Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? It has been held every year since 1992 as a way of combating the rising levels of stress we face every day. And this year’s theme is Community.
Stress is a hugely common part of everyone’s day. We stress about so many things like being late for work, missing a bus or whether we unplugged our hair straighteners…But we also worry about slightly bigger things like deadlines, issues with a friend or partner, or finding a job.
Most of the time, big things such as work, school or relationships give us very good reasons to be worried or stressed. However, when we start to worry about lots of small things (which then all amount to a big ball of stress) it can sometimes become too much. And that is when we really need to unwind!
There are a few things to think about when it comes to stress. Firstly, and I’m sure we’ve all been told this at some point, will this really matter in five years, or five months or any other length of time? Easier said than done of course, but it can help to put your problem into perspective.
Another thing to consider, is whether the situation is something you should be worried about. For example, for anyone who suffers from anxiety, there are hundreds of thoughts going through your brain every second and it’s really hard to focus on all of them. So try ask yourself, is this a reasonable thing to be stressing about? Or do I need to realise that this is my anxiety talking?
Again, easier said than done. But this is especially helpful for the times when you need to allow yourself to feel stressed or worried about something…Remember, the fight-or-flight response is a completely natural way of our body’s reacting to danger or potential threats! So, in these cases, allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Don’t try and brush your feelings under the carpet and hope they will go away.
It is also important to remember that stress and anxiety are not the same thing and are dealt with differently! Feeling stressed or overwhelmed is normal…and bound to happen. So, in those situations it’s important to know what to do. However, it is not as normal when every day tasks and situations become stressful! And that is when you should consider reaching out for a little bit of help. Ultimately everyone has different ways of dealing with stress, and finding what works for you is the most important thing.
Talk to someone: Don’t keep things bottled up. Even if the person you talk to doesn’t have a solution, it’s better to share than to sit with your problem alone.
Start slowly but surely: Have a big piece of work you need to do? Don’t know where to start? Break down what it is you need to do and tick things off as you go. That way, even if the task has been small, you will have achieved something.
Close your laptop and take a break: When you are stressing about a piece of work or a deadline, staring at a blank screen isn’t going to help. Grab a book, or make a coffee, or go for a walk. Taking your mind off the task will allow you to clear your head and come back with a much clearer perspective.
Take some time for self care: Run a bath and relax with a face mask and bath bomb. Have you tried the Youthful Glow Face Mask? It’s perfect for some me-time, especially when paired with the Himalayan Dream Bath Salts.
Try prevention instead of cure? Be organised and work backwards from a deadline. If you’re worrying about relationships, be super honest and communicate regularly so that you can try and catch an issue before it becomes a huge problem.
Have a routine: For a lot of people the unknown is a huge source of stress and worry. Have a routine in place and stick to it as much as you can. But make the routine flexible so that you don’t then worry about not sticking to the routine (vicious circle if ever there was one, right?)
- Personal tip – Make a list of ‘dones’ not ‘to-dos’: It can be very daunting when you have a long list of things to tick off. I personally spend more time thinking about the tasks and writing them down, than actually doing them… So, because of that, I started writing a list at the end of the day of all the things I had done instead. This is so much less daunting and even if you feel like you haven’t achieved much, you might surprise yourself.