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There's nothing worse than stress getting the better of you. The endless list of things to do always seems to leave your own needs last and evokes a war zone between your mind and body. The numerous work deadlines, career dilemmas, and personal commitments generate a tolerance for migraines, bitten fingernails and bad eating habits; finding yourself indulging in too many naughty snacks or sometimes not eating at all. But don't allow stress to become a regular occurrence in your daily life, or worse the cause of bad health and unhappiness.
Take a deep breath and count to three, look after yourself and banish stress with our 8 effective de-stress techniques:
When you have a lot to do it's easy to create a ridiculously long list that is impossible to complete in one day. Structuring your time around achievable tasks helps to reduce stress levels, allowing you to be pleased with what you have accomplished at the end of each day.
Recharge your batteries once in a while, to help regain energy and be more efficient. At given breaks unwind at the gym or in a quiet area at home by doing exercise, whether it is swimming, yoga, cardio or dancing to your favourite music. No matter what you do, exercise is an effective way to release anxiety and tension, enhancing your body's capability and your mind's well-being.
During stressful periods, eating and drinking at regular intervals is important to nourish and hydrate your mind. Although crisps and biscuits are a tempting option to subside a heavy schedule, tuck in to healthy snacks, like fruit, yogurts, salads or a light sandwich to give you an extra buzz of energy. Also, replace caffeine with plenty of water or fresh juices, to calm your nerves and refresh yourself with nutritious goodness.
Closing the laptop and getting away from your workstation, gives our minds and eyes a break from a stressful task. Going into a different room to talk to a relative or phoning a friend/partner to gossip helps to refocus our energy on others and ourselves. A motivational talk or a little laugh can put yourself in a good mood, releasing tension and setting you up for the rest of the day.
A warm bath is the perfect way to relieve stress and ease the mind and body. Fill your tub with bubbles and scented oils, switch on soothing music and light a candle to relax your nerves and indulge in a private getaway. This will give you the opportunity to zone out and simply let go for a while.
Breathing properly ensures that your body is receiving the right amount of oxygen to carry out daily activities. However, when we are stressed, many of us experience shallow breathing, which means that we breathe using only our chests and restrict the oxygen circulation in our bodies. Taking deep breaths lead by abdominal movement, ensures the brain is getting the maximum oxygen it needs as well as putting your body at ease. Meditating or practising yoga in quiet places are key strategies to carry out breathing exercises effectively.
An unproductive day limited by mental blocks and frustration can send stress levels sky high. So instead of getting worked up, take a few reflective moments and look forward to special plans you have pre booked, such as a family holiday, a night out with friends or a cosy night in with your partner. Encouraging good thoughts helps to overcome emotional stress and effectively soothes the mind.
If you don't have any plans made yet, jot a few down and look forward to reaping the rewards for all your hard work.
Finding the opportunity to rest is the least of our worries when we are stressed. But being deprived of sleep prevents our brains from functioning and makes it more difficult for us to concentrate and get things done. A good night's rest helps to restore our energy, making it feasible to retain information and perform tasks to our best ability.