Top tips for managing stress

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Everyone gets stressed sometimes, but it can be difficult to manage. Here’s a few tips that are worth knowing to keep your stress levels down.

Whether it’s the winter blues or health woes that are behind some of the stress you’re feeling or it’s from family, work or otherwise, we hope these tips will help.

Eat a healthy diet
This is easier said than done, but it’s something that’s vitally important for your health. And maintaining a healthy diet is not only good for your body, but for your general mental wellbeing too.  

It may seem like you need…to get you through a busy day. (Let’s fill in the gap) 

  • Caffeine will only increase your stress levels and it can also lead to a low when it wears off. Try to swap out caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and fizzy drinks such as cola with water, natural fruit juices or herbal teas. 
  • Sugar, especially refined sugar, can be found in many manufactured foods, confectionery and even salad dressings and bread. Consuming sugar can lead to a crash which will make you feel tired and irritable. 

In general, try to stick to a healthy diet. Ensure you eat the recommended 5 pieces of fruit and veg a day. Also try to eat enough food containing magnesium and vitamins B and C, such as citrus fruits, bananas, nuts, seeds, oats, brown rice, meat and fish, and leafy green vegetables. 

Get moving
Exercise is one of the most effective methods of both dealing with stress and avoiding it in the first place. Putting physical pressure on your body releases endorphins, which help to ease depression and anxiety.

Exercise can: 

  • distract you from your worries;  
  • leave you with a clearer head to deal with the problems head-on; and  
  • ensure that you get better night’s sleep.  

 In short, there’s a hell of a lot of benefits to exercising, and that’s before we even consider the impact it might have on your weight. You will gain the most from 30 minutes or more of exercise, but it is perfectly ok to build yourself up gradually. Every little helps!  

Get more sleep
A lack of sleep is a major reason behind daily stress. Getting enough sleep can, of course, be difficult if you are stressed. However, there are a few steps that you can take to try and improve the quality of your sleep. 

  • Exercise daily to tire your body out.  
  • Keep things calm in the wind down to bed. 
  • Turn down the lights before bed to signal to your body that you’re about to sleep.  
  • Some swear by a bath before bed to set them up for snooze. 
  • Turn off all your screens at least 30 mins before you plan on going to bed. 

If you can’t sleep, lying in bed counting down the hours until your alarm goes off isn’t going to help. In fact, you might just get more and more worked up. Try and remember that even if you’re not asleep, being in bed completely switched off and resting is better than being up all night worrying. 

Reach out and talk to people We’re sociable creatures, even if we don’t want to admit it. There are few things better than having an open, honest conversation with no judgement. Having a good support network of friends and family can help you find solutions to your problems and give you a sense of belonging and comfort, which can, in turn, help you when the going gets tough. 

If you don’t feel you can share your problems with loved ones, organisations such as the Samaritans are always available to listen, and your GP. It’s true what they say, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.

Honourable mentions include:   

  • Resting if you are ill. Don’t push yourself as this can increase stress levels further. 
  • Take a deep breath. Focus on controlling your breath. Try a deep breath in lasting 4 seconds, hold for 1 second, breathe out for 4 seconds and repeat 5-10 times. 
  • Manage your time effectively. Being on top of tasks can help us de-stress. To-do lists can really help. 
  • Avoid alcohol, cigarettes and drugs. All can cause you to be more agitated in the long run.  
  • Take time for yourself. Make time for hobbies, whether it’s gaming, reading or meditation. Doing what you enjoy brings joy and can relax you. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help 
If you’re really struggling with your stress levels and find that nothing you do helps, it might be time to seek further help. Depending on whether your symptoms are more physical (sweating, tremor, faster heart rate) or psychological (fear, disengagement, sadness, frustration), your GP can help you find a suitable treatment/ medication to help your individual set of circumstances.

Stress is something that we tend to just accept as a part of our busy lives. How many times have you heard people say, “I’m so stressed!”? 

Of course, feeling busy and under pressure is normal to a degree, but left unchecked, rising levels of stress can have a real impact on your mental and physical health. Take a moment to think about your stress levels and what you can do to help keep them at a manageable level. 


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