Stress can affect us all in different ways. It can affect our mental, emotional and even our physical wellbeing. It even affects how we behave and react to things. Stress isn’t all bad, we all deal with some form of stress in our lifetime, some on a day-to-day basis in our everyday lives, whether it be financial, family, work or even due to health stress. Learning how to cope and deal with the stress is key!
We all get so caught up in work deadlines, our hectic lifestyles, home/work-life balance that we forget to take five minutes to relax, have a hot cup of coffee, breath or even get some air. Stepping away for just five minutes could make all the difference to our stress levels. However if we stay in a state of high stress levels it can be damaging to our health.
Even life events such as having a baby, buying a house or even planning a wedding can lead to feelings of stress.
Signs of stress:
- Muscle pain/tension
- Stomach pain
- Chest pain/faster heartbeat
- Struggling to make a decision
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Constantly worrying
- Being irritable
- Sleeping more/less
- Eating more/less
- Avoiding people or places
Stress is sadly something we are unable to avoid, but we can learn how best to manage it. When at work try and schedule in five minutes to de-stress throughout the day, get some fresh air, call a friend or loved one, enjoy a hot drink and something quick to eat. Have five minutes to yourself, have a breather and relax the best way that suits you. When at home it is really important to still take time out to relax too.
I have had an awful couple of months lately, and have really been suffering with stress, anxiety and depression. Here are a few things I have found to help me manage and get through, alongside professional support.
Enjoy a relaxing bath
There is a certain kind of magic to bathing. Sinking into a nice warm bath helps you to relax and unwind, amongest many health benefits. A nice warm bath can be a way to indulge in spa-like bliss at home, surrounded by a few of your favorite things. Whether they may be a book or magazine, bath-bomb, candles, soft relaxing music or even a nice cool glass of wine or beer. Having a nice warm bath is a great way to help improve our health, such as help with a better nights sleep, helps to relax achy muscles, relieve tension, pain and inflammation. Taking a nice long soothing bath can be the perfect antidote to a stressful day. Closing that bathroom door and taking some much deserved me-time provides us with the chance to get away from things for a while and relax.
Everyone is creative in their own way, having a hobby is a great way to spend any spare time you may have. It is a great way to help you unwind from a stressful day you may have had, or even unwind from your daily routines. Spending time doing something you really enjoy can help improve your health and wellbeing massively. My personal favourite is sewing. Whether it be something outdoors, artistic, musical, learning a new skill or even just sitting quietly and reading, all will benefit your health as it is time out for you, doing something you love and enjoy. I am a great believer that those with a hobby are a lot less likely to suffer from stress, low mood and depression. Having a hobby or activity you enjoy will help to relax you, help you to feel happier and much more relaxed.
Demanding schedules and a busy home life leave many of people feeling trapped inside. Our busy lives can make it difficult to get outside and enjoy breathing in some fresh air from time-to-time. However the benefits of fresh air are endless. Spending time outdoors is one of the fastest ways to lift people’s moods and improve health and happiness. Being outdoors helps to lower stress levels, blood pressure, and even heart rate. Being outdoors also helps to keep your vitamin D levels up and also allowing our serotonin levels to increase. Being outdoors breathing in some fresh air will also help to clear our mind and lungs. Being outdoors can really benefit our physical and mental health. Trying to add half an hour into our daily routines can really benefit our wellbeing. Perhaps an after dinner stroll, taking the dog for a walk or even a lunchtime walk can make all the difference.
Interacting with loved ones, whether it be friends or family really does help. It helps to create emotional support to help you overcome life challenges. The best way to stay focused, and if needed then help to get back on track is by reaching out to loved ones. Our friends and family are our safe haven and people we can rely on at all times, helping us to feel at ease, even in the most stressful of situations. Speaking with loved ones can help ease our stress levels and help ease the pressure off of ourselves. Allowing us to have a much healthier coping mechanism for stress with the help and support if needed.
Have you ever tried meditation? I haven’t as yet, but it is something I am looking into trying and possibly adding into my daily routines. It is said to be one of the most popular ways to relieve stress. It is said that by calming your body and mind, your physical and emotional stress can melt away, leaving you feeling better, refreshed and ready to face the day with a much healthier attitude. For anyone not knowing what meditation entails it involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind. Making sure you are not distracted for at least twenty minutes, find a comfortable position, close your eyes and focus within. Try to focus your attention on your breathing by counting your breaths, or there are meditation soundtracks you can listen to. Meditation is free, always available and very effective in short-term stress reduction and long term health.
Many people think that exercise only has an impact on your body, when infact it has a very positive impact on your mental wellbeing too. It is said that those who are physically active are much more less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression than those who are not. This is said to be true because exercise causes particular chemicals to be released called endorphins, which are known to positively alter your mood. Exercising helps to relieve any feelings of anger, helps promote better sleep and also helps to relieve any tension you may have.
While stress is the body’s natural response to protecting itself, chronic stress or anxiety can have many long-term effects, including poor sleep or even sleepless nights. You dont have to wait until its lights out to start winding down, if you are struggling with sleeping. Try changing up your evening routine to see if it helps. Set the mood lighting down a little earlier, have a relaxing bath, try aromatherapy, listen to relaxing music or even try mindful colouring. A bedtime routine is a great way to start training your brain to trigger the process of going to sleep.
Stress unfortunately is an inevitable part of life, and it is impossible to take away all the stress and anxiety we may feel on a day-to-day basis. Taking time out for yourself to have a massage can massively help. Having a massage is a great way to seek relief from stress as it helps you to relax and de-stress. It helps to reduce your stress hormone and increase your serotonin and dopamine levels. Along with rebalancing your hormones a massage also releases muscle tension. When stressed your muscles tighten in response and can become painful. A massage can help offer stress relief and aid relaxation.
Writing is said to be a medicine for the brain. Whenever you are feeling mentally or emotionally exhausted try writing down what is bothering you. This will help you structure your thoughts and hopefully bring you some peace to your mind. Writing down our thoughts and feelings can help us become more aware/self-aware and also help us detect any sneaky/unhealthy patterns in our thoughts and feelings. This then allows us to be in/take more control over our lives and put things in more perspective. Furthermore it can help us to shift from a negative mindset to a much more positive one.
Chronic stress can be hard on our bodies and can also contribute to anxiety and depression. Finding healthy ways to help us all cope and take care of our minds and bodies is very important. Working out in the garden can help reduce cortisol levels – this is a chemical our bodies produces in response to stress. You dont even have to be working in the garden, just sitting out there helps too. Sow some seeds, pull some weeds or even give the garden a water. it all helps to take our minds off things for a while and before you know it time has flown by. Gardening can reverse the effects of stress, these benefits include better health, exercise, nutrition from homegrown vegetables if you grow them, improved mood from exposure to vitamin D in the sunlight and an improved focus and increased creativity. Getting dirt under our nails isn’t half as bad as we thought.
It is not always easy to recognise that stress is the reason why you could be acting, feeling or even behaving differently. If you are experiencing any unusual behavior then please do seek medical help or advice. You may find it hard to explain how you are feeling but talking about how you’re feeling really does help.
Always remember you are not alone.
Please do take care.