Stress Awareness Month has been held every April, since 1992 to increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic.
According to the Stress Management Society stress is a significant factor in mental health problems including anxiety and depression. It is also linked to physical health problems like heart disease, problems with our immune system, insomnia and digestive problems. Individually we need to understand what is causing us personal stress and learn what steps we can take to reduce it for ourselves and those around us.
We thought we would help spread the word about Stress Awareness Month, and look at their ten step stress solutions to help you get through your day.
Adopt a Positive Mind Set
Positive thinking, or an optimistic attitude, is the practice of focusing on the good in any given situation. It can have a big impact on your physical and mental health. It simply means you approach the good and the bad in life with the expectation that things will go well.
Don’t be a Slave to Tech
Technology is addictive and most of us now have 24 hour access to email, information, games, apps and music, which can make it very difficult to regulate how much time we spend using the technology.
If you use technology for work, try to draw a clear line between your work and personal life. Don’t be afraid to put your phone away for a few hours, or turn your work phone off on your days off.
Eat for Wellbeing
It is really easy to just reach for the comfort food when you are feeling a little low, but reaching for the sweet treats can often just make you feel low. Over indulging in sweet treats can often make you more sluggish, bring on headaches and even that feeling of guilt.
By keeping your fruit bowl full, or making sure you have a selection of readymade healthy options, you will help keep your body feeling energised.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
A good night’s sleep can make all the difference, but often it can take a while to close your eyes and empty your mind. Have you been over indulging on those cups of tea and coffee? Caffeine can really affect your sleep patterns. So try and keep your caffeine intake to a minimum, or swap to decaf varieties.
Make sure you are not spending lots of time on your computer or phone too close to your bedtime, or even watching too much TV. Pick up a book and read for a while, as this can help make those eyes tired (make sure you are sitting in a good light though!). You could also look at having soft music on, or find one of those white noise or relaxation apps on your phone to help you wind down.
Get Moving to Combat Stress
We all need to take a break from our work, so if you start to find you are sitting for hours on end staring at your computer screen, make sure you take regular breaks to get your body moving. Get some fresh air from a gentle walk, light jog or even an exercise app or YouTube channel.
Learn to Say No
We often feel the need to please everyone, but you can say NO if you already have a lot on your plate, or you are feeling overwhelmed by something. Make sure you communicate to your friends, family and work colleagues if you feel they are asking too much from you. You can say no, or even ask for help and share the workload.
Master Your Time
By planning your time, you will find your day becomes more achievable and rewarding. Set yourself some tasks to do that day and allow a set amount of time to do them. Make sure you include some time to get moving and combat that stress. If it is not urgent, do it tomorrow! Focus on the important things and make sure you plan your time to have time for yourself.
Practice Deep Breathing
Take a step away from what is making you feel stressed. This might be by taking a walk, or finding a quiet place to sit for a while. By taking some time to just practice some deep breathing, this can help you feel more relaxed. Taking a deep breath in through your nose, and exhale through your mouth. Sometimes by making a noise as you exhale, this can help you feel the benefit more. Just remember… keep breathing.
Make sure you are drinking plenty. If you need to cut back on the tea and coffee to help you sleep, make sure you are drinking plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. If you think about it, we are over 80% water, so we need water to keep our body functioning properly. Quite often we can get a headache, as we have just not drunk enough so our body is trying to tell us to look after ourselves.
Prioritise Your Health
The most important thing you can do to help with stress, is to prioritise your health. By looking at the nine solutions above, you will start to feel more in control. Make sure you eat well, drink plenty and exercise.
Don’t try to do everything at once, just make one small change at a time. so you can feel the benefits as you make each small change.