When I'm stressed I get very agitated and unable to sit still, a period that is almost always followed by an exhausted daze where I can't do anything and start weeping at little or no provocation. The coping methods I use depend on how the stress is affecting me.When feeling agitated/angry:
Go for a moderately long walk, preferably somewhere quiet and remote. I usually head for the river as I love watching the ripples. I try not to walk further than five miles out (a long walk to me is about fifteen to twenty miles) as I know that the horrible tiredness might come on, and I don't want to be so far away from home that I have to get a bus back. Buses are not good for your stress levels. They should be shot.
Go to the gym or for a swim. This might not work so well if you need one-to-one support in the gym or the pool, as I find having someone to coach you is anxiety-provoking in its own right. There are four machines in the gym that I can use without help from the staff, so I stick to those.
Do physically challenging housework.When anxious or upset:
Snuggle up in bed under a heavy duvet (pressure can be comforting) and request not to be disturbed until you are ready to come out again.
Cuddle a cat. Fortunately I have a very placid elderly cat who is more than willing to be manhandled if I need him. He let me cry all over his fur this morning, and he purred throughout. Few cats would let you do that. We need to make him available on the NHS.
Talk to a friend if you have one or make a post on DT.
At this stage making a logical plan to reduce the stress sometimes helps, providing that the unhappiness outweighs the anxiety. It is very difficult to plan coherently when you are anxious. If I try to make such a plan by myself I get overwhelmed before I've even begun, so I do it with someone else. It also helps if someone is able to take responsibility for a few of the tasks that are worrying you - if I'm panicky because I have a lot of housework to do in addition to my job, for example, I might agree with pinkparrot that she will make things less daunting by doing the washing-up.When exhausted
Bed. But not necessarily at once. If you are burnt out you will want to sleep all the time, and ironically this might make you feel even more lethargic. Try and get into a regular sleep pattern, going to bed early and keeping your alarm clock switched off if you can help it. Don't tax yourself too much during the day. Do the things that you find least stressful, and ask for help with the things that you can't manage.
It's at this stage that I tend to feel tearful and guilty. When I'm lying on my bed I get upset about all the things that I think I should have done, but haven't (many of them dating back several years), all the people I have let down over that time, and all the ways in which I am generally a useless person. At times like this I feel too keyed up to pray in my usual way, so I text a good friend to ask him to pray a rosary for me. I take a simple verse from the Bible (usually one of Jesus' sayings) and repeat it quietly to myself until I'm calmer. If you are not religious, it might help to have a friend or family member in the room to help you fend off any nasty thoughts about yourself.
Ideally, you should try and deal with stress before you get to the exhausted stage, but that's not always possible. I sometimes struggle to notice I'm getting stressed until I'm curled up under my quilt like a frozen shrimp. Danni's warning, "Vicky, you're doing too much!" is usually a clue that I'm about to hit the floor and possibly concuss myself, so now I try to slow down whenever she says that. I'm getting better at recognising my own warning signs, too. It's important to know what those are.