8 helpful ways to deal with stress

Do you find you often feel stressed?

Are your nights disrupted with poor sleep?

Is your mind often thinking about too many things.

Then STOP.

It sounds as though you are stressed. 

Below are eight helpful ways of dealing with stress. Active change can help you build a happier life for yourself.

relieve stress

  1. Avoid caffeine and alcohol.

It is known that alcohol is a depressant. If you are stressed, alcohol will in the long term only increase your stress levels. Yes, it is a helpful crutch to release you from your stress in the short term but it only increases your stress in the long term. Matthew Walker has proven that caffeine before 3pm can disrupt your sleep. We all know that the less sleep we have, the more irritable and stressed we feel. Reduce the amount of caffeine will help decrease your stress levels. Instead of alcohol or coffee/ tea drink more water or try herbal teas. Birdhouse in Netheredge has a good range of herbal teas.

  1. Take up exercise

When we are stressed, there is an increase of cortisol in our bodies. This is the ‘fight or flight’ hormone that has evolved to protect us from immediate bodily harm. You need to find a way of releasing the build up of hormone. An easy way of doing this when you feel stressed is to go for a walk or take up physical activity. It is best to incorporate this into your daily life. If you find this difficult to achieve on your own. Can you start a lunch walking group at your work, or maybe look to see if there are local sport clubs in your area which you can join. 

  1. Improve sleep 

Lack of sleep increases stress. This then becomes a vicious circle. The worrying thoughts (we cannot get rid off) pop into our minds overnight which stops us sleeping. Lack of sleep increases our stress level. Matthew Walker in his book ‘Why we sleep‘ has come up with 10 useful ways to help increase your sleep level. This ranges from a good routine to not using electronic items before you go to bed.

  1. Relaxation techniques

You need to take 10 or 20 minutes each day to relax. This is proven to help reduce stress. You can try mindfulness. There are plenty of apps that can help you with this, for example, headspace or calm. For more information on mindfulness, have a loo here. Alternatively you can listen to music or try yoga. It may take a while for any of these suggested techniques to work. Don’t worry. It takes practice. It will improve with practice.

5. Keep a worry diary

Write down all your worries. You can either choose a time each day when you write for 10 minutes all about your worries and/or stresses. Or you choose to write down the time, date and place of when you felt stressed. This can include both your physical and emotional feelings. This will help you build a picture of what causes you stress and help you avoid the stress in the future. More information on writing a journal can be found here.

6. Manage your time

When you feel overburdened or overwhelmed, stress levels will increase. To-do-lists that keep growing means nothing gets done. You are probably spending more time thinking about your tasks you need to or you end up avoiding your tasks. 

You cannot do everything at once. Make a list of things to do. Decide what can be done today and what can be done during the week or maybe within a month. You may find it easier to prioritise the tasks. You are trying to make your list more manageable by spreading the tasks out as well as allowing things to be removed from the list every day.

  1. Learn to say ‘NO’

Many clients I work with identity that they are unable to say no to new things. This means they become overwhelmed or end up having too much on. This leads them to feeling stressed. People generally cannot say no as they fear they will cause conflict, rejection or will miss out. This is not true. You cannot do everything. You need to prioritise what is important to you. If you do not have time to take on another task, then say NO.

  1. Talk to someone

You’ve heard the saying ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’.  Is there anyone you can talk to help your stress seem less daunting or troubling. Talking can help you put your problem into perspective. If you are wanting to use a trained professional you can find qualified, accredited counsellors on BACP therapist register. Remember to check that your counsellor is part of the accredited register. You may find it helpful to have a list of questions you want a counsellor to ensure they are the right one for you.

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  1. Pingback: 10 ways nature can help improve your mental health - Counselling in your Community

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