It’s quite normal for us to feel stressed from time to time. However, stress is not a pleasant feeling no matter how normal it is.
The easiest way to relieve stress is to remove yourself from the situation that is stressing you, although that is not always possible (e.g. exams or busy periods of the year).
Fortunately, there are a number of strategies you can use to alleviate the impact stress has. Here are our top tips:
Take care of your health
Living a healthy lifestyle can help reduce overall stress, and make you more resilient to cope with major stressful events. So ensure your diet is full of fresh fruit and veggies, lean protein and wholegrains, get seven to eight hours sleep each night, and exercise regularly.
Focus on what’s important
In times of stress, you can easily become overwhelmed by ‘everything’. Instead of trying to do ‘everything’, focus on what is important. For example, if studying for exams is important, then focus on that instead of worrying about when you will get time to do the washing. When time is a premium, consider out-sourcing tasks (e.g. the mowing, housework, etc.).
Breathe and relax
It sounds simple but it really works. Stop for a few minutes and breathe deeply for five to 10 breaths. While you’re at it, tense all your muscles as much as you can and then slowly relax them. Focus on all the muscles from your head to your toes. Other activities that may help you relax include aromatherapy, meditation and massage.
Take 5, or 10, or 15
If the source of your stress is getting something done within a certain time-frame, it’s easy to feel like you should ‘keep going’. However, taking a little time out can help you refocus and recharge, hence making you more productive. Try making a cup of tea, laying on the grass, or simply getting some fresh air.
While it’s not always possible to eliminate stress, it is important to remove yourself from it, if only for a little while. Some ideas on how to escape from stress include watching a movie, reading a book, listening to some music, catching up with a friend, going for a walk, going out for a coffee or even taking a drive somewhere you’ve never been before.
At times, stress can get the better of us and can lead to:
- Headaches and fatigue
- Digestive problems
- Sleeping difficulties
- Becoming easily angry or upset
- Neck and back tension
- Increased use of alcohol, nicotine, drugs and overeating.
Chronic stress can lead to, or aggravate existing conditions such as heart disease, digestive problems, sleep disorders, depression, obesity, autoimmune diseases and skin conditions such as eczema. If you have having trouble dealing with stress in your life, visit your doctor or counsellor.
Don’t let stress get you down. Try some of these tips to get you feeling in control again.