Mental Health Reviews

How I cope in times of stress

I blog about mental health a lot and I’m totally open about my anxiety and how it affects me. Which is bad. Sometimes. I think during my anxiety journey, I’ve learnt a lot about how to deal with both anxiety and stress. I’ve probably learnt more coping mechanisms with anxiety than I ever would have if I didn’t develop it in the first place. Which, thinking about it, I suppose is one benefit to come out of having my mental health disorder. Of course we all need coping strategies when we’re stressed. Because we all get stressed and we’ll all have periods of more stress than others. You know how it is, everything’s fine for months then 12 problems come along at once. I’ve recently had a bit of a episode like that, which I’m not going to go into but it’s important to reiterate the point that everyone goes through it. It can help to know we’re not alone, if nothing else. 

I’m not speaking for anyone apart from myself here and I’m sharing these things because I’ve found they’ve worked for me and may work for you too. Of course if you think it’s not stress and you’re suffering from a mental health problem then the GP should be your first port of call, not my bloody blog post! But for anyone willing and open to try some new coping techniques for those inevitable times of stress, I hope you find something here that’s helpful.

Give yourself X amount of time to worry

Obviously this will depend on what you’re worrying about but I’ve certainly found setting a limit on my “worry time” definitely helps. Trying to forget about our stresses and worries just isn’t doable sometimes and I don’t think it’s healthy to try and force someone to put them to the back of their mind and never think about them. Feeling what we feel is an important part of being human. But we know when enough is enough. I sometimes allow myself 15 minutes to think about everything, worry, scream, cry, panic – whatever it is I have to do. Then stop. It’s hard at first but with practice, can really save your day.

Focus on today and only today

My gosh, living “in the moment” is one of the most beneficial things I’ve learnt since developing anxiety and being worried about absolutely everything, ever. If I have a big “thing” coming up; a doctors appointment, a holiday, an event – anything, I could worry my knickers off every single day leading up to it. A prime example of this was a New Years Eve party I was invited to a few years back which I worried about every day for 2 months and guess what? It’s never as bad as what you think it’s going to be. Focusing on today and only today is a life saver. Honestly and truly. If you don’t know where to start with this, I’d suggest Yoga, meditation or mindfulness. Apps, books, DVD’s, whatever you can get your hands on.

Get out of your head

Easier said than done, I know but really, just doing something which will get you out of your head for a while – literally even for just an hour – will be so beneficial. I don’t mean having a relaxing bath or going for a walk because although these things are fantastic for your self care and mental health, they also allow you a lot of time to think. My go-to for this one is playing The Sims. I could be out of my own head for hours, if not days while I’m playing this game. It allows me to completely forget about everything and everyone and that’s really useful. Find your thing.

Look after yourself

When you’re super stressed, it’s easy to neglect ourselves. I know that as much as anyone. But at the end of the day, we deserve better than that from ourselves. Basic self care should never be overlooked, regardless of how silly or obvious it sounds. Seriously, just make sure you drink some water, brush your teeth, maybe have a stretch in the morning. don’t neglect your beautiful self.

Put things into mental boxes

This one sounds weird and I’m aware I’m beginning to sound like a therapist here so bear with. I do this when I have a lot of little things going on and it can really help. When there’s so many little things stressing you out, it can be easy to just look at the big picture and think, “everything’s fucked”. It can be super hard to differentiate between the problems and what’s actual worth your worry and what isn’t. I go through each little thing, individually (probably during my ’15 minutes of worry time’) and put into a box what at this moment in time, I don’t need to worry about. That doctors appointment next week? Don’t need to worry about that right now. See what I mean?

I hope this post was in any way helpful to you. If you have your own suggestions then I would love to hear what techniques you use in times of stress – however silly or weird they sound!


  1. […] like looking forward to next week, let alone next year! Honestly, not looking ahead too much and focusing on the moment or at the very most, the day is what’s helped me with my anxiety over the last 6 or so years […]

  2. […] the end of the day, we’re going to at some point or another. Break-ups, arguments, illness, stress – you name it. And it’s times like these where we need to do what’s right for us, […]

  3. Kristy Whitaker says:

    Wonderful and practical tips on coping with anxiety. Thanks for the read!

    1. Thanks 🙂

  4. Absolutely LOVE this post. I’m so guilty of spending absolutely ages worrying about things in advance, or of feeling like everything’s a disaster if a couple of small things go wrong. I’ve got to the point now where I don’t let myself panic about situations until the night before haha, as it also leaves me much less time to chicken out and cancel/avoid stressful situations. I love the mental box idea too, I hate the way I can really blow things out of proportion sometimes.
    Beth x

    1. Oh girl I am with you on all of that. It’s so hard to get out of the mindset too xxx

  5. justaninkling says:

    This was such a wonderful post! Thanks so much for sharing it with everyone! I think these tips will really help me!

  6. Setting myself a time limit on worrying is my go-to solution, and getting through one day at a time. If things are really bad, I even go as far as just thinking about the next half an hour, so I don’t overthink what’s going to happen beyond that! xo
    Sian |

    1. Yes! Me too. Thinking about JUST what you’re doing in the next hour or something can help so much xxx

  7. Love this, it’s the getting out of your head that frustrates me at times. I know say stop! Either out loud or in my head. Take a step back mentally from that incessant circle of thoughts and bring myself back to the moment. If it’s in the past there’s no point in rehashing it again now! Thanks again, nice to hear other people’s stories on how they cope too 🙂

    1. I find myself saying stop out loud too! It definitely helps 🙂

  8. Fantastic post! Thanks so much for sharing. I love the idea of putting a time limit on worrying – that’s such a great idea. I often live by the motto of taking one day at a time and not thinking too far into the future because otherwise I get totally overwhelmed.

    1. Living one day at a time has become such a life saving technique for me over the last few years!

  9. Lisa's Notebook says:

    This is such a helpful post, Jenny, so many great tips here. My garden is my go to in times of stress, grubbing around in the dirt and being out in nature really soothes me. But I love your suggestion of giving myself X amount of time to worry about something. That’s definitely something I’m going to try out when the garden isn’t available. Thank you for sharing these tips 🙂

    Lisa |

    1. Glad you found them helpful! I bet gardening is relaxing.

  10. alohalola says:

    I relate so much, and I think like you said, it’s so important to only allow yourself to worry for so long. I have just started walking again and gosh, it’s therapeutic. You sometimes just need some fresh air and a fresh perspective. I always find it comforting to read these kind of MH posts, I feel less alone x x x

    1. Fresh air can definitely have a huge positive impact 🙂

  11. Focusing on today and today only is a massive coping mechanism for me. I am such a worrier and I can’t help but panic about the bigger picture and what life’s going to look like in x amount of years and that makes me so anxious and panic sometimes. So to take it one day at a time is so so important. It’s one my lovely mummy always reminds me of and a massive peice of advice that has changed my life!!

    1. It really is the only way to live sometimes!

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