Stress Management Advice and Self-Care Tips
Everyone has or will suffer some form of stress at some point in their life. It may be related to work, family, illness or even money worries. Recognising the signs of being stressed and putting in place a few simple changes can make a huge difference to how you are affected by it.
The first signs that you are starting to become stressed are often very subtle, it is important to be aware of what these are and act upon them to avoid stress becoming a more serious issue.
Signs that you may be suffering from stress:
- Tense and painful shoulders
- Digestive issues
- No interest in social situations
- High blood pressure
- Unable to enjoy yourself
These indicators should raise our self-awareness that things are not quite right and a trigger for practising some self-care before the effects of stress become more serious.
The Importance of Sleep
One of the first things to suffer when a person is stressed is their sleep, so getting into a routine to allow your body and your mind this important recovery time is essential. Try winding down half an hour or so before going to bed, do not take your phone or computer to bed with you and avoid watching television when in bed. If you exercise, do this 3-4 hours beforehand, so your body has ample time to cool down. Everything seems so much easier to cope with after a good night’s sleep.
It may feel like the very last thing you want to do when you are feeling stressed, but exercise is incredibly effective. Not only can regular exercise help to reduce your blood pressure, it also encourages your brain release endorphins which give you a ‘happy boost’ and make you feel good.
Meditation & Relaxation
Yoga is a great way to reduce stress as it teaches breathing techniques that instantly make you feel better. If the idea of full meditation or Yoga does not appeal to you, consider taking 15 minutes out of your day, just to sit and focus on your breathing. No television, no phones, just relaxing. You will be amazed at how something so simple can have such a big impact!
Eating Well & Regularly
Sometimes, when stress is starting to creep into your life, food becomes less important. Rather than cooking a healthy balanced meal and eating regularly, it is much easier to grab something quick, possibly unhealthy, or maybe even miss meals as you ‘can’t be bothered’. Making sure you eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, avoiding heavy, fatty meals and eating at regular intervals, not only ensures that your body is properly fuelled but you will also have more energy and your mood will be improved too.
Take up a hobby
Do something you enjoy. Whether it is going for a catch-up with friends, a long country walk with the dog or even a night at the cinema. A change of environment and having a few hours away from your normal life and routine, doing something that you enjoy, will put you in a good mood and can have a massive impact on your mental health and well-being.
We hope that this advice helps you to keep your stress levels in check. Don’t keep all your emotions bottled up inside. Share your thoughts and concerns with a friend, family member or even a work colleague. If none of these are appropriate, then many workplaces now have designated staff members who are specially trained to help or who can signpost you to organisations that can support you.
For more information visit International Stress Management Association