How to stop sweating the small stuff this Stress Awareness month
It’s Stress Awareness Month and in today’s blog, our guest writer Rose gives us some top tips about ways to combat stress!
The last year has been stressful for us all. General uncertainty partnered with many of us having to go months without seeing our nearest and dearest has left a lot of us feeling run down. April marks Stress Awareness Month and this year it’s more important than ever to check in with ourselves and find ways to lessen the stress in our lives.
74% of adults in the UK have said they have felt so stressed at some point over the last year that they couldn’t cope and it’s not surprising. Mind, the mental health charity, have reported that facing big changes and lacking control in a situation are usually the biggest causes of stress – and if anything sums up the last year it’s definitely that!
On top of all this, many of us are also trying to stay strong for our families and maintain some normality while making sure dinner is on the table and the washing is done. Frankly, I’m getting stressed just thinking about it!
Stress is something that many of us just brush off and ignore but it can cause long term health problems such as anxiety and depression but it’s not just a mental health issue. Stress is also linked to physical health problems like insomnia, digestive problems and even heart disease.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, stress isn’t always a bad thing. Without stress our ancestors would have all been eaten by sabre-toothed tigers. What’s important is managing your stress levels and learning how to cope in scenarios that can feel over whelming.
Here are some tips to help you stay calm when it all feels too much:
Adopt a positive mindset
It may sound easier said than done, but being in control of your thoughts is the first step towards beating stress. Building your resilience and trying not to sweat the small stuff can do wonders for your mental wellbeing. Mindfulness and positive affirmations have been proven by research to actually rewire your brain and help you deal better in stressful situations.
Don’t be a slave to technology
Did you know that we get an average of 364 emails each and every week? That’s nearly 19,000 a year! Although there is no doubt that we are more connected than ever, the constant pinging of your phone can increase your stress levels.
Instead of feeling glued to your inbox remember that most of the emails you receive aren’t going to be life changing. Set aside a specific time to check your messages so you can leave more time for the important stuff.
Eat better, feel better
It’s no surprise that a healthy balanced diet is crucial for maintaining your physical and mental health, but did you know that some foods can actually lower your cortisol levels?
Cortisol is the main hormone that your body produces when you experience a stressful situation. Bananas, pears, green tea and even dark chocolate can all help balance out your cortisol levels which will lead to a healthier and happier you.
1 in 3 of us don’t get our recommended seven to nine hours each night. Not only does not getting enough sleep make you forgetful and increase your risks of serious illnesses such as cancer, it also drastically effects the way your body handles stress. There are many ways to help improve your sleep including, laying off the weekday night caps but the biggest tip from experts is to maintain your hydration levels through out the day, but more on that later!
No one is asking you train for a marathon here, just a simple twenty-minute walk outside has been proven to result in a better night’s sleep. Gentle movement is definitely the best place to start and there are plenty of free online routines out there, but if you’re really unsure of where to start contact your GP for advice.
Learn to say no
It can be easy to overwhelm ourselves by taking on too many things. Sometimes we feel like we can’t turn down opportunities from work, our friends or our family especially if you can be a textbook people pleaser.
Saying no doesn’t mean you’re selfish, sometimes it’s better for you and those around you if you honour and prioritise your previous commitments before taking on new challenges. Managing your stress levels is better for everyone in the long run.
Master your time
Often it can feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done. Many times, when we’re stressed it’s because we haven’t planned our time effectively. Sometimes it’s best to take a step back and work out what tasks take priority, that way you can focus on the big important things instead of getting caught up in the small stuff.
Prioritise your health
Working yourself into the ground doesn’t help you or anyone. Stress can weaken your immune system and being ill and stressed is a recipe for disaster. Small steps to improve your health and wellbeing can make a big difference!
Start with something simple like upping your water intake, this can help improve your energy levels and mental capacity. Studies have shown a clear link between water and stress reduction so your easiest way to look after your mind and body is to stay hydrated.
Stress can feel like the end of the world sometimes, but it is important to remember that almost every problem can be solved when you reach out and ask for help. Talking to your friends and family about your issues or asking your GP for help and advice can stop you from feeling overwhelmed.
Work can also be stressful at times so speak to your manager, colleague or HR representative to help manage these feelings.
If you are an Onward customer, we can support you on a range of things that might cause stress, from getting your home adapted to your needs, to financial support and dealing with antisocial behaviour.