We are going through a period of uncertainty, and for many, stress levels will be high. If you’re finding it difficult to cope with stress, you can’t seem to switch off, or you feel uneasy or anxious, there are self-help techniques you can employ to promote relaxation and calm. Here are some steps you can take to adjust your lifestyle.
Managing your time
A lack of time is one of the most significant sources of stress for adults today. Many of us feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day, and days seem to whizz past in a blur. If this scenario sounds familiar, take a step back and think about ways you could manage your time effectively. If you’ve had time off during lockdown, you might have realized that you don’t need to live your life at a hundred miles per hour. If you’ve been working at home, perhaps you’ve developed new techniques or systems that have helped you work smarter. Apply the lessons you’ve learned during this spell and make changes going forward. Schedule time out, make time for family and friends and don’t be afraid to say no. You don’t have to accept every invitation or have plans for every weekend. It’s so crucial to try and find the right balance.
Looking after your body
Stress is not just a mental issue. It also affects your physical health. If you’re stressed out, you might experience trouble sleeping, you may lose or gain weight, your heart rate will increase and the levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, will rise. To combat stress, it’s critical to look after your body and to think about the steps you currently take to try and lower stress levels. There may be changes you can make to benefit your health.
Getting more sleep, modifying your evening routine, eating well, and cutting down on drinking and smoking can all help you tackle stress. Giving up smoking is not an easy thing to do, but if you’re used to buying products like Atomic Blaze glass pipes, perhaps you could explore alternative ways to smoke or to wind down. Many smokers have switched to vaping, and some people find that replacing smoking with something else that helps them to relax can help. Set yourself realistic goals, and work on making changes gradually.
There has also been a connection between sleep deprivation and decreased brain activity, and even, in the long term, dementia.
Professor Shane O’Mara from Trinity College of Dublin explains that toxic substances accumulate in the brain during the day and are removed during sleep. If you do not sleep long enough, your condition “resembles a mild concussion.”
The effect of sleeping too long has been less studied, but it is known that it is also associated with a number of disorders, including impaired brain activity in older people. Our friends from TalkAboutSleep made research and compiled a list of budget mattresses under 500$ to provide you with full 8-hour sleep and keep your mental health stable.
Prioritizing mental health
Most of us tend to put our physical health first, and this means that mental wellbeing takes a backseat. Stress is very common, affecting over 55% of US workers on a daily basis. Putting your mental health first can help to lower the risk of stress and make you feel happier and calmer. There are myriad things you can do to boost mental wellbeing, including exercising frequently, breathing exercises, meditation, massage therapy and aromatherapy, taking time out to enjoy hobbies and interests and spending time with people who make you feel confident and happy.
It’s also important to try and adopt preventative measures. Look out for warning signs and triggers of stress, and try and act early. If work is getting on top of you, for example, don’t be afraid to talk to your boss, to liaise with colleagues to share the workload equally and to take time out. It’s also so important to understand that it’s ok to feel low or to feel like you’re swimming against the tide. There is no shame in reaching out, seeking help, or admitting that you don’t feel your normal self. Talking can help, but not everyone is comfortable opening up to a friend or family member. If you don’t want to chat with somebody you know, speaking to a therapist or calling a charity helpline may help. Some people also find creative activities cathartic. If you have a pad of paper or a blank canvas in front of you, you can express yourself freely and enjoy time to yourself.
Some people have been very busy during lockdown, but for many, it has been a time to slow down, to reflect and to think about what is really important. When life starts to get busy again, don’t lose sight of the value of tranquility and quiet pauses and the benefit of slowing the pace of life to get more out of every day.
Stress is prevalent in our society. While stress can be positive in some situations, it can often be dangerous. If you’re struggling to cope, there are ways to adapt your lifestyle and take steps to protect yourself from falling foul to rising stress levels. Slow down, manage your time effectively, look after your body, and nourish your mind. It may take time to get used to these changes, but even small steps can make all the difference.