Before you try & control stress, it’s important to understand the different types of stresses that may effect you.
Stress that you can deal with through practical solutions
Stress that will get better with time
Stress that is out of your control
Each type of stress will require a slightly different strategy.
1 will require you to take action, this may be something like making a plan for your week so everything gets complete on time.
2 will require you to understand that there is a problem but it will be okay eventually & you just need to control your mental health in the mean time with things such as exercise.
3 is often best dealt with nutrition, deep breathing & any tactic that will help you physically & mentally to get you through the challenging time. It’s important to understand that if there’s nothing you can do, there is no point in stressing about the things you think you can do.
1. Exercise as often as you can
I know I’m a PT going on about exercise is great but hear me out, exercise genuinely is one of the best ways you can deal with stress. Regular exercise helps to reduce stress hormones as well as releasing endorphins (chemicals in the brain that makes us feel good). Regular exercise also assists with improving your sleep quality, which is often effected by stress & anxiety. Exercise also helps us to feel more confident, which leads to a better mental wellbeing overall.
2. Write it down (get it out of your head)
Write the things you’re stressed about & then match that with things you’re grateful for. Sometimes (often) we simply forget about all the great things we have around us, especially when we’re going through a tough time.
3. Make sure to take time to yourself
This doesn’t mean sitting in a dark room alone. Just make sure you take time away from your busy life as often as you can. Take the kids out, watch a movie that kind of thing. Set time aside & enjoy yourself. You’ll be amazed what having half an hour to yourself to relax can do for you.
4. Deep breathing
When you’re stressed mentally, your sympathetic nervous system is fired up & telling your body to go into ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is 100% normal, stress used to be all about survival, so it was necessary. However, our daily hectic lives haven’t quite realised we’re not physically in danger anymore. Deep breathing helps the body activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls relaxation.
5. Take control of your stress
Sometimes in life, you just need to face your fears. Often with stress, we hide away as it’s the easiest option for our struggling bodies. But sometimes you need to understand why you’re feeling stressed & to be able to come up with a solution to either a) remove it or b) control It. Don’t just let it sit on your shoulder telling you ‘you can’t do it’ you’re stronger than that.
6. Learn to accept there are some things in life that are out of your control
Sometimes, there is nothing you can do about a stressful situation and this is okay. It’s important to accept life can be, well.. a bit shit sometimes. Not everything will always go your way. But, stressing over something that is out of your control? Now that’s a total waste of your time & energy!
7. Changing your nutrition
PT throwing in nutrition alert. Seriously though, we’ve all ‘eaten better’ & felt better for it.. Just like we’ve all binged on junk food & felt terrible for it. Food feeds our bodies & our brain. The better you feed your body, the better you will feel.
Now, I’ll be totally honest. This is not my forte. So I’m not going to sit here & BS you by pretending I know anything about mediation. However, the amount of great people I know who SWEAR by mediation for stress.. I refuse to leave it out of this list due to my own lack of knowledge. I realise that was pretty useless, so if you're interested, I can point you in the direction of some fantastic people.
9. Stop being your own worst enemy
The biggest cause of stress in my opinion is not giving yourself credit when it’s due. Stop giving up before you’ve even tried. Stop saying ‘I can’t’ & start saying ‘how do I..’ or 'I can..' & think about things a little more. You can do whatever you put your mind to.
10. Learn to say no
Guess what? You’re the boss. If you don’t want to do something (within reason, you do have to go to work occasionally I’m afraid) then don’t do it. Peer pressure is a real thing & often leads us down a dark; stressful path. Don’t just say yes to impress your boss, friends or partner if it’s going to make your life hell. Think about yourself & your own mental wellbeing!