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Jobs in social care and health can be rewarding. But they can also be stressful at times. We've put together some ideas for managing your stress levels and avoiding burn-out, whether you’re working in child protection or as a Best Interests Assessor

1. Cut down on the caffeine

Don't forget, caffeine is a drug. It increases your adrenaline level, giving you a temporary energy boost. However, that feeling can be addictive, so you drink more and more coffee and can end up with the 'caffeine jitters'. It also ups your level of cortisone, a hormone related to stress.

2. Get a good night's (or day's) sleep

Sleep deprivation can also up your stress levels. This can be a particular issue for nurses and other healthcare workers on shift patterns. Avoid caffeine and excessive alcohol before you go to bed; both can result in interrupted sleep. The blue light from your smartphone can also give you insomnia, so avoid checking your social media or you may have trouble dropping off.

3. Do some exercise

Physical activity is a well-known stress-buster. It pumps up your endorphines and counters the effect of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. You don't have to play five sets of tennis or run a marathon. Just a swim, a work-out or even a brisk walk will work wonders.

4. Learn some relaxation techniques

There are many tried and tested ways to relax, from deep breathing to yoga. It's a matter of finding which one works best for you. There are some useful relaxation tips here.

5. It's good to talk

Sharing a problem or getting something off your chest can be good for stress relief. Talk things over with a colleague or friend. You'll find it helps you see more clearly and put things in perspective.

6. Be organised

It's easy to have a sense of being overwhelmed by the challenges of the working day, which can lead to increased stress levels. Make a 'to do' list and prioritise the tasks on it. You'll be more productive and feel in control.

7. Be aware

Stress can creep up on you, so you need to be in tune with your emotions, notice any early signs and take action. Everyone gets anxious, angry or upset from time to time. But you need to know when it's more than just 'having a bad day'. Get to know the triggers that make you stressed and be ready with coping strategies, perhaps something like walking around or thinking positive thoughts.

8. Look for positives

Whether you're a nurse, a social worker or a probation officer, it's inevitable that you'll be regularly dealing with emotionally challenging situations. Wherever possible, it's important to try and focus on the rewarding aspects of your work and the difference your contribution makes to people's lives. For every negative outcome, there will be many other positive ones that you can feel good about.

Do you have any helpful tips for coping with your stress levels? If so, why not let us know using the comments box below.
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