Make handling stress a piece of cake with these 5 tips

Written by Harriet Garfoot

25 | 05 | 21



Stress affects most of us at one point of our lives. Whether at work or in our personal lives, stress is a natural part of life. However, if stress becomes long term or overwhelming, it can have detrimental effects on your mental and physical health. Here are five ways that you can handle stress in your life.

1. Get regular exercise

Exercise has great physical benefits, such as lowering your risk of health problems such as heart disease, high cholesterol, or heart attacks; but also releases endorphins to benefit your mental health. It can also help you improve your thinking and learning skills, which will help you in the workplace. If exercise isn’t part of your usual routine, set fitness goals to keep you on track or try something new, such as Zumba or Pilates. You can also make everyday activities more active. These include, taking the stairs instead of the lift, walking to your co-worker’s office instead of sending an email to them or incorporating walking into your commute.

2. Try and relax

Relax your body. You will often carry stress in your body, through tension headaches or a tense jaw. You may also find that long periods of either standing or sitting as part of your job give you physical discomfort. Make sure that you stretch your body, paying special attention to your spine and neck as these can become stiff if you are in the same position continuously. Do things that relax your body, such as going for a massage, taking a long bath or shower, or going for a walk. If you suffer with continuous body pain, you can see your GP for treatment who may refer you to a physiotherapist or give you at home treatments to help relieve any pain.

3. Get a good night's sleep

Getting a good night’s sleep is key to functioning well during the day and managing stress. However, stress will often get in the way of you getting good quality sleep. Ways to improve your sleep are to try to go to sleep at the same time every night to encourage a routine. Adults need from six to nine hours of sleep a night, so find the amount of time that works for you and stick to it. Avoid catching up on sleep during the day as this confuses your sleep schedule and can leave you awake during the day. If you are struggling to sleep, you need to try to wind down before sleep. Ways to do this include writing a to-do list for the next day or implementing relaxation exercises, such as deep breathing or going for a walk. It is also important to avoid using electronic devices before bed, as the light will stimulate your brain and stop you from falling asleep. Scientists advise avoiding any electronic devices, such as phones, tablets, or TV, for an hour before bed.

4. Talk to someone

Talking about your problems can be great for solving issues that are giving you stress. It is important to talk to someone that you trust, such as your close friends and family. Make sure that this person will support you and listen to you, without encouraging any bad habits or also discussing negative situations in their life as this is not helpful to either of you. You can also decide to speak to a counsellor if needed. You can do this through your GP or you can refer yourself on the NHS website, which will refer you to your nearest counselling services. Talking about any issues that you might be having can physically relax you by allowing your body to stop holding any tension. As well as this, it can mentally allow you to work through your feelings by putting them into words.

5. Go easy on yourself

We all tend to hold ourselves to a higher standard than others would but putting too much pressure on ourselves can lead to increased stress and burnout. It is important to take a break and practise self-care to relax and reduce any stress from the day. Take time to stop and focus on what you have achieved, from five to ten years ago from now. Be aware of how much you have progressed and appreciate yourself for it.

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