Hands up if you’ve ever felt stressed? I know I have and I know how frustrating it can be. Stress can have a damaging effect on the body and mind, particularly if it is unrelenting. While mild or even moderate levels of stress are to be expected throughout our lives, chronic, long-term stress can be disastrous for your wellbeing so it’s important to work out how to de-stress yourself. I certainly felt the effects of this towards the end of last year when I fell poorly for months. My lips would even swell dramatically and painfully; the doctor is unsure whether it is stress related or an allergic reaction so I’ve been referred to Immunology but I’ve been putting things into practice to reduce my stress levels and so far, my lips haven’t swelled since the 3rd January. I realised that I needed a proper break and so I took one over the Christmas period and went away without my phone. I returned refreshed and ready to tackle life head on. I have taken things really slowly to ease myself into the new year and I’m trusting that everything is going to work out
As well as minimising the stress you’re exposed to, it’s important to find ways to hone your coping techniques. By finding healthy ways to manage stress, you can limit the impact it has on your health. To get started now, take a look at these top tips for de-stressing…
BREAK UP YOUR TASKS
I felt as though I couldn’t cope and because I was so stressed with various things, I ended up being really unproductive and couldn’t get anything done because I was trying to
SPEND TIME WITH FRIENDS
When you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, socialising can feel like the last thing you want to do. However, spending downtime with friends or family can be exactly what you need. When you’re socialising with people you like, your body goes through a process of relaxation. As your body releases tension, it has a direct impact on your state of mind. With the potential to reduce the physical and emotional effects of stress, this is a sure-fire way to create a better state of mind.
Activities like mindfulness, yoga and meditation are well-known stress relievers. When you’re frazzled, your mind flits from one thing to another. You might feel unable to concentrate, have problems with your short-term memory or struggle to complete straightforward tasks. By calming your mind and letting go of unwanted thoughts, you can recentre yourself and let go off unnecessary stress.
GET SOME SLEEP
Sleep and stress often go hand-in-hand, although it isn’t always clear what comes first. High stress levels could make it difficult to get enough sleep, but poor sleep quality can cause stress to increase too. If you want to de-stress, make it your priority to improve your sleep in the New Year. Adults should aim for around 8 hours every night, although this varies from person to person. With a new sleep regime, you’ll be better able to cope with what life throws at you.
Stress has a physical effect on our bodies, so it’s important to counteract this with plenty of exercise. Whether it’s hitting the gym, attending a dance class or even going for a brisk walk, you can fight the effects of stress by being more active. As well as lowering your blood pressure and promoting cardiovascular health, exercise releases endorphins. Known as ‘feel-good’ hormones, endorphins boost your mood and help you leave your worries behind.
If stress leaves you feeling fed-up, miserable or downright blue, you’ll be amazed at what laughing can do for you. When you laugh, you take in more oxygen-rich air which improves organ function. In addition, laughing triggers your stress response and then cools it down. This relieves tension and promotes a feeling of calmness, which is exactly what you want when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
MINIMISE YOUR STRESS LEVELS
Stress can be a major contributor to physical and mental health issues but there are many natural ways to minimise the impact it has on you. By taking a proactive approach to stress management, you can use a variety of natural techniques to reduce your stress levels and enhance your health.
What do you do to destress?