It’s ‘Stress Awareness Month’ and stress is something that we all feel from time to time.  More of us are going to be feeling stressed and anxious particularly at the moment due to uncertainty of Coronavirus but there are things we can do to reduce stress.  Here Carole our Counsellor provides guidance on how to cope with stress. 

Stress is NORMAL and is our body’s way of reacting when we feel threatened, under pressure or when we feel we are not in control of certain situations.  However, too much stress is not good for us and can affect our mood, health and our relationships with others.  Feeling overwhelmed can make us feel anxious, irritable and affect our self esteem.  The good news is that we can all take some positive steps towards managing or reducing stress.

Here are a few areas/tips to consider.  Making changes to our health and well-being helps us to feel more in control. 

  • Eat healthy well balanced meals and drink plenty of water.
  • Avoid too much caffeine, alcohol, sugar and cigarettes. They might help in the short term but can actually increase stress in the long term.
  • Be active, take some form of exercise, go for a walk if you are able or exercise at home. It’s good for body and mind and helps us sleep at the end of the day.
  • Establish good bedtime routines. Wind down at the end of the day by avoiding computers, TVs and mobile phones. Make sure your bedroom is a comfortable and quiet place.
  • If you are finding it difficult to get to sleep or wake in the night with thoughts/worries going round in your head, get up and do something to distract yourself. Maybe read a book. When you go back to bed you will hopefully be able to sleep.
  • Keep your mind active in the day, maybe read, play games, crosswords, puzzles, draw, paint or play an instrument. Whatever appeals to you, the list of activities is endless. You could even learn a new skill.
  • If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed because you feel you have a ‘lot to do’, break those tasks down into smaller chunks. Set smaller goals. You’ll feel less stressed and you’ll get there in the end.
  • Don’t bottle things up. We ALL need other people in our lives. Phone or message family and/or friends and have a ‘good old chat’. They will appreciate the contact too! So KEEP IN TOUCH.
  • Make time for yourself, we ALL deserve it! Allow yourself time to relax, be calm and do NOTHING!
  • Sit in the garden (weather permitting) and just take time to stop, listen and look around you. Maybe close your eyes and listen. If you are indoors, open a window and let the fresh air in. Listen to soothing music or if you have access to the internet there are numerous meditation links available.
  • Practise breathing exercises. Breathe in deeply through your nose and exhale slowly through your mouth. Do this several times, you’ll be amazed how much calmer you feel.
  • Practise some positive thinking. At the end of each day, reflect on 3 things that went well that day or that made you smile.

And on a final note, be kind to yourself and others. Take care and keep smiling through this difficult time 😊 Carole

You May find our Tai-Ch Style relaxation video useful for reducing stress, please read the exercise guidance notes before taking part.  Click on the link to startTai-Chi Inspired Relaxation Video