Written by: Jenny Smith
S-T-R-E-S-S…is something that is unavoidable in the 21st century, but what we do have a bit more control over is how we respond to the signs of it when we spot them.
It can be tempting to turn to alcohol, or sugary foods as a way of stemming the difficult feelings that stress involves. These only offer a very short-term distraction, but in the long term will backfire and leave you feeling worse for wear.
Instead, have a read through the list below and see if there are a couple of strategies that you can employ next time you feel your heart beat increasing, or your throat going dry through rising anxiety levels!
Increasing the level of exercise that you do is a great natural way to flush your body of the excess hormones that it produces when under pressure. An active dynamic exercise like running, cycling, spinning or aerobics will help push everything through your system, tiring you out physically, rather than just being mentally exhausted. Concurrently, it might be a good idea to consider something like yoga or tai chi as a complementary activity, inducing deeper states of calm and relaxation.
Reaching out for support and staying in touch with your friends and families during a stressful time, is also an essential step to get you through the worst times. Extreme stress can bring up very hard feelings, like overwhelm and shame. These types of emotion can convince people to isolate themselves. See if you can consciously connect to three people regularly during a stressful phase, so that you are reminded that you are not alone and that you are cared for.
Time For You
Balanced with connecting with others, is the need to have quality alone time. Even if there are lots of demands on you, make sure that you prioritise bits of time in the week when you can relax alone. Having a hot bath, listening to some beautiful music or cooking a delicious meal for yourself.
Nurturing yourself through nature is another key way to release the feel good hormones, feeding the senses and soothing your soul. Even having a view of somewhere lovely will make a big difference to how you feel, remember to look out at the trees and skies around you.
Finally, take control over what you are telling yourself. Let go of worrying situations that you have no control over. Practice mind over matter, talking positively to yourself each day and reminding yourself of what you have achieved. Think of what you are grateful for, as well as giving yourself time to express any feelings that are building up about the situation you are in.