Right now, we are living in potentially the most stressful time we will go through together as one. Alongside worries around COVID-19, your day to day stress and anxiety levels around your job, personal life or health can become overwhelming.
Stress affects us all, some people can thrive on low levels of stress in their daily life whereas some of us may start to notice physical and mental changes due to the strain stress has on our bodies.
Stress produces a feeling of pressure that can begin to take its toll on your physical and mental wellbeing. Some symptoms of your body reacting to unhealthy levels of stress can include:
- A feeling of constant worry
- Difficulty concentrating
- A noticeable change in your mood
- Finding it harder to sleep at night
- Body aches, including muscle tension and headaches
- Unhealthy habits such as smoking and drinking alcohol are used as a coping mechanism
- A low sex drive
Without management, stress can start to become all-consuming, fortunately, there are many techniques you can add into your daily routine to help cope with the pressures of stress.
It’s time to look after yourself and realise you’re doing great!
Keep on moving!
When you’re stressed, it can be easy to just sink into the couch and continue to worry, but getting outside and getting some exercise can massively reduce the pressure that stress puts on your body. Running, cycling or even having a kick-about in the park can release endorphins in your body: mood-boosting chemicals that can help to balance out levels of stress.
Get out there, clear your mind and feel healthy!
It’s good to talk
Stress can sometimes lead us to bottle up all of our emotions, creating a whirlwind of worries in your mind.
During stressful periods, it’s so important that you have a strong support network that you can share your worries with around you.
It really is good to talk, and close friends and family can help you to calm down and see negative situations in a different light. Spending that social time with close ones can take your mind off your troubles and highlight what’s important to us all. Even if you’re not able to visit, a quick phone or video call can really help.
There has never been a more important time for human connection, so if you’re feeling stressed, reach out and you’ll never look back.
Let’s be honest, life can be crazy. It can become impossible to find small pockets of time just for you. In the UK, we work long hours and this can start to build an unhealthy level of stressful pressure in us all.
When you do eventually switch off from the 9-5, it’s really important that you take the time to do the things that you love - whether it’s running, reading or playing video games - you need to take this time to chill out and decompress.
Doing the things you love can help reduce stress, so be good to yourself and make some “you” time.
It may be something that you’ve never tried before, but mindfulness can help you see stressful situations from a different perspective.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation that can improve our awareness of what we are feeling and sensing at that moment, it allows us to relate differently to negative experiences.
Take some time out of your day to sit peacefully without judgement or distractions, paying attention to what you are feeling and thinking calmly about what you can do to improve stressful situations.
The quiet time you take for mindfulness can help make wiser, less emotionally-driven choices.
It may take you out of your usual comfort zone, but try to take some time to practice mindfulness. Regular sessions can lead to us enjoying and appreciating everything around us.
Time to challenge yourself
While we are at work, we can sometimes be so focused on hitting targets and goals that we forget to challenge ourselves outside of the office.
Setting challenges for yourself such as learning a new skill or running your fastest 5k can help to build your confidence and in return, reduce stress.
Reigniting old passions for hobbies you love and improving your abilities can take your mind off negative aspects of your life, refocusing once again on the things that matter.
Cut those bad habits
During stressful times, we can all gravitate towards unhealthy coping mechanisms such as eating junk food, smoking or drinking more than we should.
These unhealthy habits can give us short term mood boosts, but long term can leave us with more problems than we started with.
When your body is going through the pressures of stress, it needs that little bit of extra TLC to keep healthy. Help support it by continuing to keep hydrated by drinking water, exercising regularly and trying your best to get 5 portions of fruit and vegetables each day.
There’s nothing wrong with a glass of wine and a takeaway after a long hard week, just try and keep things in moderation.
Take a tech break
Worries on your mind and scrolling through social media aimlessly on autopilot?
We’ve all been there, but trying to let go of our phone and tablets for a bit each night can allow us to disconnect from stressful situations, try to set time limits and curfews on your tech, especially before bedtime.
Allow one hour before bedtime in which you don’t check your work emails or news online, relax and prepare yourself for a stress-free sleep.
A common symptom of stress is that you might struggle to get a healthy amount of sleep, you may even struggle to doze off altogether.
A lack of sleep can have a knock-on effect on your overall physical and mental wellbeing, reducing your body's ability to recharge and de-stress.
Thankfully there are techniques to help you drift off to the land of nod more peacefully. Some of the advice above such as exercising, eating right and switching off from tech before bedtime can help to prepare your body for sleep and create a more restful sleeping environment.
Dont be so hard on yourself
It’s something we can all be guilty of. We can start to lose perspective and give ourselves a hard time for things that are completely out of our control.
Focusing on things that we can’t control can be overwhelmingly stressful, try to be kind to yourself and concentrate on the things in life that you do have control over.
Reward yourself for the positive things you have accomplished and always keep things in perspective.
And always remember… you’re doing great!
Still struggling with stress or getting a good night's sleep? Check out our stress and sleeping stress aids below.