Stress is something we all experience in our lives.
Whether it is from school, family, relationships, work or general stress it can all take its toll on our physical and mental health. So, it is really important that we balance stress with time out to focus on our own well-being.
Here are some top tips to help you de-stress and manage stress better.
Take a break
Ever heard the expression ‘You can’t see the wood for the trees’? I often think this is exactly what happens when we are overloaded with stress, we are caught up in the moment and can’t see the bigger picture.
One way to deal with this is to take a break, get away from the task that is clouding your head and change our focus so that you can change your perspective. That way, when you get back to the task, it is viewed afresh and hopefully with more clarity so that you can tackle it better.
Any of the following might be suitable ideas for a break, just enjoy the moment! Listen to music, go for a run, read a book, have a massage, cook a meal, dance, do some gardening, go for a walk, exercise, have a siesta, swim, meet a friend for coffee, meditate…
Stress can affect people in different ways. Mindfulness allows you to tune into your body, its feelings, sensations, thoughts and just have time with them. What effect are they having on you? Not focusing on whether it is good or bad but reflecting on them and seeing if there is a better way to deal with them and help you manage your stress better.
Be a friend to yourself. Be kind. Be supportive.
Talk to someone
You will have been a good friend to many people over the years. When things get too much for you, reach out for support.
This might be to a friend whom you know to be supportive and help you feel that you are not alone. However, you might want to connect with a talk therapist: perhaps cognitive behavioural therapy, counselling or even life coaching, just so that you can offload your concerns in a non-judgemental way. They can help with teaching you some coping strategies as often the multiple stresses do not disappear overnight but learning some ways to manage them can be really beneficial.
Focus on the positive
It sounds very simplistic to say be positive, show gratitude, focus on the good in your life. However, there is a lot of research out there that shows how simple measures to reinforce some of the good things in life can really help reduce stress and improve mood and wellbeing.
Writing in a journal about your day and reflecting on one or two things that have been good helps reinforce the fact that the day has not been full of negative stress.
I used to have a dog and I hated getting up in the morning to fit in an early walk before work. However, seeing the mist rising up from the Common was magical; being the first to walk on a snowy path made me feel like some intrepid explorer; gorgeous spring mornings and noticing the changing light as the sun rose higher in the sky; hearing the chorus of early morning birdsong. All of these were moments I had when life was very stressful, and I would have missed out if I had not taken the time just to be in the moment and enjoy them.
And they were free!
Journaling, or making a note for a gratitude jar, or telling someone about that snapshot of time in your life can all help reinforce the positives.
Don’t let stress take over your life, manage it so that you can enjoy life!