Being able to manage stress is super important. It can impact all areas of life: your mood, your energy, your health, relationships, and work.
Research shows that 74% of UK adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. It’s important to remember to be kind to yourself and to remember that nobody is perfect.
Taking time for yourself along with stress management techniques can help your mood and wellbeing. Here are 10 approaches you can try today to manage stress:
Connect with others
Social connection is a human need that can impact our mental health, physical health, and longevity. Human connection can help you to feel supported. Arrange a time with family and friends. You can also find communities through work or organised activities, such as sports which can all help to boost your wellbeing.
Limit your device time
If you notice a pattern of experiencing low self-esteem while scrolling through social media or lack of physical activities due to lots of screen time, it may be time to change yours and spend less time on it. Set time aside every day to unplug from your devices.
Life can be so busy. Look at your day and what you can do to slow down. For example:
- Break down big jobs into smaller ones. If you have 100 emails to answer then start with a few.
- Got a meeting or a train to catch? Arrive 10 minutes early and see how you feel without rushing
Make time for you
Take time out and take care of yourself. Christine, Head of Breathe says “I like to book in a shoulder massage once a month to get rid of tension. Swimming regularly is also great for my mental health”.
Connect with your environment
Take time to get fresh air and spend time in green spaces. Go for a walk and aim for at least 20 minutes of daylight. Is there anything in your environment that connects you? This could be other people or listening to music, drawing or writing a journal.
Research shows a link between what we eat and how we feel. Some foods can help us feel better and others not so good. Eating a balanced diet full of vegetables and nutrients – can improve your wellbeing and your mood.
The Eatwell guide on the NHS website has detailed information on how to achieve a healthy, balanced diet.
Exercise has many benefits, not only for your physical health but also for your mental health. When you exercise it releases ‘feel-good chemicals called endorphins helping to improve your mood. Even a short burst of 10 minutes of brisk walking can increase your energy and wellbeing. Even better, it can help towards a better quality of sleep.
Establish a bedtime routine
Sleep and mental health are closely related. A lack of sleep can make people feel physically unwell. Sometimes when feeling anxious or stressed it can be hard to drift off but here are a few things you can try to help yourself sleep well.
- Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that allows you to unwind. This could be listening to calming music or having a bath. Or it might help to go to bed only once you feel ready to sleep, but still, get up around the same time. You can try different things before you find what works for you.
- Create a restful environment. Some people prefer bedrooms that are dark, cool and quiet or some may prefer a night light and background music
- Screen time can stimulate your brain. The blue light emitted from your device screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle. This makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day. You could try setting boundaries such as not using your device 30 minutes before bed or even putting it in another room.
Use relaxation techniques
Some simple techniques can be done at your desk, on the bus or train on the way to work, or on the sofa.
Techniques such as breathing exercises, meditation, yoga or tai chi, all help you to relax and to reduce stress. Relaxing the body frees the mind, and helps you stay clear and focused. They are greatly beneficial and easy to integrate in your routine through regular practice.
Try this introduction to mindfulness
Track your stressors
Use a journal to identify which situations make you feel stressed and how you respond to them.
Consider additional support
Counselling can help people understand their triggers and provide the tools to cope with stress.
Sometimes simple things that people aren’t aware of can be triggers, so it helps them to understand the things, the people or the events that are triggering.
Interested in counselling?
The first step is to book an assessment so that we can pair you with a counsellor best suited to your needs. We want to get it right for you so that you have a good relationship and experience, which will help you to achieve your goals.
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