Tips for Combatting Stress
April is Stress Awareness Month, and whilst we’re probably all too aware of what stress feels like, not many of us will be aware of what stress actually means? Life is busy and fast paced, we’re under an increasing amount of pressure to work harder, do better, earn more and be more successful!
Stress effects everyone differently and long term chronic stress has countless effects on both the mind and body. Physically it can cause the shakes, a rise in blood pressure, make you sweat, cause digestive problems and generally make you feel unwell. And on your mental health, stress can be crippling, causing depression, insomnia and social anxiety.
And so we have shared our top 5 tips for reducing stress in your day to day life:
Don’t stop talking
Sometimes simply sharing the load can help immensely. Talk to those closest to you and write down your anxieties. If it has gotten really bad, don’t be afraid to seek help from a healthcare professional or charities such as No Stress and Mind. Don’t bottle it up or think there is no point in dealing with it. Not facing it head on can lead to more severe anxiety and depression.
Download a stress busting app
There are a number of tried and tested apps which can help with managing the pressures of day to day life. The NHS recommends a number of apps which use music, mood diaries, online courses, online communities and training, to help you manage the build up of emotions. Check them out here: https://apps.beta.nhs.uk/?category=Mental%20Health
Exercise and eat well!
Physical activity produces endorphins, chemicals in the brain which act as natural painkillers. These reduce fatigue, improve sleep patterns and increase concentration which will all help when you’re looking to relieve pent up tension. Likewise, eating a healthy diet and minimising sugar, caffeine and alcohol can all help your mood. ‘Feel good food and drinks’ may make you feel great for the minutes after, but will quickly have the opposite effect and lead to a crash in mood and energy.
The workplace is the biggest cause of stress. It sounds obvious, but prioritising what needs to be done and for when will pay dividends, so that instead of trying to deal with everything at once, you’re planning your workload and deciding what needs to be done in the here and now. Take regular breaks, even if it is only 5 minutes to make a drink and stand outside for some fresh air. Those 5 minutes out won’t interrupt your work negatively, but will in fact do the complete opposite, giving you some headspace and time to breath.
Research has shown that lack of sleep and stress can cause a vicious cycle that’s hard to escape. Extreme tiredness can heighten how you perceive the stressfulness of your life events and thus influence your stress levels. Making sleep a high priority and improving your sleep patterns will make life seem even a little bit less overwhelming and keep things in a more manageable perspective.