Having to juggle work, family, friends and commitments can cause you to feel overwhelmed and stressed. It’s a natural reaction! Everybody feels stressed at one point or another. However, your mental health is as important as your physical health, so you should not ignore it. Dedicating some time for yourself to recharge and relax is essential. Learning how to manage your stress can seem difficult at first, but you can do it! Here are 5 ways to make it easier.
Identify the cause of your stress.
Every problem comes with a solution! Taking control and actively trying to find a solution to what is causing you stress is empowering in itself. If you find certain tasks daunting, try to break them down into smaller steps. List down everything you must do and keep track of your deadlines so that you can set your priorities accordingly. Don’t leave everything last minute! And don’t hesitate to ask for help from your colleagues, friends or family when you need to. If something in your personal life is upsetting you, try to communicate your feelings, either by talking with the people involved, confiding in a trusted friend or family member, or simply writing about it. This can help you put things into perspective and allow you to move on.
Save time for the things you enjoy and the people you like.
Life shouldn’t be all about work! There are so many things for you to discover and enjoy. Remember to make time for your hobbies: be it drawing, painting, singing, dancing, playing an instrument, reading, writing, doing some DIY, or simply watching your favourite TV show. We tend to sacrifice our hobbies when we have a busy schedule, but they are important because they allow you to relax and reconnect with the things that you like. And don’t forget to spend some time with your loved ones: they can help you relax and get through difficult times.
Stay physically active.
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress, as it can boost your mood and make you feel good. This is because it allows your body to release endorphins, which are the chemicals in your brain that relieve pain and stress. It can also reduce the levels of stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline. Not only can you feel these benefits while you are exercising, but they can last for a few hours after your workout. Moreover, exercising can also help you sleep better, making you feel well-rested and ready to get on with the day! You don’t have to become an athlete to benefit from exercise, any physical activity that you do is good for you! It can be anything from a pilates class, a fast-paced walk, a run, a dance lesson, a bike ride… Just do what you like best!
Give relaxation techniques a go.
There’s a relaxation technique for everyone! Deep breathing, for example, can really help relaxing your body: this sends a signal to your brain to calm down, and can ease stress symptoms such as increased heart rate. Breathing exercises are easy to learn and can be used wherever you are to help relieve your stress. Yoga is another popular relaxation method, and focuses on increasing awareness of your body and breathing. Other relaxation techniques include mindfulness, meditation, tai chi, spending time in nature, taking a warm bath… Everyone is different, so find out what works best for you!
Be mindful of what you eat and drink.
When we are stressed, we tend to reach for comfort foods that are rich in added sugar, fat, and salt. Stress can also lead you to snack endlessly, even when you aren’t actually hungry! However, this can lead to overeating and make you feel bloated, tired and irritated. Next time you are stressed and you feel like nibbling on something, try to go for wholefoods and healthy snacks such as a portion of fruits, berries, nuts, a Greek yogurt, etc. Healthy snacks like these will not only satiate your hunger, but also provide you with valuable nutrients. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! Try to steer clear of caffeine and alcohol, which can increase symptoms of anxiety and nervousness. Instead, choose herbal teas, such as chamomile, lavender, or mint, which have relaxing properties, or simply water that you can infuse with fruits and herbs if you want to spice it up. Check out this article to learn more about the ways your diet can affect your mental health.
To sum it up…
Stress is a natural reaction that we all feel from time to time. But it’s not a pleasant one, and it can negatively affect your well-being over time, which is why learning how to manage your stress is essential. Your mental health is as important as your physical health, so remember to take care of it too. Dedicate time to yourself, and try to find what relaxation technique works best for you. Good luck!