April is Stress Awareness Month; an opportunity to promote awareness of the causes and cures of stress. There’s an herbal remedy advert that reminds us that stress has been part of our lives since time began, it’s how we deal with it that counts. It is important to be aware of the signs of stress for you and how to manage your stress levels.
In addition, the whole world is going through a stressful time, due to the Coronavirus. It is okay and understandable to feel stressed and anxious, because there is so much change and uncertainty. It is likely that your life has been affected in some way, hopefully not by the virus directly, but you would have seen a difference in your daily life. You might be off work and having to adapt to a perceived less purpose to your day or getting used to working from home. There might also be a change to the number of people in your household and that might be taking some getting used to.
I’m my case, my husband is obviously not travelling for work so is home every day. This is a big change for us as he is usually abroad every 2 or 3 weeks. We also have his son living with us. His mum and sister are both key workers and with his immune system being suppressed due to medication he’s on, he’s at a lower risk here.
Lots of change and lots to deal with can often bring on stress. So it is important to learn strategies and techniques to deal with stress on a day to day, so things don’t get out of control. I’ve got 9 simple ideas for you to try; so let’s get started with 9 ways to manage your stress levels
- Don’t be too hard on yourself. In other words, be kind to yourself.
These are difficult and unusual times. If you didn’t get everything you wanted to done, that’s okay, The occasional PJ day is okay. If you sometimes want to eat cake for breakfast that’s okay too. Life is about balance and the odd day like that is fine. Get back on your healthy habits the next day.
You might love or not be so sure, how there’s no denying that exercise is great at reducing stress levels. Exercise lowers your body’s stress hormones — such as cortisol — in the long run. It also helps release endorphins, which are chemicals that improve your mood and act as natural painkillers.
- Concentrate on what you can control
Accept that there are events you can’t control. At the moment you can’t control the overall issue of the Coronavirus, or the actions of others. But you can control how you react to those things.
- You can control when you have your daily exercise
- What you have for your meals
- How you spend your time
Some of those examples might seem small, but by concentrating on what you can control will stop the overwhelm that often comes with stress and help you feel more calm and in control.
- Light a candle
Use calming fragrances to soothe your mood. Examples include lavender, rose and bergamot, but there are many more. Experiment and find what works for you and make it part of a daily ritual.
- Write down your thoughts
I’m a big believer in this. A good way to stay stressed, is to let things just whizz around in your head! Get your thoughts out of your head and on to paper and things will instantly feel better. There are various ways you could use this:
- you could do this as a brain dump.
- Write your day’s to do list and have the satisfaction of ticking things off as you go along
- You could also keep a note of what you’re grateful for. This practice helps you open your mind to more gratitude and even in this scary times, you’ll see that there are things that you can be grateful for.
- Spend time with friends and family
I know at the moment that looks different but it is still possible. The support from friends and family can help you get through stressful times and at the moment that can be online or over the phone. I’ve seen some great examples of people eating their Sunday dinner over Facetime or Zoom, family quiz nights or a good old fashioned catch up over a phone call.
- Carve out time for you
It’s no surprise I’ve included this one, right? At the moment, you’re self-care might be different to what you usually do and that’s fine. Actually that’s good, because part of self-care is listening to what you need, and giving yourself that. So for example the other day I know I needed complete rest. I read and slept and felt so much better for it. Whereas yesterday morning, I turned the music up loud and had a sing and a dance to my favourites.
- Have a laugh
It’s a well known expression that laughter is the best medicine. You can’t really feel stressed and laugh at the same time! It can improve your mood and even improve your immune system. So watch a funny tv show or film and have a laugh
- Get organised.
I know for me, if I’m not organised or my physical space is in a muddle, then my head is in a muddle! Spend some time getting your physical space in order and enjoy the inner feeling of calm.
There are so many going through a difficult time and I want to help support. I invite you to share this blog post with someone who would benefit from these tips.