22nd June 2021
by Gordan Stokes

The current restrictions we must abide by are affecting us each in different ways. Ultimately, we will start to suffer symptoms. As a result, these can include lethargy, depression, stress, and other psychological and physical manifestations.  Because our mental wellbeing and physical wellbeing are directly linked, we can carry out activities that will benefit us in many ways. 

Stress directly ties into both our psychological and physical health, negatively impacting our overall wellbeing.  Here are some tips for dealing with stress.

  1. Focusing on your breath

Deep breathing can help you relax and lower stress in the body.  Shallow, upper chest breathing is a typical stress response. Abdominal, deep breathing helps control the nervous system by sending a message to your brain to calm down and relax. Anytime you feel tense and stress, stop and focus on your breath. Take long, deep inhalations and breathe out slowly and with control.

  1. Less caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine

Ideally, we should avoid nicotine entirely, however, moderation with alcohol and caffeine is important.  Alcohol is a depressant, and while it may appear a good way to alleviate stress, it is not a healthy or helpful method.  Equally, caffeine and nicotine are stimulants with the result they will exacerbate stress.  Try alternatives, which are more helpful and far healthier.  For example, drink water and herbal teas or fruit juices. 

  1. Sleep

Sleep is critical to our wellbeing, and it is essential to ensure you get the right amount of sleep.  A routine based around going to bed and waking up at the same times as well as avoiding stimulants and food before going to bed will ensure proper rest.

  1. Exercise

Stress manifests in many ways, physically we produce stress hormones which help us go into “fight or flight” mode.  In fighting or flying, we metabolise these hormones, however, because our stress is in response to non-physical threats, we don’t metabolise them and instead they remain in our systems.  While in our systems they can cause significant damage (the body, after all, expects them not to remain in our systems).  Exercise will help eliminate them from our systems.  Of course, there are other benefits, but from a stress perspective exercise is very important.

  1. Relaxation Techniques

Meditation, yoga, mindfulness, and many other techniques will help reduce your stress and the release of stress hormones.  Experiment with different techniques until you find one or a combination that works for you.

  1. Stress Diary

A stress diary will help you reflect on your response to different stressors and situations.  In doing so, you can either avoid or minimise the situations or allow you to prepare for them better.  In writing the stressors down, you are also acknowledging them, which is a constructive way of starting to deal with them.

  1. Speak with someone

Speaking about your stress with a friend, family member, colleague, or professional can be very helpful.  It can give you perspective, new ideas on how to deal with the stress, or just being heard can be beneficial.

  1. Problem Solve

Sometimes it is not an individual issue that will leave you feeling overwhelmed, however, by considering each issue on its own, you can gain clarity.  Practising the Circle of Control and allowing yourself to not worry about things beyond your control, you can alleviate the feeling of being overwhelmed.  By then deciding what to address that you can control will give you a sense of control.  Acting on things that can control will provide you with a strong sense of achievement.

  1. Say No

Be aware of what things are important to take on and what are not, or perhaps are better done by someone else.  We are compelled to be helpful, and it can be hard to say no.  However, discussion and agreement on the way forward are good for all concerned. 

  1. Time Management

As with point 8, it is important to work out what you can do and what you cannot and to prioritise accordingly.  This activity will help reduce stress.

  1. Do Something You Enjoy

Not everything we do has to have a specific outcome.  Sometimes indulging yourself with a favourite book, TV show, music, game, hobby, or any number of things that you find pleasure in is extremely beneficial. 

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