Everyone experiences stress at some point for many different reasons. While small doses of stress now and then can be easily managed, excessive and long-term stress can leave you feeling overwhelmed and cause various health issues.
Stress can affect you mentally, emotionally and physically. If you’re exposed to continuous periods of high stress, you can increase your risk of high blood pressure, headaches, stroke, heart disease and infertility. On top of physical health issues, stress can also cause depression and anxiety.
Here are eight effective ways to reduce your stress levels.
The best place to start when reducing your stress levels is to identify what is making you more stressed. While juggling multiple issues at the same time can make you feel stressed, working out what the biggest factor is first can help you formulate a plan.
You can then take control of the situation, whether that’s looking for a new job, dealing with family issues or something else. This in itself can empower you and leave you feeling less stressed as you know you’re proactively doing something to improve your situation.
Be mindful that the solution to the problem may take some time to achieve, so you also need to make sure you’re looking after yourself during difficult times.
Exercise can help you feel less stressed, but that doesn’t mean you need to head to the gym every day. Getting your blood pumping will release endorphins that help lift your mood and make you feel less stressed. You can enjoy this effect whether you go for a walk, have a swim or lift some weights.
Making time to exercise every day, even if only for a few minutes at a time, can help you feel significantly better.
Feeling stressed can cause you to have sleepless nights, which in turn can lead to more stress. Not getting enough good quality sleep can leave your brain and body feeling exhausted, so you’re less able to cope with stress.
You can encourage better sleep by avoiding screens in the hour before you go to bed, keeping your bedroom tidy, dimming the lights and giving yourself time to relax. If you’re still struggling to sleep, you may want to talk to your GP.
Giving your mind a break from stress is important, but you can’t do this if you’re always running around doing things. This is why you need to ensure you have some down time to yourself so you can relax.
What is relaxing for one person may not be for you, so find out what works best for you. Plan some time every week, if not every day, to do something for yourself that allows you to relax. This could be enjoying one of your hobbies, having a bath, getting out in nature, reading a book, doing some yoga, watching a film or anything else you fancy.
Trying to deal with stress on your own can feel overwhelming. It’s important to talk to someone, whether it’s a friend, family member, GP or therapist. This will allow you to vocalise how you’re feeling and work through everything that’s making you feel stressed.
As well as helping to get it off your chest, this will provide you with support and someone else may have an idea on how to resolve the situation that you haven’t thought of.
It can be too easy to fall back on junk food and unhealthy meals when you’re feeling stressed, but this can make you feel worse in the long run. Eating a healthy, balanced diet gives your body and mind the energy and nutrients it needs to better cope with your increased stress levels.
While the odd treat now and then is fine, make sure you’re getting plenty of fruit, vegetables and healthy proteins daily.
As well as steering clear of junk food, you should avoid relying on other unhealthy habits to cope with your stress. Relying on things such as smoking, alcohol and caffeine to cope with your stress isn’t healthy.
Over time, these bad habits will cause new problems without resolving the original challenges you were facing. This is why it’s important to deal with what is causing you stress rather than trying to ignore it by indulging in unhealthy behaviour.
Looking after yourself and reminding yourself that you’re doing the best you can goes a long way toward reducing stress and helping you to stay positive. You need to remember there’s only so much you can do and that you deserve to rest and take time for yourself.
This can help you feel less stressed, ensure you get the support you need and may encourage you to make positive changes that eliminate the causes of your stress.
If you're concerned about symptoms you're experiencing or require further information on the subject, talk to a GP or see an expert consultant at your local Spire hospital.
Niched in the care sector, Cahoot Care Marketing offers a full range of marketing services for care businesses including: SEO, social media, websites and video marketing, specialising in copywriting and content marketing.
Over the last five years Cahoot Care Marketing has built an experienced team of writers and editors, with broad and deep expertise on a range of care topics. They provide a responsive, efficient and comprehensive service, ensuring content is on brand and in line with relevant medical guidelines.
Their writers and editors include care sector workers, healthcare copywriting specialists and NHS trainers, who thoroughly research all topics using reputable sources including the NHS, NICE, relevant Royal Colleges and medical associations.
The Spire Content Hub project was managed by:
Lux Fatimathas, Editor and Project Manager
Lux has a BSc(Hons) in Neuroscience from UCL, a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from the UCL Institute of Ophthalmology and experience as a postdoctoral researcher in developmental biology. She has a clear and extensive understanding of the biological and medical sciences. Having worked in scientific publishing for BioMed Central and as a writer for the UK’s Medical Research Council and the National University of Singapore, she is able to clearly communicate complex concepts.
Catriona Shaw, Lead Editor
Catriona has an English degree from the University of Southampton and more than 12 years’ experience copy editing across a range of complex topics. She works with a diverse team of writers to create clear and compelling copy to educate and inform.
Alfie Jones, Director — Cahoot Care Marketing
Alfie has a creative writing degree from UCF and initially worked as a carer before supporting his family’s care training business with copywriting and general marketing. He has worked in content marketing and the care sector for over 10 years and overseen a diverse range of care content projects, building a strong team of specialist writers and marketing creatives after founding Cahoot in 2016.