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Top tips to deal with stress

 

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What is stress?

Stress happens when we have too much pressure. This can be lots of different pressures all at once (e.g. multiple pressures at home and work) or an event which tips us over from pressure to stress. When we're stressed we don't always think clearly or do the things that will help us feel less stressed.

Stress can make us feel tired, tense and overwhelmed. The combination of physical and emotional reactions to the situation can change our normal behaviour – we are less patient, become snappy or even angry. This is because stress triggers our body into ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode to prepare us to either stay and deal with a threat or run away to safety; adrenaline starts pumping, our heart beats faster and our blood pressure rises.

The problem is that our bodies are not built to maintain the fight, flight or freeze for long. If we don’t do anything to stop this, we increase the risk of damaging our long-term health, so it’s really important that we find ways to get stress levels down and in turn, build our personal resilience.

 

Here are some tips to help you reduce stress and feel more in control:

  1. Take five and breathe
    Practising deep breathing exercises are proven to help when we’re stressed. Simply take a few slow, deep breaths can help you get your heart rate under control and lower your sense of stress. You can also try mindfulness or mediation. If you’re new to meditation, there are many great apps out there like Headspace, Calm & Balance to get you started.

  2. Routine
    Whether you’re still working from home, or back in your workplace, it’s important to have a routine and maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating well, getting enough rest, prioritising sleep and getting some exercise.

  3. Keep connected
    Maintaining healthy relationships with people we trust is important for our mental wellbeing. Whether you go for a walk, chat over the phone or video call – talking to others can help. If stress is making you feel lonely or isolated, shared hobbies can also be a good way to meet new people.

  4. Spend time in nature
    Spending quality time with nature is great for your mental health, it can help reduce stress, balance your mood and help you feel more positive. Being outside not only helps our mental health but also helps boost our immune system as we increase our vitamin D. Find more tips to get outside here.

  5. Tune out
    Get lost in something you enjoy – whether that’s watching a series/film, reading a good book, listening to a podcast/music, DIY or learning something new. Tuning into something else gives your mind a chance to rest and could help distract you from a stressful situation. 

  6. Do something that makes you sweat
    Exercise releases endorphins in your body, giving you a natural high – a brisk walk, running or playing five-a-side with your mates  – any exercise will help. There are plenty of ways to get moving and many of them won’t cost you a penny, as many of us have discovered during lockdown! Find more cheap ways to get fit here.

  7. Focus on the little things
    In tough times it’s important to focus on the little things that make you feel happy. Each day, take time to reflect and pick out the three things you are grateful for that day, this will help you feel in the moment and focus on the positives.

  8. Be kind to yourself
    Life is busy, with many pressures and demands to juggle. Learning, observing and engaging in self-care is a key life skill that helps us stay focused, feel happier and often lends itself to a better work-life balance. Practising good self-care can also help you be the best version of yourself by looking after your body and mind – find out more.

  9. Keep your mind active
    Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles, sudokus, jigsaws or drawing and painting. You can also learn something new. There are lots of YouTube videos or sites like Udemy where you can learn new skills. Find something that works for you.

  10. Be aware of your emotions (feelings)
    Our thoughts influence our feelings and affect how we behave. It’s good to acknowledge that some things are outside our control right now. Make a list of everything that is worrying you. Review the list – try not to worry about what you can’t change but put your efforts into what you can control or change.

If you’re struggling, get in touch. Call us on 08081 311 333 or chat with us online. You don’t have to do this alone - we've got your back.

And, if you're feeling stressed or worried about the rising cost of living, try our top tips to help reduce your monthly bills. Money worries are one of the biggest reasons why people ask us for help - we're here if and when you need us.

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