Modern life is hectic and overwhelming and too often we let the stresses of our lives build up until it makes
April is National Stress Awareness
The impact of stress is far from small or rare, according to the British Safety Council:
Work-related stress, depression and anxiety account for 40% of all work-related ill-health cases and 49% of working days lost throughout the year.
Below are some suggestions of easy and practical ways to unwind
1) Identify what causes you stress
The first step towards overcoming the stresses in our lives is working out what triggers them. This is all very personal to each person and what causes stress for one person could be another person’s cup of tea. It is generally accepted that everyday stressors fall into one of these 10 categories:
These categories can be used to break down and understand what causes you the most stress. Once you establish this you can combat the overwhelming nature of these stressors by compartmentalise them. This can be an incredibly helpful way of figuring out how to move forward and what needs to be done for you to have a happier and ultimately, healthier existence.
2) Breathing exercises and techniques
It seems a little cliche and simple to say ‘just breathe’ but truthfully, breathing is a useful way of calming yourself down. There are several different types of techniques and exercises you can try which should help restore calmness when things begin to feel
3) Let your imagination run wild
Picture a scenario or moment that makes you feel happy and at peace. This may be you accomplishing a goal in the future or just a tranquil paradise of your choosing and escape with it.
This doesn’t work for everyone and some people may feel this exercise is counterproductive since it delays the time you have to make these goals happen. So instead, psychologist, Gabriele Oettingen, came up with WOOP:
Envision your dream, figure out the main obstacles and plan a way forward. Relaxing and productive!
5) Eat something
This doesn’t mean binge-eat lots of bad food but instead, pick something that offers some type of nutrition and then go sit in an environment that doesn’t stress you out to enjoy it. Take some time to savour the taste, enjoy the flavours and feel the food having a positive impact on your energy level.
6) Add more greenery to your indoors
Plants are scientifically proven to help us relax so fill the house and office with them! Too much of our day is spent indoors and it’s important to feel close to nature. It might sound
7) Step away from the screen
Put the phone down, turn off the computer, switch the TV off. You must have seen this one coming but it is right, we all spend far too much time on our gadgets and gizmos! Although technology is an asset in many ways, there is a lot of concern over what impact it is having on our mental well-being. Read more on digital wellness here.
8) Watch some comedy and have a good laugh
Laughter is the best medicine after all. It is true, sometimes we all just need a good break from the norm and a reminder that we’re here to have a little fun! If you have any stand-up venues nearby then go check it out, being in a room full of laughter is infectious and can do wonders for your stress levels. If not then hey, turn the TV back on and put a comedy special or your favourite funny film on – whatever you need to crack a little laugh.
9) On that note, go socialise
What are friends for if not to give you a good laugh? Forget the choir list as long as your arm and go enjoy yourself with some good company. Try a new activity, visit your favourite pub, go camping, whatever you fancy!
11) Hug, kiss or be intimate with someone
Several studies have found that intimacy in whatever form you feel comfortable with, can have a really calming and positive effect on us. Positive physical contact can combat stress symptoms by releasing oxytocin, lowing cortisol and lowing blood pressure and heart rate. So go and share some affection with your loved ones, it’s for our health after all!
12) Do some exercise
Yoga, pilates, jogging, swimming – pick your poison! It’s important to get out of your headspace when feeling overwhelmed and stressed which is exactly what happens when you exercise. Moving your body is a fantastic way of changing your focus from your mind to your physical capabilities and ultimately it serves as an excellent reminder that we’re all just human and we all need a break sometimes!