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Aannd breathe… our top tips for dealing with stress
Everyone experiences stress in their lives – it’s our body’s natural response to feeling threatened or under pressure. It can be caused by a significant event or situation in your life, or it might be a build-up of smaller things. Whether it’s a pressing work deadline, an argument with a loved one or a mountain of chores, we’ve all been there.
Stress can have a negative effect on both our physical and mental health. It can suppress your immune and digestive systems, increase the risk of a heart attack or stroke, and affect your sleep. It can also lead to anxiety, depression and other mental health problems. While stressful situations are often outside of our control, what we can do is learn how to become more emotionally resilient, so that we’re able to handle whatever life throws at us.
This Stress Awareness Month, here are our top tips on how to deal with stress.
Have some ‘me time’
A lot of us are so focused on caring for others that we forget to care for ourselves, too. Try to dedicate at least a few hours a week to ‘me time’: this could be a relaxing bath, meeting a friend, a home spa or beauty treatment - or anything else that helps you to unwind.
Exercise is a wonderful way to burn off energy and channel your frustrations. It’s better if you’re exercising outside in nature and green spaces - but even a brief walk around the block can help you to clear your mind and collect your thoughts.
When we’re faced with a stressful situation, it can be tempting to turn to the bottle as a coping mechanism. However, alcohol can impair our judgment and lead us to make rash decisions – and adding a hangover into the mix isn’t going to help things, either!
A problem shared…
… is a problem halved. Talking to friends, family or colleagues can help you to gain some perspective, delegate responsibilities and find solutions to your problems.
Write it down
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by tasks, try writing a ‘to-do’ list. This will help you to prioritise what’s most important, and what can wait. Getting it down on paper can also help you to clear your head, particularly if you’re worried you might forget something.
Eat a balanced diet
Stress can often lead us to make poor food choices, with many of us reaching for crisps, chocolate or the takeaway menu at the end of a tough day. However, making healthy food choices will boost our overall health and wellbeing, leaving us better equipped to cope with stress.