which was not very accessible. I went through redeployment into administration and was trying to navigate my way through the Access to Work scheme. At the same time, I was planning my wedding and trying to be a ‘normal’ mum to my young son.
Yes it was stressful, but I came out the other side and my stress did not limit me in the long term. Everybody has mental health, much like everybody has physical health. Stress, whilst different to anxiety and depression, can still be overwhelming and stop you in your tracks. With that in mind, here are my Top Ten tips for managing Stress in everyday life:
- Maintain control – I over plan everything, from a holiday to my weekly shop! I’ve always been like this, but if I can control my environment then I’m not as worried about things going wrong.
- Know your triggers – You need to know how your body works in order to control it. Find out what triggers your symptoms of stress and what you can do to avoid these.
- Meditate – I use an app called Calm to help me meditate but there are loads available for help with relaxation and mindfulness.
- Find a distraction – If you can feel a panic attack starting, quickly detach from the situation and find a distraction. This can be a film, drawing, a video on YouTube – anything!
- Be open – Talk about what makes you stressed to a friend or loved one. It will not only help others with their understanding, but it will help you as well. I use an app called The Mighty when I need to vent.
- Find tactile objects – I use this as a form of distraction, especially as I have sight loss. I find different textures and surfaces quite comforting.
- Reasoning – If possible, talk yourself down. The situation you’ve encountered may be stressful, but will it harm you in the grand scheme of things?
- Don’t be afraid to take a time out – Look after number one and if you need to detach for a minute then do it, some fresh air and deep breaths can be really comforting.
- Learn to laugh at yourself – If something does go wrong, sometimes it’s best to laugh it off! I know it’s easier said than done but take these situations with a pinch of salt, they rarely have a lasting impact.
- Let it go – If you get overwhelmed then that is OK, it happens to everyone at some point. The sooner you can move on and not let it eat you up, the better.
If you feel you are struggling to cope with stress or find you are getting stressed more often than usual, here are some links that have further information. You can also discuss stress with your GP.
- Campaign against living miserably (CALM)
- Heads Together
- NHS page on stress
- Rethink Mental Illness
Laura is a member of the Birmingham Sight Loss Council and when not working or with her family, spends her time giving back to the community. She is also part of the RNIB Young Leaders Programme and hosts a Podcast called Suddenly Sightless.