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  • Writer's pictureRebecca Armstrong

Time for Less Stress


Do you ever feel stressed? I certainly do. From juggling childcare and a busy work life to trying to maintain positive relationships with family and friends, stress can have a huge impact not only upon our physical health but also upon our mood too.

 

Amazingly, stress can sometimes be a positive thing motivating us to try our best in our studies and our work life but more often than not stress can be overwhelming causing the body’s defence system – known also as the “fight or flight” response to kick in releasing the stress hormones Cortisol and Adrenaline.

 

When we feel stressed, we struggle with concentration, become very focused on the things that could possibly go wrong and find ourselves thinking more about the ‘what if’s’ in life rather than the facts. As humans we are creative and imaginative beings, but this can be detrimental where stress is concerned leading us into imagining terrible situations, struggling to stop ourselves from catastrophising and stopping us from dealing with uncertainty.

 

We all suffer from stress from time to time, but frequent stress can cause the body to be in a heightened state most of the time which can lead to a range of physical issues from sleep difficulties, digestive issues and tension headaches.

 

If any of the above sounds familiar then you may be suffering from stress, and so….

 

How do we manage stress?

Stress is extremely common in our fast-paced modern society where it feels like you need to be a superhero to manage the multitude of problems and tasks thrown at us every single day. This is all whilst still managing to grab a cold coffee with a baby on your hip at the same time as sending an email and cooking the evening meal!

 

But don’t worry, help is at hand!

Below I have listed my top five stress management tips to help you reduce the chaos and become more aware of the stressors impacting your everyday life.

 

 

Tip 1 – Raise your awareness.


The first step to managing stress is raising our awareness of it, which is what April 2024 is all about – ‘Stress Awareness Month’. Try taking a moment to take account of just how much you are doing on a daily basis and how much energy that requires from our body, mind and emotions.

When we bring our awareness to the impact of stress upon our wellbeing, we can empower ourselves to stop the stress cycle in its tracks. Once we have done this, prioritising our tasks can be a game changer. Asking ourselves what is a priority right now and what can wait until later can be really helpful and stop us from feeling overwhelmed.



Tip 2 – Allow yourself some breathing space.


Life is busy and can feel like were juggling a million things at once and when these tasks build up, they really can snowball!

To stop the snowball effect sometimes we just need to take some time out for ourselves. This can be done by simply but regularly taking a small break from the multitude of tasks we have to do – even if this is just for a few minutes.

Use this mini break to grab a coffee, take five minutes to mindfully watch the birds through the window, read a few pages of a favourite magazine, book, or engage in five minutes of mindful meditation.

A few minutes each day won’t always give us the stress relief we really want however when you use this time with real intention and purpose you can definitely feel more energised to tackle those more difficult tasks. 



Tip 3 – Set your own boundaries.

Our time is precious and is best spent in a meaningful way and although we cannot always eradicate all of our daily stressors it is so very important to ring fence time for your own personal care both physically, mentally and emotionally. If we do not do this, over time it can have a negative impact upon our overall wellbeing – and this is where setting boundaries becomes so very important.

-      Delegate your responsibilities where appropriate.

-      Take time out for your own needs – in doing this you become a better person for those around you.

-      Ask for help if you need it.

Having firm boundaries helps us to remind ourselves of our own value and worth and in turn aids us in reducing our stress levels.



Tip 4 – Nourish your body.


Our body needs daily nourishment. This means fuelling ourselves with healthy food, staying hydrated and looking after our mind. When we are in a state of stress often, we can fall into the trap of eating too much, eating too little and not taking time for ourselves. We skip lunch to carry on working, we prioritise others needs over our own and generally end up feeling drained and depleted.

Aim to be mindful where nourishing your body is concerned. Take stock of your daily routine and if you find you are skipping meals and not drinking enough water try to get into more positive habits.

If you struggle with comfort eating aim to choose the right portion sizes and ask yourself if you’re eating because you’re hungry or in response to your emotions. When it’s time to eat try to take a moment and be mindful about your food. Think about the smell and flavour. By eating mindfully, we tend to enjoy our food more, feel like we’ve taken some time out for ourselves and are more likely to start to recognise when we are full.



Tip 5 – Ensure you have a positive relationship with sleep.


As most of us will be aware high levels of stress can have a detrimental effect on or sleep quality and in turn a lack of sleep can increase our stress levels creating somewhat of a vicious cycle.

Ensuring that you have a positive and healthy sleep routine can be instrumental in ensuring you obtain the recommended amount of sleep each night.


Aim to:

-      Avoid stimulants like caffeine before bed.

-      Limit your screen time.

-      Aim for a regular sleep cycle.

-      Try to incorporate relaxing activities into your pre-bed routine.


Ensuring a positive relationship with sleep can go a long way to helping us manage our stress levels and feel energised to enjoy our day.

 

It's my hope that by incorporating some of the ideas above we can all aim for less stress in our day and more peace in our lives. For more information on reducing your stress levels check out my blog post on self care found here:

 


Take care of yourself and wellbeing wishes,


Rebecca,


CBT Therapist/Director

Littlemoor Therapy Practice






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