Our Health Check UK Report states that stress is the top mental health issue in the UK. Work pressure is the largest reason for stress with 37% of people citing it as the main reason and struggles with work-life balance also causes stress for one in five. But help is at hand.
We want you to feel less stressed so why not take part in our Stress Less Challenge. Try out 5 tips over the next 2 weeks aiming to commit to at least 1 for a lifetime. A small change for a long term health benefit.
- Identify what causes you stress – identifying what your stress triggers are helps you to reduce stress and manage stressful situations.
- Learn to say no – know what your limits are and stick to it. Taking on too much can push you to your limits.
- Prioritise – try to reduce your to-do list by prioritising what you need to do that day. Accept that there are things you can’t do and let go.
- Manage your time better – running late for things can make you flustered so try and plan ahead.
- Think of the positive things you’ve achieved rather than just focusing on the negative.
- Exercise regularly – doctors recommend 30 minutes of exercise, 3 times a week to help reduce stress. Aerobic exercise such as running or even walking – anything which gets your heart rate up, increases serotonin which helps you to relax.
- Make the most of any sunny weather and exercise outside, even taking a walk during your break. Exercising also releases endorphins which triggers positive feelings in the body.
- Try a new exercise to spice up your routine.
- Eat a healthy, balanced diet – eating a balanced diet means you can eat healthily but not feel guilty if you treat yourself.
- Try eating a rainbow diet - eating fresh vegetables in lots of different colours helps to get the nutrients your body needs e.g. green vegetables builds healthy cells, tomatoes are bursting in antioxidants.
- Cut down on alcohol/give up smoking – this is only a temporary fix and masks over the real issues which need to be dealt with. Identify what your stress triggers are and find alternative ways to manage it.
- Make time for yourself and relax – this allows you to recharge your batteries and increases levels of dopamine.
- Spend time with people who enhance your life - people who are interesting, make you happy, make you laugh.
- Clear out your ‘friend’ list and keep those who have a positive influence on your life.
- Talk about problems with friends or colleagues. They may have experienced the same problems as yourself and can provide you with the support you need.
- Have a laugh – they say that laughter is the best medicine. A dose of laughter can lower levels of the stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol and increase your endorphin levels – those natural ‘feel-good’ chemicals that are in the body.
- Sleep – this is essential to help you be better prepared to tackle stress. Sleep deprivation makes you more anxious and affects your concentration. 8 hours sleep a night is the average however everyone is different. Between 6-8 hours is good.
- Keep to a routine of going to bed and getting up the same time every day. It will teach your subconscious good habits. However be patient, because it can take months.
- Keep things dark and cool. Too much light inhibits the production of melatonin the hormone which makes us sleepy. A drop in temperature triggers the body to sleep.
- Switch off – try and switch off laptops, phones 30 minutes before sleep to help your brain get ready for slumber.
- Avoid stimulants before bed. Why not try a relaxing drink such as chamomile tea.
- Don’t stress about sleeping. If you can’t get to sleep after 20 minutes, get up and do something boring in dim light. They try again in 15 minutes.