Feeling stressed out? You’re not alone, but these easy tips can help you to learn how to deal with stress.
In association with Harney & Sons
We’ve all had to get used to a new way of life in recent times, and the truth is no one is immune to stress. Whether it’s a minor daily hassle or a major ongoing problem, there’s simply no way of completely avoiding stressful situations.
And stress can have an effect on both your physical and mental health, so it’s really important to find ways to deal with stress effectively. Developing good coping skills will help you to handle stressful situations with life and manage stress in a healthy way.
We all handle stress in different ways, and what will be perfect for one person won’t suit someone else. But here are five simple and healthy habits that can help you cope with stress better.
Develop good sleep habits
Many of us find that stress can have an effect on our sleep. You might find it hard to drop off at night or you find yourself waking up in the small hours of the morning, unable to get back to sleep.
This can have a direct impact on your daily life because if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your energy levels will be reduced and your mental clarity diminished.
That’s why health professionals recommend that you get around six to eight hours of sleep per night. When you’re sleeping, your body uses the time to restore itself and you will wake up feeling more energised the next day.
There are a few things you can do to help improve your sleep. Some of these include setting up a regular bedtime routine, having a warm bath with lavender oil or drinking a cup of chamomile tea before bed. Chamomile tea has excellent calming effects so it works brilliantly as part of your bedtime routine. It’s best to drink the tea as fresh as possible, as loose leaf tea, to enjoy the antioxidant and calming effects at their best.
Eat a healthy diet
Do you find that you turn to comfort foods when you’re feeling stressed, or sip a glass of wine to help you relax?
I certainly do, and these are very common ways of dealing with stressful situations. But you could find that opting for healthier alternatives could be a better way to boost your mood and reduce stress.
For example, the omega oils present in oily fish may help to reduce your body’s level of the stress hormone cortisol and reduce feelings of anxiety. In addition, these essential fatty acids are beneficial for good heart health, which is why it is recommended that you eat oily fish at least twice a week.
That’s not to say that you can’t indulge in a delicious piece of cake or a chilled glass of wine. But making sure that you’re getting a good balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veg will help your body to fight stress.
Take regular exercise
Exercise is a fantastic stress reliever, helping to release endorphins which can boost your mood, relieve pain and even improve your sleep.
Any form of exercise can help to relieve stress, and the NHS recommends that adults should be moderately active for at least 150 minutes per week. You can spread this out throughout the week if you prefer, but you should try to be active every day.
The important thing is to find something that you enjoy, as this will make you more likely to stick to your healthy habit. You could try going for a walk or a jog, working out with weights, doing a home exercise DVD or a yoga session. Yoga is particularly good for relaxation as the breath control helps you to quiet your mind.
Pick up a hobby
Picking up a hobby is another healthy way you can manage your stress levels, as it really helps to get your mind off stressful things so you can relax.
Maybe you’re a keen baker or love knitting or another form of crafting. Reading books and listening to music are great ways to reduce stress, or perhaps you love playing a musical instrument.
Creating art is a great way to take your mind off whatever is stressing you. Whether you are drawing, painting or even creating something with clay, your main focus is on the piece that you’re creating. This helps to put you into a “state of flow” which is similar to a meditative state.
If you don’t currently have a hobby, why not look for an online class to get you started?
And talking of meditation, this is one of the oldest and most popular ways to relieve stress symptoms.
This practice comes in many forms and can really help you restore your calm and inner peace. And the beauty about it is that you can do it anywhere and anytime of the day.
In general, meditation involves sitting in a relaxed position and clearing your mind. When you meditate, your main focus is on controlling your breathing and keeping your mind in the present moment. This way your mind will be cleared of all of the things that are causing you to stress, while also triggering your body’s relaxation response.
According to research, people who practice meditation on a regular basis have shown improvement in managing their stress levels. It can take as little as five minutes when you’re starting out, and is a wonderful way to relax.