#1 – Recognise When You Are Stressed
Listening to how your body is feeling is important when it comes to identifying stress. It tells you when we are hungry, thirsty, full, tired or stressed. It’s often helpful to speak with someone when you are struggling with stress. Just the process of talking with someone you trust can help you gain a new perspective and help identify and recognise what could be causing the stress.
#2 – Eat Healthy Meals and Exercise
If you are not eating properly, over-eating or comfort eating non-nutritious and inflammatory foods, all of these will increase the stress load on your body. Self-medicating with sugary foods and attempting to boost energy levels with caffeine and then relaxing in the evening with alcohol are all common human responses to stress. These choices will all increase stress on the body and leave you feeling more stressed, wired, anxious and panicky.
It’s important to have a well-balanced diet and have healthy alternatives to takeaways and snacks. Also make sure you incorporate exercise into your daily routine, even if it’s just going for a brisk walk.
#3 – Get Enough Sleep
The National Sleep Foundation recommends 7–9 hours of sleep a night for adults up to the age of 65, and 7–8 hours for those over 65. Getting enough sleep is fundamental to helping our bodies cope with stress.
Things that can help with gaining enough sleep are:
- Have a regular time for bed and set a night time bed routine.
- Only use the bedroom as a place for sleep, no tv in bedroom and portable electronic devises.
- Spend the last hour of the day doing soothing activities, reading, shower, bath or doing mindfulness exercises.
- Don’t stimulate your brain by looking at social media and technology right before bedtime, turn off your phone or put it on silent as you sleep.
#4 – Manage Your Expectations
Many people have unrealistic expectations which can cause stress. Unrealistic expectations are often about emotional expression and being able to share our difficulties, which many people struggle with.
Below are some questions to help access your expectations:
- Where do these expectations come from, work, family commitments, challenging clients?
- Who are you trying to please?
- What do you think will happen if you don’t meet these expectations?
- Do I need to reassess my goals and make them more realistic to help with my stress levels?
#5 – Practice Self-Care
Looking after yourself physically, mentally, socially and spiritually is an important part of life, especially when going through a stressful time. This is often referred to as ‘Self-Care’. Self-Care can include many different activities and exercises. Schedule time into your day and week to do self-care activities.
Self-Care activities you could do are:
- Prayer, meditation and mindfulness
- Yoga, relaxation or listening to music
- Going for a walk
- Having a massage or taking a bath
- Reading a book or watching a movie
- Catching up with friends
- Having a technology or social media free day