What is Stress? “A psychological and physical response of the body that occurs whenever we must adapt to changing conditions, whether those conditions be real or perceived, positive or negative”. Stress affects everyone in different ways. It affects how we feel and act. It can cause tiredness, negative thinking, as well as anxiety, frustration, anger, self-pity, and unhappiness. Ongoing stress can cause havoc on our bodies and minds resulting in illness and emotional imbalance. Stress can worsen certain illnesses, such as cancer, heart disease and many more. It can also trigger substance misuse among people and affect recovery for most. To avoid this havoc, it is important to know what to do during this time and practice self-care activities.
Sleep is very important for your overall wellbeing. Not getting enough sleep can have a negative impact on your ability to handle stress and perform properly. Try committing to 7-9 hours of sleep each night for a week and see how you feel when properly rested.
Poor nutrition can make you more susceptible to stress. However, like a circle, stress can make it harder to maintain good nutrition, which in turn can cause more stress. Fuelling your body with healthy food will help you handle the demands of your hectic life. Check out our previous blog on nutrition and mental health
Regular exercise has been shown to improve a person’s state of mind. Exercising promotes the release of endorphins. Endorphins are neurotransmitters with aid in the feeling of pain relief. But that’s not all, endorphins are also linked to feelings of happiness, change in appetite, memory, and controlling body temperature. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in the gym, just a thirty-minute workout or walk, a few times a week will benefit you. Check out our previous blog on how to stay motivated during the winter months.
When stressed you need time to nourish your mind and body. Block off time in your weekly schedule to give yourself time to relax. Practise for mediation or relaxation techniques.
Also try enjoying in other leisure activities such as a nice bubble bath, massage, listen to some music, etc. to help you fully unwind.
Many who experience stress are not making good lifestyle changes required to reduce stress. However, it is essential to make good lifestyle decisions to improve health and stress. It is important to remember that if you are feeling stressed for a long time it is important to contact a licensed mental health professional, such as a psychologist. Proper interventions (i.e. lifestyle changes), therapy, and in certain cases, medication can help treat prolonged stress.
Written by Alannagh Kelly