We all experience stress from time to time. Some of those times are bigger than others – like moving house or starting a new job. Others are smaller, everyday occurrences, like a deadline at work or finishing off a task at home.
Did you know there is such a thing as positive stress? A certain amount of stress is healthy and encourages us to get stuff done. However, when stress exceeds this healthy level, that’s when it can be problematic. We explored this more in our blog about the symptoms of stress and depression.
If you’re looking for ways to reduce your stress levels, then you’re in the right place. Here at MoreLife, we understand that managing stress is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. We’ve put together our top tips for helping you reduce and handle the stress in your life.
If you’re feeling stressed, moving your body can make you feel better. This is because exercise causes the release of chemicals called endorphins, which are known to improve our mood.
Physical activity can help take your mind off your worries and moving your body gives you something to focus on. How the movement feels, getting the moves right, and focusing on your physical surroundings. You’re in the present moment, rather than worrying about the past or future. This mindfulness is very good for our stress levels.
Also, exercise gives a sense of achievement and can help improve our self-esteem. It gives us structure and a sense of purpose which is very important for stress relief.
Taking Care of Yourself
We’ve explained ways to manage stress, including the worry tree exercise. Here we’d like to talk about different activities that can help your stress levels. Ask yourself the following questions:
- What do you do to take care of yourself?
- Which barriers make it more difficult?
- What would you like to do more of?
- What would you like to focus on?
When you’re feeling stressed, it helps to focus on what you can control and the ways you can take care of yourself. If you’re looking for inspiration on finding a self-care routine that works for you, we’ve got you covered.
Avoid Unhealthy Habits
There are certain habits you may turn to when you’re feeling stressed. This could be unwinding with a glass of wine after work, smoking a cigarette or making up your lack of sleep with extra caffeine. However, while these things may be a temporary relief, they won’t help reduce stress in the long-term. Try to avoid relying on unhealthy habits as a way of dealing with stress.
Connect with Others
Instead, you can focus on creating healthy coping mechanisms. A great example of this is reaching out for help and connecting with others when you need to. When we’re experiencing stress, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and that we’ve got to handle everything by ourselves. However, there are people in your life who will want to help.
Whether you want to use your colleagues as a support network to help you tackle a problem at work or arrange to see your loved ones to help you unwind and relax, spending time with other people can help reduce your stress levels.
Helping others can also help you. According to Professor Cooper, who shared his stress busters with the NHS, helping others can help you become more resilient. This can be through volunteering or community work which can help put your problems into perspective. This can also help you focus on the good parts of your life and be grateful for what you have.
If you don’t have time to volunteer, you could try to do a small act of kindness for someone else and you can still get that sense of doing something good for another person.
Our MoreLife programmes can help you to manage your stress as part of a healthy lifestyle. You can find out more about our services and what we do.
If you’re concerned about your stress levels, please speak to your GP about some more in-depth support options available.