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Stress Awareness Month: tips for when you’re overwhelmed

Since launch, Shout Volunteers have taken around 300,000 conversations with children, young people and adults who have been struggling with stress and anxiety.

This Stress Awareness Month, Dr Ariele Noble, our Head of Research Psychology, shares four positive steps you can take if you’re overwhelmed.

1. Reach out to your support network

It’s important to maintain regular contact with those you trust and feel safe offloading (or venting!) to. If you are stressed or overwhelmed, reach out to someone you trust to talk about what’s on your mind - send them a text, give them a call or try to meet up with them in person.

It’s also important to maintain boundaries. While some relationships leave us feeling energised, others can deplete us. Don't be afraid to give yourself the time and space you need to feel good about yourself.

2. Find a healthy way to express your feelings

Sometimes we can feel like we don't have the support around us that we need. Prioritise your wellbeing by finding a healthy outlet for your feelings. This might mean writing down your thoughts, getting outside for a walk or run or doing something creative. These acts of self-care can be grounding when things around us feel uncertain or overwhelming.

3. Establish a daily routine

Texters often tell us that they feel uncertain about their current choices and future prospects. One thing that can help is to try and establish a daily routine.

Try to get up, go to bed and eat at around the same times each day, and make time for things that you enjoy and look forward to. This might mean signing up to an exercise class, taking time to make a healthy lunch or spending a couple of hours getting lost in a book.

Building a routine can also be helpful in limiting the time you spend doing activities that don't make you feel good (cough: doomscrolling!)

4. Improve your sleep habits

We can’t emphasise how important rest is. It’s the time when you’re able to process the thoughts and feelings you have when you're awake. Therefore, getting enough sleep, at the right time, is crucial for regulating your mood.

Our advice is to make late nights the exception, rather than the rule, and if need be make small changes to build a sleep routine that works for you. Things that can help build your sleep routine include getting outside as much as possible during the daytime, avoiding caffeine later in the day and doing something in the evening that you find restful, rather than energising. You can find more tips for a better night's sleep here.

Want to find more ways to help you cope with anxiety and stress? Explore our advice, resources and grounding exercises.