There may be things in your life that you can't control, but there are things you can do to manage day-to-day feelings of stress.
Find out what triggers your feelings of stress
You can then think about what you can change to manage them. You might be surprised to find out just how much you're coping with at once.
Talk to 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.
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 tips on relaxation for lots more ideas.)
Look after your physical health
- Sleep is important in managing stress. If you don’t get enough sleep, negative feelings are likely to be exaggerated and you might find you are more irritable and less confident. (See our tips on how to improve your sleep.)
- Physical activity can help reduce depression and anxiety and boost your self-confidence. (See our tips on physical activity and exercise.)
- Eating healthily has a positive impact on your physical and mental health. (See our tips on how to eat healthily.)
Give yourself a break
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 support at work
Find out if your force has any specialist support services for staff, for example, peer support, employee assistance schemes, or counselling services. All forces have different services and facilities so it’s best to find out what is available to you by speaking with your occupational health unit.
Visit specialist websites and organisations
The Stressbusting website and the Stress Management Society both offer information about stress and provide techniques for coping. SafeHORIZON provides support and advocacy services for police officers and their families affected by psychological injury, stress and mental ill health. Our Blue Light Infoline can let you know about support groups and mental health services in your local area.
The ability to talk about a problem with someone makes a world of difference. It’s amazing. Just talking about it can almost release some of it out of your body.
This information was published in July 2015. We will revise it in 2018.