It's natural to experience stressful periods at work, and at home, but if you’re feeling like your nerves are shot, then there might be a problem. Consistent stress has terrible impacts on your health, not to mention the fact that your mood and productivity levels are likely to plummet. But luckily, there are lots of small things you can include in your everyday life to prevent stress and make your work life more manageable. Simply, follow these five tips to destress your day.
1. Take a breathe
Breathing is so much more than an involuntary action to keep us alive; it can have a huge impact on both your mental state and physical wellbeing. Have you ever noticed that when you’re feeling stressed your breathing tends to be shallow and quick? By taking a few minutes every day to take some deep breathes or to practice some breathing exercises, you’ll quickly find that you feel more relaxed. Deep breathing means more oxygen is flooding your body, which in turn works to reduce tension and blood pressure, nourishing the body and relieving stress.
2. Walk your way to wellness
Preventing stress is far better than just managing stress, and walking has been proven to do just that. Walking can help clear your mind and boosts endorphins, uplifting your mood and reducing the level of stress hormones in your body. If you can, why not consider walking to work in the mornings? If that’s not possible, simply try taking daily 10-minute walks to get some fresh air and have a much-needed break from your computer screen. Although anywhere will do, walking in a park, garden or any green space often has additional meditative benefits resulting in an improved sense of wellbeing.
3. Mood boosting music
It’s a well-known fact that music has an enormous impact on our mood. Classical music for example, is famous for its soothing effects, lowering your heart rate, blood pressure and stress levels. But if classical just isn’t your thing, any music that you love will work to uplift your mood and keep your anxiety at bay. Make sure you always have your headphones with you at work, so that if you’re feeling stressed you can tune into your favourite tracks and ease your mind.
4. Anti-stress snacking
The link between the gut and the brain is well-documented and many experts believe that your ability to effectively respond to stress is determined by how well your gut is working. That’s why choosing the rights foods to incorporate into your workday is vital to your health, wellbeing, and stress levels. Have you ever been ‘hangry’ – so hungry that you’ve had an out-of-character fit of rage? Make sure to avoid bouts of ‘hanger’ by keeping a stash of healthy foods to snack on throughout the day. Also, try to make sure that you step away from your desk to enjoy your snack. This not only gives you the added benefit of a break from your computer screen, but also means that you’ll be able to truly enjoy your food by focusing on its taste, texture and how it makes you feel.
5. Take a break
Extensive research has concluded that uninterrupted computer use leads to many negative side-effects including inability to sleep, depression and yup, you guessed it, stress! So, during your workday, make sure that you take regular breaks from your computer screen (even if it’s just a trip to the kitchen to make a cup of tea). Using your computer (or any screen-based technology for that matter) late at night has been shown to have the most harmful effects, so try to shut down at least an hour before you head to bed to make sure you get a good night's sleep.
What do you do to de-stress? Share your tips.
HANNA GIRLING, wife, mother, business owner, coach, sport enthusiast and forever an optimist.