Our past two blogs have explored;
Now we share some tips for managing your stress.
MANAGE YOUR STRESS
There are times when stress is unavoidable. Having some go-to tools to help calm the frantic mind or over-whelming feeling is a key technique in managing our stress.
Relax and recharge – this will look different for everyone. Taking sometime out for yourself to regroup and recharge is essential for both preventing and managing stress. Some examples to try:
Listen to some of your favourite music.
Meditation – there are some great apps to help guide you and only take 5-10 mins a session.
Go for a walk, without your phone.
Sit quietly and take ten deep, full breaths – feeling the expansion of your chest as you breathe in, and the fall as you breathe out.
Have a bath.
Have a massage.
Read a book.
Exercise – this is one of the best methods for managing stress. It can relieve both the physical and emotional effects of stress. Some examples to try:
Consider fitness choices that also deliver specific stress-reducing effects like yoga, tai chi, Pilates or one of the martial arts.
Choose an activity you enjoy, which is fun. What did you enjoy doing as a child is a great place to start if you have no idea. Trying to do an activity you don’t enjoy will only add to your stress and you are unlikely to stick to it.
Talk – keeping your worries and concerns bottled up will only increase your stress. If something's bothering you, don't keep it to yourself.
Talk to people you trust, like friends, family, or co-workers, about what's on your mind. Even if you're not looking for specific advice, it usually feels good just to get your feelings out into the open and know you are not alone.
If you are uncomfortable talking, try writing your worries and concerns down. The act of getting them out of your head and on to paper can be enough to give perspective and provide some calm.
There are qualified professionals you can speak to if you would like someone independent. Your work place may offer some confidential services you can access.
Eat a balanced diet – when we’re overwhelmed we often forget to eat well. We can resort to using high-fat, high-sugar foods as a pick-me-up, or engage in emotional eating as a temporary sense of relief. However this will only add to your long-term stress. Large spikes and falls in your blood sugar levels will add to your stress and anxiety.
Avoid sugary snacks by planning ahead. Have a piece of fruit or some nuts on hand if you know you are likely to feel hungry.
Ensure you have a good portion of lean protein in your day – for example eggs, chicken, fish or tofu.
Add a portion of vegetables or a salad to lunch or dinner. Especially if you are having a takeout meal.
Try to minimise stimulants such as caffeine, alcohol and nicotine. These only add to your stress overall, even though it may feel like an immediate relief.
Sleep – stress can and will cause you to lose sleep. Unfortunately, lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes the brain and body to get out of sync which escalates over time. Whilst eight hours is the recommended, any additional sleep you can get will have an impact – even if it’s just an extra 30 minutes. You can build to the full eight hours over time. Addressing sleep issues directly is key. Some examples include:
Setting and sticking to a regular bed and wake time, even at the weekend.
Turn off screens 30-60 minutes before bed.
Ensure your bedroom is cool.
Dim the lights in the evening to help wind down.
Read a calm, undemanding book before bed.
Avoid stimulants like caffeine, alcohol and nicotine.
Stress does affect us all. It is an unavoidable condition of every day life. Even just implementing one of the above suggestions, may just give you enough relief to help you manage your stress better than you have been.