Break out, not down
Stress can weigh us down all year round, but this time of the year can be particularly demanding. Whether it’s looming deadlines at work or the in-laws coming to stay, the ‘festive’ season can feel challenging to anyone.
Over a third of British residents feel stressed for at least one full day per week¹ which could be due to money, work or health concerns. With International Stress Awareness Day upon us, it is important to be able to recognise the signs of stress and what you can do to help it.
Signs of stress:
- Emotional changes – emotions tend to take over our bodies if we let them. It is normal to feel mixed emotions when dealing with stress, including anger, sadness, frustration and happiness.
- Physical changes – headaches, nausea and indigestion can come as a result of stress so getting as much sleep as possible is important.
- Behavioural changes – when you are stressed your behaviour can often change. You may lose sleep, become tearful or even irritable.
How you can help yourself:
- Identify the causes – it’s important to realise when stress is becoming a problem for you and knowing what the causes could be. Once you have recognised the signs and addressed the causes, make a plan to prioritise essential commitments and try to set yourself realistic goals.
- Review your workload – many workers are guilty of taking on too much at work and don’t know that they are allowed to ask for help. Are there tasks that can be handed over to someone else? Offloading work can reduce stress.
- Eat healthily – many of us don’t know it, but the food and drink we consume can affect our mood. Drinking too much caffeine, for example, may exacerbate depression. Adding protein to your diet can help slow the absorption of carbohydrates in your blood and increase the release of dopamine and norepinephrine, which can improve your mood.²
- Take time out – giving yourself some time to reboot and clear your mind is a crucial part of reducing stress.
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Photo by Aarón Blanco Tejedor on Unsplash