Stress Management Advice For Crucial Times
Feeling overwhelmed and stressed?
It’s more common than you might think! We all feel stressed from time to time but it’s important to reduce stress to prevent long-term health impacts.
Stress itself is a survival mechanism - you may have heard of the fight or flight response, which essentially is your body’s stress response to keeping us safe. We all experience this whether our heart beats quicker, we start sweating more than usual or our muscles feel tense. This process just allows our body to react accordingly.
However, chronic stress over a long period of time has been linked to some health concerns such as damage to arteries and blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure, increasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. It can also lead to changes in the brain which may further lead to anxiety or depression. Chronic stress may also lead to reduced sleep and cause us to ‘stress eat’ which could, over time, contribute to obesity.
This is why it’s so important that we try and reduce stressful situations as much as possible. To do this it's important to find something that relaxes you. As life can get extremely busy, it’s so easy to forget but it’s so important to find that time in each day for yourself. Everyone is different but here are some ideas:
- Listening to music
- Having a bath
- Going for a walk
- Lying down and focusing on your breathe
Sometimes all we need is just 5 minutes before going to bed or when we wake up to do one of these things to calm the mind and body and it can have such an impact in the long term.
As well as finding something that helps you to relax, there are 3 principles I want you to focus on: Activity, Nutrition and Sleep.
1. Activity - We understand that many of us are now working from home, which makes increasing activity even more important. Try to get up at least 2 times an hour to stretch your legs and move around. Whether this is a quick walk at lunch to get some fresh air or having a dozen cups of tea throughout the day.This will help to relieve muscle tension and induce calm.
2. Nutrition - To help support a healthy functioning immune system, giving your body the tools it needs to strengthen its ability to fight, has never been more important. Focus on a well-balanced diet with frequent meals, plenty of fruits and vegetables, wholegrains, plant-based foods, healthy fats and plenty of water throughout the day. Healthy snacks are also key!
3. Sleep - it’s so important that we get adequate sleep for long-term health benefits (between 7-9 hours a night). Try turning off all the stressful elements in your life, be it your television, phone or computer, and focus on something that makes you relax for an hour before going to bed. This massively helps your mind calm before rest, and will improve the quality of sleep as well.
Following these tips can help you handle the current situation better, and help you cope with the restrictions and confusing times ahead. Stay safe, and take care of yourself.