As it’s National Stress Awareness Day on 3rd November, I thought I would take this opportunity to talk about stress and how we can manage it.
Stress is our body’s natural response to pressure. The demands that the workplace and our day-to-day lives can place on us can be immensely overwhelming. It’s a reaction to the load we carry; family, deadlines, health issues, relationships, change, responsibilities – the list is endless, so it’s little wonder that we can become ill because of it.
Stress can manifest in many different forms. It can have a negative impact on our mental, emotional and even our physical wellbeing.
How? Some of the symptoms of stress might include
Struggling to make decisions
Feeling irritable or impatient
Unable to relax – feeling on edge
Muscle aches and pains
Loss of appetite
It’s common to have a mixture of symptoms all at the same time and this is when stress can become troublesome.
There is good news, however, in that stress can be managed. Taking time out from the stresses of the day and allowing ourselves to relax is essential to giving our mind, body and soul a chance to restore and recharge and gives us the energy we need to tackle stressful situations without it leaving any lasting damage.
Relaxation releases endorphins in the body which increase feelings of pleasure helping to reduce stress and the symptoms. Permitting ourselves to relax often feels difficult to do and something we don’t always feel is a priority, especially in times of high stress but with regular relaxation practise we can reap the rewards from it and take back control of stress.
Applying a relaxation technique to our self-care routine each day and doing something we enjoy will put us more at ease and in a happier, healthier and peaceful frame of mind which will help us to manage stress more effectively.
To give you inspiration, so you can get started on your journey into managing stress, I have briefly written below about four common relaxation techniques.
Deep breathing is the basis of many relaxation practises and can also be used as a stand-alone technique. It can be practised anywhere and no matter what stressful situation you are in you will always have your breath. Focus on deep inhale and exhale of breath as a quick way of reducing your stress levels.
Visualisation is a form of meditation that involves imagining a scene or place in which you feel relaxed and at peace. Another word for this technique is “happy place”. Choose an image that calms and soothes you. Imagine as much detail as possible and visualise yourself feeling comfortable.
Yoga combines deep breathing, mindfulness and body postures that focus on strength and flexibility giving you exercise as well as relaxation. Yoga is used by many as a relaxation technique to improve wellbeing when our mind and body become overloaded with stress and increase harmony within themselves.
Body Scan Meditation
This technique can be combined with deep breathing and involves paying attention to our physical bodies so we can become aware of muscle tension that we may have. Starting from the head and working down through all parts of the body we will become more mindful of where we hold tension so we can start to release it.
Of course, there are many more techniques out there that you could use, these are just a few of the practises that you can introduce in your daily life to help you manage your stress and feel more relaxed.
Final Thoughts on Stress
It’s important to remember that we shouldn’t feel ashamed for feeling stress. After all, we are only human, and we can only cope with so much before we start to “burn out”.
Taking time out from the stress we may be under and allowing ourselves to relax is something we all deserve and shouldn’t feel guilty for doing so as we and others will benefit from it overall.
However you decide to spend your time relaxing when you feel stressed, always remember to be kind to yourself. It will take practise but have faith in yourself and believe you can do it.
Are you ready to flourish?
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