With the weight of the world on your shoulders and the darkness closing in on you, you may have lost all hope. Do not give up. Stress is normal. In fact, 85% of UK adults experience stress regularly.
In this article, we will bring you our top 5 tips for stress management.
1. Identify the sources of stress.
The first and most important tip for stress management is identifying the sources of your stress. It may sound simple. Although it is easy to identify the major stressors, such a house move or job change. It can become hard to dig deeper into the more personal and emotional changes.
Stress journals can help you map out the sources of your stress. Simply put pen to paper every time you begin to feel stressed. Noting down the cause, how you felt, how you acted and what you did to make yourself feel better.
2. The 4 A's of stress management.
- Avoid unnecessary stress: You will experience stressful situations that need to be addressed at some point in your life. However, you'll be surprised how many stressors you can avoid. Learning to say no, avoiding people that stress you out and taking control of your environment are all steps that will help you avoid these.
- Alter the situation: Sometimes, you cannot avoid a stressful situation. If this is the case, try to alter the situation through the way you communicate and operate in your daily life.
- Adapt to the stressor: If the stressor cannot be changed, adapt your expectations and attitude towards the stressor.
- Accept things you can't change: As mentioned, you will encounter stressors that are not avoidable. Acceptance will allow you to cope with the stressors and accept things as they are.
3. Get active
Not everyone enjoys exercising but it has been proven that stress can help with stress relief. Get active doesn't mean you have to spend hours in the gym, all you need to do is spend 30 minutes or more to experience the benefits. Exercise releases endorphins that make you feel good, it can also serve as a distraction from your worries. Check out some of the exercises you can incorporate into your daily routine:
- Take your dog for a walk
- Cycling or walking
- Find a hobby, for example, swimming, football or netball.
4.Maintain a balance with a healthy lifestyle
How you treat your body is very important and can help increase the resistance to stress. If you make these four adjustments you will begin to see the difference.
- Eat a healthy diet: The saying "you are what you eat" is true and can play a major role in how you feel mentally and physically. If you are not giving your body the correct nutrients, your body will start to break down, leaving your body weak and easy to inhabit stress.
- Reduce caffeine and sugar: Caffeine and sugar provide your body with a temporary high which results in your body and mood crashing.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs: Alchohol and drugs may seem like an easy escape from stress, but this relief is only temporary. Avoiding or masking the issues will only push your body deeper into emotional and physical issues. Face your stress head-on with a clear mind.
- Get plenty of sleep: If you are facing your stress when feeling tired, it can lead to you thinking irrationally and making choices you wouldn't usually. Plenty of sleep will fuel your mind and body. The Sleep Foundation state the recommended hours of sleep are:
6 - 13 years: 9 - 11 hours
14 - 17 years: 8 to 10 hours
18 - 25 years: 7 - 9 hours
26 - 64 years: 7 - 9 hours
Older Adults 65+: 7 -8 hours
5. Find a hobby
If you are experiencing stress, it is important that you take time out for yourself. Having a hobby allows you to relax your mind and focus on something else. If you already have a hobby, that is great. If not, here are some of our ideas:
If you have tried the self-help techniques and they aren't working, see your GP.