Not only do we all experience stress, but the cases of stress and mental health have been rising dramatically in the past few decades. As it is Stress Awareness Month this April, we will go through 5 essential tips to manage stress.
Teenagers have become more anxious and stressed with the rise of social media due to social comparison and associating their self worth with the number of likes on their photos.
With the state of the economy and difficulty to get jobs, both young graduates and the older population are facing lots of pressure and stress.
The COVID pandemic negatively affected (and is still affecting) millions of people. Whether it is being restricted, not seeing family or fear of the virus, the pandemic has caused a lot of stress.
What is Stress?
Before going into the 5 essential tips to manage stress, we must understand what stress actually is. Stress is our body’s reaction to feeling threatened or pressured. Think of stress as a feedback signal indicating something needs to be done.
For example, if you lose all of your money, you may feel stressed as you have lost an essential resource for survival. Your body, through the release of the stress-hormones such as cortisol, indicates that you need to take action. You need to do something about all of that money you just lost.
If you think you’re suffering from stress, take a quick stress test.
Tip #1 - Speak to Someone
One of the more important tips to manage stress is to talk to somebody. Whether that person is a close friend or a licensed therapist, talking can help.
Talking to a friend allows you to feel some relief after letting out your stress, tension and other emotions. We are social creatures after all. It’s nice when someone else knows what we’re going through and can provide some level of comfort or support.
Talking to a therapist can allow you to let out information that you maybe wouldn’t to your friends or family. Assuming you have a good therapist, there won’t be any judgement. As a therapist is more specialised, they’ll be able to provide professional advice, guidance and treatment. If your case of stress is severe, please consider this option.
Tip #2 - Take Care of Your Health
Health should always come first and may be the most important of all tips to manage stress. Your physical health affects your mental health as much as your mental health affects your physical health. They complement each other like Yin and Yang.
The first area to improve your health is sleep. So many people disregard the importance of sleep but in reality, good sleep leads to good health and success. We’re no sleep experts, but we certainly recommend getting in 7-9 hours a night.
The next area to improve your health is with exercise. I think everybody knows that exercise should be done regularly, whether they actually exercise or not. However, here’s another reason to exercise: studies have shown that exercise can help reduce and manage stress. It helps with your overall mood, makes you feel better and improves your health, which in turn positively affects your mental health.
The third area to improve your health is with diet. It’s not easy to make an instant transition from eating extremely unhealthy to extremely healthy. So, all we recommend is making small steps and small improvements. Try to eat healthier. There is a strong connection between the gut and the brain. When you treat your gut well (i.e. with what you eat), you’re also treating your mind well.
So, eat more greens and other healthy foods. We also recommend taking food supplements to support your diet such as CBD. Our broad spectrum and full spectrum CBD products are loved by our customers. You can find a wide range of CBD oils, gummies, drinks, capsules, vapes and more at Excite for Life.
Tip #3 - Calm Your Mind Down
To be able to manage and reduce stress, it really helps to be able to calm your mind down. This is because with less noise in your head, you’re able to see your problems more clearly and take it from there.
The first thing to do when trying to calm your mind is to take deep breaths. Breathe slowly and deeply numerous times. You will then notice that your mind quietens down more.
Practising mindfulness can certainly help you calm down. Just sit (or lay) still and focus on your breathing for even just 5-10 minutes. We certainly recommend at least 10-30 minutes but if it takes practising mindfulness for 5 minutes just to get you started, then go for it. The more attention you place on your breathing, the less attention is going to be elsewhere.
You can clear your mind by going for a walk. Some fresh air, even for just a few minutes, can help calm you down and even interrupt your current thought patterns which are causing you distress.
If you really don’t want to do any of the above, listen to some music. Put on your favourite songs and either sit there or shake a leg. Music can have a calming effect on our minds and make us feel joy.
Tip #4 - Make Time for Hobbies
It can be hard with jobs, family and other responsibilities, but we strongly recommend trying to make time for hobbies. At the very least half an hour during the week, but ideally almost everyday.
Social hobbies are always great. If you can frequently meet up with friends or family and do activities together, go for it. You could go to a restaurant, go to movies, play sports, travel and much more.
Physical activity is certainly recommended, especially sports. We all love a competitive spirit and sports allows us to get some exercise too.
Doing things you enjoy and are intrinsically motivated by will help you feel happier in general as well as allow for a (hopefully) healthy escape from daily stresses.
Tip #5 - Get Organised
When things are disorganised and out of order, you’ll struggle to think straight. You’re adding additional stress and overwhelm to your existing stress and overwhelm.
This may be one of the more unusual tips to manage stress, but you should declutter and organise your environment. Every place you spend a lot of time in should be clean and organised. This includes your bedroom, living room and your desk/workspace (whether that’s at home or in an office). Physical clutter can also cause mental clutter.
Next, organise your digital environment. Delete apps you don’t need and that waste a lot of your time. Ask yourself, do you really need so many social media apps? Are they serving a real purpose? Or are they wasting your time? Social media can cause mental clutter and stress, especially with teenagers becoming victims of self-comparison.
Lastly, get your priorities straight. Write a todo list in order of priority. If you are stressed, there must be a lot going on. It is time for you to focus on the things you can control. What can you do now to make your situation better?
Follow these tips to manage stress
- Speak to someone – a close friend or perhaps a therapist.
- Take care of your health – sleep better, start exercising and improve your diet. Support your diet with food supplements such as CBD.
- Calm your mind down – consider breathing exercises, practising mindfulness, going for a walk or listening to music.
- Make time for hobbies – even if it is just for a small amount of time every week.
- Get organised – declutter your physical and digital environment and get your priorities straight.