Sometimes we take on a lot without even realising it. I’m one of those people.
I do everything at 100 miles per hour (if you haven’t guessed). I work a 9-5, exercise 4-5 times a week and study 16 hours a week I’m surprised I can fit in catching up with friends and family. Anyone who knows me knows how difficult I find it to rest and relax not only on a daily basis but on a weekly / monthly basis.
There are a number of ways of tackling the stress in your life and you don’t need to wait until you crash and burn to implement them. You can let it take over or you can bite the bullet and make a few changes…..OK so you can’t get rid of your kids but you might be able to reduce your working hours, take some parental leave or ask a relative to help at bath time. There are some really simple things that can make a huge difference to your levels of stress.
10 Relaxation Tips
- Exercise – Exercise can induce our happy hormones, endorphin’s that can help the brain reduce stress and anxiety. While exercise itself can be a form of stress it can also be a good form of stress relief. Whether you are lifting weights, performing yoga or running in the park exercising can help reduce stress. Vitamin D is really great for releasing those happy hormones and we could all do with an extra dose so daily walks are a really good start to reducing your stress levels.
- Meditate – Studies have shown that breathing exercises can reduce stress by sending signals to reset the neurotransmitters in the brain. Meditation for stress soothes our nervous system. While stress activates the “fight or flight” part of our nervous system, meditation activates the rest part of our nervous system. Our heart rate slows down, breathing relaxes and blood pressure drops. While frequent activation of stress can damage the body, meditation and breathing techniques are restorative and so benefits our health and wellbeing. Not only does it reduce stress but it increases focus, creativity, reduces anxiety and improves relationships.
- Talk – If stress is becoming overwhelming and you don’t know where to start talking to a friend or family member can be a great benefit. You can get a fresh perspective just by talking to someome.
- Take a time out- Allocate some time to really assess your current situation and consider: Are there any stressful factors you can change right now? If your job is too stressful perhaps you should consider a change? Talk to someone about getting help or another team member involved in a project. A really good step would be learning to manage your time more effectively. Sit down to plan out a weekly schedule, allow time to plan your meals or meals for the kids, dedicate more time to family or friends, allocate some YOU time for the gym , yoga or something you really enjoy – gardening or walking outdoors.
- Delegate – Are you putting yourself under too much pressure? Trying to be superwoman or superman? Learn to say No! This is something I have had to learn over the last number of years. I want to be good at everything I do. I am a Yes woman, I like to do a good job and do it well but I needed to be selfish and thats ok. When it comes to your health its OK to be selfish. If someone else can help then don’t be afraid to delegate the task or ask for assistance.
- Prioritise – Prioritise you! It’s ok to relax. Take time out sit down and read the paper or get a facial. Its OK to put yourself first. If things are getting in the way of you prioritising you make a list of all the things you need to do including something for you and mark them from 1-5 in order of importance. 1 being the most important and 5 being the less important. If prioritising you is not number 1 ask yourself why and how can you make it number 1?
- Avoid sugary foods – Refined carbohydrates and processed sugary foods can raise your insulin and cortisol levels which can induce a stress response. Reducing these foods and consuming more protein with your meals can help manage your blood sugar and cortisol levels.
- Cuddle – A hug can do wonders to relieve stress. Hugging raises oxytocin levels which reduces the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline.
- Be Mindful – Mindfulness is becoming more and more popular these days. Being present can not only reduce stress but help you appreciate the now. Worrying about the past or future will get you nowhere but miss opportunities for increased happiness. Be in the present no matter what you are doing. Eat slowly and appreciate your food. Sit down with the family and talk about your day. Take a walk and appreciate the surrounding nature.
- Be Grateful – Being grateful cancels out the negative chatter in the brain. Keep a gratitude journal by your bedside or on your phone can help you to remember and appreciate all the good things in your life. When you are feeling stressed take a read through this to remind yourself of all the things that matter in your life.
Remember stress is something that needs to be managed on a daily basis. If your environment is full of stress you may need to work on these tips more frequently to reduce your level of stress. Take one action per day and comment below and let me know how you get on? Are there any other things that you find beneficial for reducing your stress?