This week marks International Stress Awareness Week – we all know what it feels like to be stressed with 94% of people experiencing work-related stress. Being under pressure is a normal part of life, however becoming overwhelmed by stress can lead to mental health problems or make existing problems worse. Take some time to think about your wellbeing and read our tips on how we can help combat stress:
1. Be Active
Being active is a great way to improve your physical health and has even been proven to improve your mental wellbeing. Exercise can help reduce some of the stress you are feeling by clearing your thoughts and allowing you to deal with your problems in a calmer manner.
Being active does not mean you need to spend endless hours in the gym – you can find physical activities you enjoy and fit them into your daily routine, such as walking instead of driving, cycling, swimming, running and even dancing.
Adults aged 19 and over should be doing at least 150 minutes of moderate to intensive activity per week so make sure you get out and get active to help you feel happier and improve your overall wellbeing.
2. Connect with People
If you are feeling down or stressed, a good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your troubles and help you to see things in a different way and may even be able to help with advice to find the solution.
Talking things through with anyone can help you think your problems through logically and as they say ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’ so call your friend or family member up today, put the kettle on and have a chat – you will feel loads better for it.
3. Have Some ‘ME’ Time
The UK work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don’t get to spend enough time doing things we really enjoy with those we love. We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation and exercise to ensure there is a good work-life balance.
Having some ‘me’ time seems near impossible most of the time, especially when you factor in work, children and general family duties such as chores however no matter how busy you are, you need to ensure you take opportunities to fit in some time to yourself.
By setting aside a couple of nights a week or even an hour per day away from work and the daily life-stresses, you will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
4. Avoid Unhealthy Habits
Don’t rely on caffeine, alcohol, junk food or smoking to get you through stressful situations – they won’t solve your problems but create new, adding to your stress rather than relieving it.
Our health – both mental and physical – depends a lot on our hormone levels however there are some foods you can eat which boost the levels of serotonin – a brain calming chemical – which can help control your stress effectively such as salmon, blueberries, green leafy vegetables, avocado, oatmeal and tea.
5. Work Smarter, Not Harder
If you never seem to have enough time, better time management may help you regain control of your days and reduce your stress levels. Learning how to manage your time effectively can help you feel more relaxed, focused and in control.
Working smarter means organising and prioritising your workload – concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference. Set yourself some goals, make a list, prioritise the important tasks, focus on the end result and, of course, make sure you take a lunch break.
Lots of people work through their lunch break to catch up however it is counter-productive – you need to spend at least 30 minutes away from your desk to be able to re-energise and refocus on the task when you return.