Tuesday, 7 January 2014

New Years Resolutions: Stress Management

This is the sixth post in this series of ten posts that I am doing to cover the most common New Year Resolutions, this post will give you some handy hints for managing stress.

How stressed are you?
Stress is an extremely serious health issue and can affect you physically as well as mentally. If you are showing physical symptoms of stress such as weight loss, hair loss and high blood pressure (often characterised by nose bleeds) please go and see your doctor as you need need help. If you are mildly stressed then there are things you can do to help yourself. 
  • Relaxation tapes
    You can find relaxation music on youtube or you can buy CDs. I like to listen to relaxation music as I'm going to sleep to calm myself down but it is nice to just take a few minutes out of a particularly stressful day to gather myself again.

  • Sleep better
    This is easier said than done but there are a few techniques you can employ to get a better nights sleep.
    - Avoid caffeine before bed - milk is a good substitute
    - Avoid eating too much before bed - a small carb laden snack is the best thing to have
    - Don't exercise before bed
    - Listen to relaxation music
    - If you can't sleep, get out of bed until you feel tired then try again
    - Resist napping during the day
    - Wake up at a normal time even if you have had minimal sleep - this helps you into a normal pattern
  • 'You time'
    Just taking some time out of your day to do something you enjoy makes your day feel way less shitty. Have a bath, paint your nails or cook something nice to take your mind off what ever it may be that is stressing you out.
  • Get organisedMaking a list of all the things you need to do will help order your thoughts and avoid that brain fuzz you get when you are stressed. I like to use the Trello app and website which were kindly recommended to me by a friend. I'd also recommend getting a diary and a calender so you know what you have to do each day. It just helps take the guess work out of everyday life and allows you to manage your time better.

  • Exercise
    Exercise is a natural antidepressant and stress reliever because it releases endorphins. Exercise may also help weight related sleep disorders like sleep apnoea.
  • Eliminate stressful situationsThis is the most difficult to enforce but it is also the most effective. For some people it is obvious which situations they find most stressful. We may be triggered by particular people and situations and you have to amend this. People will be understanding if you let them know that you are stressed and if they aren't then you must avoid them. Approach situations from a different angle if you feel that you can not avoid them entirely. Think about how you would react to a situation if you were a different person.
Avoid duct taping people's mouths shut though
  • Relaxing breathing
    Controlling your breath is brilliant for coping when you are in the middle of a stressful situation. Counting your breathing and holding your breath for a couple of seconds slows down your heart rate which makes you feel calmer. For more on relaxing breathing click here.
  • Accept things you can't change
    There are certain situations that you can't change and it is good to let them go, if you carry on feeling annoyed and stressed it won't change anything but you will still feel bad.
Let me know your suggestions for managing stress in the comments below or on twitter or
facebook. To see all posts in this series click here

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Did you know that in the film Toy Story, Sid's hallway carpet is the same design as the hallway carpet in The Shining? That's well creepy.

Heeeeeeeeeeeeres Jonny!