Stress is an inevitable part of life, and sometimes it can be good for us, prompting us to get a project finished or make a positive life change. However, we all go through times when we feel overwhelmed by the demands that are being made of us.
If the stressful episode is particularly intense or continues for a long period of time, it can be detrimental to our health and mental wellbeing. Therefore, it’s important to be aware of stress and keep it down to manageable levels. This doesn’t have to involve complex or time consuming techniques. Here are some simple tips.
It can be easy to underestimate the importance of good hydration when it comes to our state of mind. The brain is one of the largest organs in the human body and it is the centre of command, controlling not just movement but also the way we think and feel. Therefore when we are dehydrated, our thought processes and mood soon feel the effects.
Sipping water won’t magically solve your problems, but it will improve your ability to respond well to the stressors rather than feeling overwhelmed. It can be easy to forget to drink regularly when we are busy dealing with whatever life throws our way, so it may be helpful to add a rehydration tablet to your water to optimise your fluid intake.
Exercise is an excellent way to combat stress. When our bodies are moving, it triggers the release of feel-good hormones such as endorphins, and neurotransmitters such as dopamine. This helps to boost our mood and concentration levels, and can also promote better sleep.
Even 20 minutes of exercise a day can make a huge difference, leaving you feeling calmer, more optimistic and clear-headed.
Make time for yourself
It can be easy to lose touch with activities that we really enjoy when we are busy, but working all the time can be counterproductive, sapping your motivation and energy levels. Schedule in some regular ‘be time’ for whatever makes you feel happy, whether that’s seeing your friends, spending time on a hobby, or just a quiet afternoon with a book or the TV.
If you feel that your to-do list is a Sisyphean task, then try prioritising those activities that will make a real difference. This will bring you closer to your goals and help you to accept that you can’t do everything. Keep your aims realistic and if they still feel too large or complex to tackle, try to break them down into a series of smaller steps.
Making the effort to connect with others can take us out of our own heads and put our situation in perspective. If you have been neglecting your key relationships, make an effort to reach out and plan some quality time together. Alternatively, you may want to explore ways of helping others, such as through voluntary work or just small favours for a neighbour.