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We all respond differently to pressure or demands that we find difficult to cope with, or situations that we don’t have much control over.

When we say we are stressed, feeling stressed or that a situation is stressful, this might be because we are finding it difficult to cope with the pressure or demands placed on us. There might one thing causing us to feel stressed, or a build-up of smaller things, which might be happening in our personal and/or professional life.

We can feel stressed in times of uncertainty; when we do not have much, or any, control over a situation; feel overwhelmed by our responsibilities; or are under lots of pressure.

Signs of stress

We will all feel differently when stressed and it can affect us both physically and emotionally. You might:



  • a sense of dread
  • worried
  • irritable
  • inpatient
  • aggressive
  • unable to switch off
  • like your thoughts are racing
  • muscle tension
  • headaches,
  • chest pains
  • indigestion or heartburn
  • constipation or diarrhoea
  • shallow breathing, hyperventilating or panic attacks
  • constant tiredness
  • problems sleeping and constant tiredness

Feeling stressed can affect the way we behave and might cause us to:

  • be tearful and cry
  • constantly worry
  • be restless
  • eat too much or too little
  • find it hard to concentrate or make decision
  • smoke or drink alcohol more than usual

Standards of conduct, performance and ethics:

Manage your health
You must make changes to how you practise, or stope practising, if your physical or mental health may affect your performance or judgement, or put others at risk for any other reason.

Managing stress

Building resilience can help us cope better, as well as developing our skills for managing external pressures. Mind provides some helpful tips:

Take time, on your own or with others, to reflect on events and feelings that could be contributing to your stress, explore whether these are:

Regularly occurring issues that causes worry

One-off events

Ongoing stress events

Reflect also on what you are copying with.

Try to address some of the causes, including seeking support and help from others.

Accepting that there are some things that we probably can’t do anything about will help us to focus our time and energy on those things that we can change.

For more information, visit Mind, How to manage stress

Don’t be too hard on yourself

We all have a bad day and need to keep things in perspective.

The NHS provides us with 10 stress busters, which include:

  • Take control – the act of taking control is empowering
  • Connect with people – talking things through with friends or family, or having some time out and laughs with them
  • Have some ‘me time’ – take a little time out to do the things you enjoy
  • Try to be positive – look for the positives and at the end of each day try to identify three things that went well

The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking alcohol.

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting on us all and the usual tools and advice for managing mental health may feel unrealistic at the moment.

If you need help or support, please tell someone

Page updated on: 23/04/2020