What is stress?
“Everything in small doses” is the one of the most infamous life how-to’s. So it should go without saying that this applies to stress as well.
Have you ever almost dropped a glass, fell flat on your face or almost rear-ended a vehicle? Let’s take a moment to learn and appreciate that stress played a part in kicking your body into emergency alert mode, helping you avoid those situations.
Stress is a natural body reaction, helping you focus, stay energetic and alert. But once that small dose of stress increases exponentially in amount and frequency, the benefits of stress make way for the problems. Symptoms of stress can be cognitive, emotional, physical or behavioural, for example:
- Memory problems
- Anxious thoughts
- Moodiness or anger
- Chest pain
- Sleeping too much or too little
Learning how to reduce stress can help you deal with situations which could otherwise instruct your body to turn on its defence mechanisms.
5 Simple stress management tips to help you keep calm and simply your life
1. Manage your time to manage your stress
Managing your time is a skill that will help you learn what tasks are actually going to contribute to your productivity and goals, compared to the ones that you can save for a rainy day. As Bruce Lee said, “It’s not the daily increase but daily decrease. Hack away at the unessential.”
Write down the tasks that you think you need to complete. Don’t overthink it, just scribble it down. Then prioritise them in a manner with which you’re comfortable. Colour coding techniques such as the traffic light system (with red equalling high priority tasks to green being the ones you can prolong) can be a quick way to reduce unnecessary stressors. Once you’re done prioritising, the next step is controlling your time – this may sound superhuman but we promise it’s possible. Try the following methods:
- Break up large tasks into shorter, spaced out ones.
- Kill long-term deadlines for now and focus on the smaller, short-term tasks. This will make you feel like you’re accomplishing more (even if this is just a sneaky change in the manner you complete your long-term goals).
- Say “no.” We’re sure you’ve heard this one before. Remember that this is how to reduce stress in your life – not others. Let go of commitments that are not your responsibility.
2. Give stress the boot – naturally
There are many non-drug remedies to help your body give itself a calming time out to help reboot from life’s stressors. From soothing teas to scented oils, try to find something suitable for your level of stress.
- Chamomile tea not only reduces stress and anxiety, it also helps treat insomnia. It has great benefits in relaxing the muscles and reducing irritability.
- Lavender oil. In addition to supporting your immune system, lavender is known to be a calming and relaxing herb and has frequently been used to ease insomnia, anxiety, depression and stress.
- Omega 3s. Found in flaxseed oil, walnuts and oily fish such as salmon, omega-3 boasts positive effects on mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.
3. Sweat out that stress
Good news! It’s not just your physique that exercise improves; it’s also vital for maintaining mental wellness and reducing stress. This is accomplished by the release of happy chemicals, more commonly known as endorphins, when you take on a physical activity. Endorphins act as natural painkillers and help improve sleep patterns and reduce the effects of stress on your mind and body.
Chat to your fitness physician to find an exercise programme suitable for your schedule and body type. Remember that even a little physical activity each day will go a long way to improved mental and physical health. Try different forms of exercise to find out what works best for you – yoga counts just as much as doing laps in the pool. And working in an office environment holds no reason to skip exercise during the day.
4. Do what you love to love your mood
Quite often the jobs we do on a daily basis are not something we actually enjoy doing. Rather it’s more of a paycheque to support our lifestyle and budget. Get in touch with your inner kid again – find something that you love doing and set short-term goals for yourself.
Whether it’s as simple as completing a puzzle or a project that will end up contributing to your bank account – the time spent on a ‘passion project’ will reduce stress and improve your mood due to the fact that you’re doing something you’re passionate about.
5. Disconnect from the screens
As much as modern technology has become an essential part of our lives, the effects of the dependency and overuse of it are detrimental to our mental wellness. Experts agree that intensive use of cell phones and computers can be linked to an increase in stress, sleep disorders and depressive symptoms in young adults.
Disconnect from devices to give your mind a much-needed reboot. We suggest:
- Make sleep time about you, not your smartphone or tablet. Instead of using screen time to help you fall asleep, try meditation or a cup of chamomile tea. Leave your devices in the living room instead of on your bedside table to further prevent any technical disturbance during the night.
- Take mini tech breaks. Whilst at work, look away from the computer screen to help clear your mind and refocus.
- Block the stressors. And by this, we mean the people and pages on your newsfeeds who tend to make you feel anxious or negative. Instead of following social media platforms that leave you feeling inadequate, follow inspirational pages to motivate you in a positive manner.
We hope these tips go some way in helping not only your mind and body stay healthy but making your lifestyle even healthier as well. Take a look at our affordable medical aid options and get in touch with us today.
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