We all get stressed from time to time. In fact, a little stress can be helpful as it can keep us motivated and on task. However, there are times stress is just too much and can have negative impact on our well-being.
Stress management is something we can all benefit from. It’s important to start to become aware of your own early warning signs. Take a minute to ask yourself: what happens to me when I get stressed? Do I get snappy, reach for some comfort food, feel tense, get a headache, or something else?
We can use our early warning signs as a guide for when we might benefit from some time out and self-care. But it’s also important to be preventative and to start implementing strategies that will help us manage our stress levels before they get too intense.
To start with, here are five ways you can start relieving stress today:
1. Do some self-care.
Everyone deserves some time to invest in themselves. Develop a ritual that makes you feel good and be aware of the way you talk to yourself. What makes you feel good? Is it giving yourself a facial, lying on the grass and soaking up some sun, having a bubble bath? Develop a go-to list of self-care strategies.
2. Have time out.
It’s important to have some time out during stressful periods, to hit the ‘pause’ button and recharge. Do something during this time that is going to make you feel calm. A great way to do this is to listen to a meditation podcast, but it could also be as simple as drinking a cup of tea in the sun.
Physical activity is a huge stress release. It releases endorphins and can be a healthy distraction from what’s causing you stress. If you aren’t up for doing a whole workout try going for a gentle jog. Or just put some music on and dance around your room. Best of all get your bum into that gym!
4. Establish routine.
Having a predictable schedule and keeping to routine (e.g., regular times for meals and exercise, when you wake up and go to bed) can be reassuring and help you manage your stress levels.
If you’re sleep deprived you’re more vulnerable to stress and emotional disturbance. To beat this, try to stick to a sleep schedule of between 7-9 hours of rest a night. It’s also a good idea to establish positive sleep habits – like limiting caffeine (especially in the afternoon) and not using your phone (or other bright screens) before bed – it’s hard but so worth it. Try reading a book or magazine to doze off instead.