“Everyone has the ability to increase resilience to stress… Training your brain to manage stress won't just affect the quality of your life, but perhaps even the length of it.”
- Amy Morin, Psychotherapist and Author
Are you coping? It’s a question we don’t always stop to ask ourselves among the hustle and bustle of everyday life, but the increase in stress we’re facing across the world shows that we may not be handling things as well as we thought; according to HSE, over the last 2 years stress, depression or anxiety accounted for 44% of all work-related illnesses.
April is Stress Awareness Month, and since this affects everyone in different ways (from tummy issues to premature grey hair to insomnia) we believe that you need your own signature de-stressing ritual, to allow you time to listen to your body and build new habits that work for you.
Let’s dive in with a few proven ways to reduce stress:
Get plenty of sleep
- Exercise to lower your stress hormones
- Spend your free time doing fun and relaxing activities
- Eat and drink healthy (think less caffeine, more vitamins)
- Explore nature and get lots of fresh air
- Find products that help to calm and relax you (our De-Stress Balm is a favourite!)
- Write down what’s causing you stress to let it out
- Meditate, and take deep breaths intense situations
- Prioritise and delegate - remember you don’t need to do everything yourself
- Create the perfect stress-free space at home and at work
How to design your own ritual
Above are the classic go-to methods that people use to feel less stressed, but stress-relief is different for everyone. Here are a few ways you can tune in to your own feelings, identify how your body reacts to stress, and think about ways that will help limit overwhelm.
Identify where your stress lies
One of the first things we recommend is to identify exactly where the stressful moments of your day, week or month occur. You might find that it’s work-related, a family situation, a broken boiler, whatever makes you feel worried, down, anxious, scared or burnt out.
Pinpoint how your stress manifests
Physical symptoms of stress can be anything; lack of sleep, fidgeting, nausea, stomach upsets, migraines, and more. No matter how unrelated it may seem, you would be surprised by how many of your ailments could potentially be due to an overburdened mind. Pinpointing the ways in which your body reacts to stress can help you concentrate your efforts in the right places.
Consider how much sleep you’re getting
It’s no secret that lack of sleep can zap your energy levels, which makes it hard to react well to daily stress. If you are staying up late to finish that big presentation or getting up at 5 am to avoid the morning commute, you may need to consider getting more ZZZs. Check out our latest blogs on sleep (here and here) to read more, and think about how you could improve your sleep to better tackle the stressful things in your waking life.
Exercise, even if only for a few minutes a day
We’ve all heard again and again that exercise helps to manage stress, but it’s about time we actually listened to this advice because one of the best things you can do for a stressed mind is get up and move your body. You don’t need to run a marathon to get sufficient exercise, a simple walk to work could have the stress-relieving effects you need.
Find your own fun
When was the last time you laughed really hard? It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind, but remember life doesn’t have to be all about ticking things off the to-do list. Spend time thinking about the stress-relieving, fun activities you could incorporate into your week that remind you to relax. Whether it’s a Sunday brunch with friends or the craft project you’ve been meaning to start, find something that can lift your spirits on a regular basis.
Take a step back
This may sound like a broad statement, but designing your own de-stress ritual often begins with taking a step back to look at the bigger picture; the space you are in, the schedule you live by and the people who surround you. Does your cluttered home stress you out? Could you delegate any of the tasks on your list to someone else for a change? Is there a friend that’s a calming influence on you, but that you just don’t see enough? Overhaul your life in all areas to find pockets of time, clarity and calm, and work on amplifying them.
Remember that most instances of stress will pass. We often become fixated on problems that will disappear on their own, but learning to manage our own stress and design a ritual that works for our personal situation can have hugely beneficial effects on our mental health.
To learn more about how you can combat stress, and Stress Awareness Month 2019, visit Stress.org.uk