Stress is a killer, leading to high blood pressure, heart attacks, anxiety and depression. But what can be done about it? April is Stress Awareness Month so I wanted to look at the best stress-busters for those of us who need to find a way to relax. 
 
Work-related stress, depression and anxiety is on the rise. 
A study carried out last year found that in 2015 and 2016 stress accounted for 37% of all work-related ill-health cases and a whopping 11.7 million sick days in the workplace. 
It particularly affected those working in the public sector. 
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What does stress do to the human body? 
 
Stress causes deterioration in the functions of your body, making you more susceptible to illnesses ranging from the common cold to cancer. 
When you are stressed, you release stress hormones - most notably epinephrine (adrenaline), norepinephrine and cortisol. 
These work to boost your heart rate, increase respiration and increase the availability of glucose (cellular fuel) in the blood. 
Because these responses take a lot of energy, stress simultaneously tells other physical processes - including digestion, reproduction, physical growth and some aspects of the immune system - to shut or slow down. 
This is fine in a fight or flight response – giving you the energy you need to take action. 
But the more stress we experience the longer the impact – and this can cause lasting damage. 
After all, your body is only meant to handle stress in small bursts. 
 
Chronic stress can lead to serious problems, lowering your immune system and interfering with the proper functioning of your body’s systems. 
Learning to deal with it 
Stress is a normal part of life for everyone – an unavoidable reality. But too much stress can have serious consequences for your health 
 
So what can you do about it? 
I have learned the hard way that working non-stop doesn't make me a happy person. 
In order to keep my stress levels manageable, I have to maintain a healthy work/life balance. 
Recently, I have made it my mission to spend more time enjoying relationships and personal activities such as socialising, theatre trips, cinema outings, walking and travelling. 
I have also worked hard at taking care of myself – emotionally and spiritually. 
 
Moving forwards 
I think that the hard knocks of life have taught me a great deal. 
Over the years, I have got to know myself better and this has helped me to reach young people – giving me perspective as well as a toolkit for change. 
 
Here are my top tips for dealing with stress: 
Develop a hobby outside of work to inspire creativity and passion. 
Keep a diary. Organise your years, months, weeks, and days in that order. If you are always ahead, you can never be behind. 
Develop a healthy lifestyle and exercise and eat healthily. Exercise could just be a walk into town. Shopping counts! 
Remove negative influences from your life. If you have people or a job which brings you down, maybe it is time for change. 
Take care of your outside appearance. People who look good, feel good. 
So what can you do about it? 
I have learned the hard way that working non-stop doesn't make me a happy person. 
In order to keep my stress levels manageable, I have to maintain a healthy work/life balance. 
Recently, I have made it my mission to spend more time enjoying relationships and personal activities such as socialising, theatre trips, cinema outings, walking and travelling. 
I have also worked hard at taking care of myself – emotionally and spiritually. 
 
Moving forwards 
I think that the hard knocks of life have taught me a great deal. 
Over the years, I have got to know myself better and this has helped me to reach young people – giving me perspective as well as a toolkit for change. 
 
Here are my top tips for dealing with stress: 
Develop a hobby outside of work to inspire creativity and passion. 
Keep a diary. Organise your years, months, weeks, and days in that order. If you are always ahead, you can never be behind. 
Develop a healthy lifestyle and exercise and eat healthily. Exercise could just be a walk into town. Shopping counts! 
Remove negative influences from your life. If you have people or a job which brings you down, maybe it is time for change. 
Take care of your outside appearance. People who look good, feel good. 
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