Although stress can be beneficial in certain situations such as helping us complete a task efficiently, meeting deadlines or excelling in sports, too much stress in our everyday lives can be detrimental to our wellbeing. With the line between work and life becoming increasingly blurred, the idea of a work-life balance in the current always-on culture seems less of a reality than ever before. This, combined with managing finances, health concerns, maintaining some form of social life and adult life are small stress triggers that easily accumulate, taking a toll on us both emotionally and physically in the long-term. Follow the tips below to help manage life’s everyday stresses.
Making time to go outdoors can significantly lower stress. Something as simple as sitting outside in the sun for 5 minutes or walking through your nearest park can help to relax you in a way that a bustling city environment can’t. With too much stimulation at once (social media, emails, people) our brains can feel overwhelmed and constantly on the go, whereas nature helps to capture our attention in a gentle way making us more relaxed.
Get a good night’s sleep
Sleep is fundamental to our health and wellbeing, having a direct impact on our stress levels. It’s easy to feel overcome by your problems when you’re feeling tired, so making the time to have a good night’s rest is one of the most important steps to take when stress busting. Unfortunately, stress can also impact the quality of sleep we get, if you’re struggling to sleep and overthinking at bedtime you may want to consider meditation, breathing exercises or visiting your GP if the problem persists.
Exercise encourages a healthy body and mind, so is a superb stress buster! If you are struggling to understand where exercise would fit into your routine, just remember you don’t have to run miles every day. Something as simple as an after-work swim or going for a couple of brisk 10-minute walks each week can make you think more about your body’s movements and park the problems of that day – the endorphins released during exercise are also a natural mood improver.
Connect with people
Building a strong network of family, friends and colleagues that you feel comfortable and safe to discuss issues with can significantly help decrease stress levels. Without these connections, it’s hard to find somewhere to vent about the day’s stresses, whether that be work, finances or relationships. Having people to share problems with often brings new solutions, self-confidence to deal with said issues as well as just having people to relax with.
Have some ‘me time’
In the modern age, it can be easy to be tuned into work 24/7. With the introduction of smartphones and social media, the always-on culture of today often means we prioritise work over making time for ourselves, but this can have a detrimental effect on stress and general wellbeing. It’s important to make time for yourself – this could be as simple as taking one night a week from your schedule to take part in something you really enjoy; sports, music, film. ‘Me time’ could even count as taking 5 minutes out of your day to enjoy a cuppa.
Listen to music
Listening to music has been proven to reduce stress in many ways both physically and emotionally. Research shows it helps to slow your pulse and heart rate, lower blood pressure and decrease levels of stress hormones. Classical music is tipped to be the most calming of all but if you don’t class yourself as a classical fan, singing along to your all-time favourites can provide a great release of tension.
Helping other people has been proven to reduce stress and increase happiness. Through focussing on the problems of others, it can put your own issues into perspective. It may be hard to fit volunteering into your schedule but even small acts of kindness such as buying a co-worker a coffee, baking a cake for your family or donating small change to charity can help boost your wellbeing and lower stress.
Avoid bad habits
During our most stressful times, it’s easy to turn to alcohol, smoking and caffeine as avoidance mechanisms. However, these will only help you feel good in the short-term and not actually help to solve your problems. Instead, try to implement the tips above, stop thinking about the things you can’t change and focus on the things you can control in a situation.
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