Even though there are likely to be some things happening in your life that you can't control, there are still lots of practical things you can do to manage the amount of pressure you're under day to day. For example:
•identify your triggers
•organise your time
•address some of the causes
•accept the things you can't change

Identify your triggers

Working out what triggers stress for you can help you anticipate problems and think of ways to solve them. Even if you can't avoid these situations, being prepared can help.

Take some time to reflect on events and feelings that could be contributing to your stress (you might want to do this with a friend or family member). You could consider:
•issues that come up regularly, and that you worry about, for example paying a bill or attending an appointment
•one-off events that are on your mind a lot, such as moving house or taking an exam
•ongoing stressful events, like being a carer or having problems at work

You might be surprised to find out just how much you're coping with at once. Remember that not having enough work, activities or change in your life can be just as stressful a situation as having too much to deal with.

Organise your time

Making some adjustments to the way you organise your time could help you feel more in control of any tasks you're facing, and more able to handle pressure.
•Identify your best time of day, and do the important tasks that need the most energy and concentration at that time. For example, you might be a morning person or an evening person.
•Make a list of things you have to do. Arrange them in order of importance, and try to focus on the most urgent first. If your tasks are work related, ask a manager or colleague to help you prioritise. You may be able to push back some tasks until you're feeling less stressed.
•Vary your activities. Balance interesting tasks with more mundane ones, and stressful tasks with those you find easier or can do more calmly.
•Try not to do too much at once. If you take on too much, you might find it harder to do any individual task well. This can make you feel like you have even more pressure on you.
•Take breaks and take things slowly. It might be difficult to do this when you're stressed, but it can make you more productive.


Address some of the causes

Although there will probably lots of things in your life that you can't do anything about, there might still be some practical ways you could to resolve or improve some of the issues that are putting pressure on you.

 

Accept the things you can't change

It's not easy, but accepting that there are some things happening to you that you probably can't do anything about will help you focus your time and energy more productively.

How can I be more resilient?


Taking steps to look after your wellbeing can help you deal with pressure, and reduce the impact that stress has on your life. This is sometimes called developing emotional resilience – the ability to adapt and bounce back when something difficult happens in your life.

For example, you can:
•make some lifestyle changes
•look after your physical health
•give yourself a break
•use your support network


Make some lifestyle changes

There are some general changes that you can make to your lifestyle that could help you feel more able to cope with pressure and stressful situations.
•Practise being straightforward and assertive in communicating with others. If people are making unreasonable or unrealistic demands on you, be prepared to tell them how you feel and say no. (The organisation Mind Tools provides tips on assertiveness on their website.)
•Use relaxation techniques. You may already know what helps you relax, like having a bath, listening to music or taking your dog for a walk. If you know that a certain activity helps you feel more relaxed, make sure you set aside time to do it. (See our pages on relaxation for lots more ideas.)
•Develop your interests and hobbies. Finding an activity that's completely different from the things causing you stress is a great way to get away from everyday pressures. If stress is making you feel lonely or isolated, shared hobbies can also be a good way to meet new people.
•Make time for your friends. When you've got a lot on this might seem hard, but it can help you feel more positive and less isolated. Chatting to friends about the things you find difficult can help you keep things in perspective – and you can do the same for them. Laughing and smiling with them will also produce hormones that help you to relax.
•Find balance in your life. You may find that one part of your life, such as your job or taking care of young children, is taking up almost all of your time and energy. Try making a decision to focus some of your energy on other parts of your life, like family, friends or hobbies. It's not easy, but this can help spread the weight of pressures in your life, and make everything feel lighter.


Look after your physical health

Taking steps to look after your physical health can help you manage stress and lessen the impact on your overall mental health.
•Get good sleep. Stress can make it difficult for you to sleep, and you may develop sleep problems. Being well-rested can increase your ability to deal with difficult situations.
•Be more physically active. Physical activity is important for reducing stress levels and preventing some of its damaging effects on the body (so long as you don't overdo it).
•Eat healthily. When you're stressed, it can be tempting to eat too much of the wrong kinds of food or to eat too little. But what you eat, and when you eat, can make a big difference to how well you feel. See our pages on food and mood for more tips.

Give yourself a break

Learning to be kinder to yourself in general can help you control the amount of pressure you feel in different situations, which can help you feel less stressed.
•Reward yourself for achievements – even small things like finishing a piece of work or making a decision. You could take a walk, read a book, treat yourself to food you enjoy, or simply tell yourself "well done".
•Get a change of scenery. You might want to go outside, go to a friend’s house or go to a café for a break – even if it's just for a short time.
•Take a break or holiday. Time away from your normal routine can help you relax and feel refreshed. Even spending a day in a different place can help you feel more able to face stress.
•Resolve conflicts, if you can. Although this can sometimes be hard, speaking to a manager, colleague or family member about problems in your relationship with them can help you find ways to move forward.
•Forgive yourself when you make a mistake, or don't achieve something you hoped for. Try to remember that nobody's perfect, and putting extra pressure on yourself doesn't help.


Use your support network

Remember that whatever you're going through that's causing you stress, you don't have to cope with it alone.
•Friends and family. Sometimes just telling the people close to you how you're feeling can make a big difference – and they might be able to help you out in other ways too.
•Support at work, such as your line manager, human resources (HR) department, union representatives, or employee assistance schemes. Try not to worry that talking to your manager or colleagues about stress will be seen as a sign of weakness – your wellbeing is important and responsible employers will take it seriously. If you're worried that the culture in your workplace might not be very supportive, you might find it helpful to take a look at:
◦Time to Change's resources on stress, depression and mental health support at work
◦the Health and Safety Executive’s information on work-related stress

•Support at university or college, such as your tutors, student union or student services.

•Peer support. Sometimes sharing your experiences with people who've been through something similar can help you feel less alone. Elefriends and Big White Wall both offer supportive online communities where you can talk openly about stress and your mental health. (For guidance on using these services safely, see our pages on staying safe online.)