The more you ‘know about your stressors’, the easier it is to do something about them. Symptoms of stress are very often experienced – as a mix of anxiety, depression, panicky feelings, poor sleep and poor wellbeing.
Learn to recognise the triggers
Everyone knows exactly how stress affects their body and vice-versa. So, this is a good place to start. We make sense of what happens to our bodies when we get stressed, look at the role of stress in protecting us from threat and talk about fight/flight.
Skills include how to get the best from exercise; whether too much caffeine is playing a role, how to use your belly breathing and progressive relaxation to control stress. Take up resistance training – this is hugely beneficial for your brain, muscles and bones.
Control Your Thoughts
Getting in touch with stress thoughts is a lot harder than describing body symptoms but controlling thoughts will be, for many, the key to success. Practice meditation, mindfulness, and breath work.
Control Your Actions
Now we have learned about the body and thoughts, we turn to actions and divide them into two: avoidance and behaviour. While avoidance works in the short term, it makes things worse in the long term. When stress affects our behaviour, it makes us more self-conscious and feeds into our stressed thoughts and body (creating another vicious circle).
Control Panicky Feelings
Some of us have panic attacks; most of us have panicky feelings so we will learn about both. We will explain what panic feelings are and what they are not. We’ll look, in detail, at the role of breathing and look at ways to prevent these feelings arising in the first place.
Skills include using everything we have learned so far as we look at how best to combine them.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Daytime stress tends to affect your sleep. And, if you don’t recharge your batteries, it makes your stress worse the next day. And another vicious circle emerges. So, getting a good night’s sleep is crucial in helping get back on top of your stress. We’ll look at what happens when we sleep and the importance of deep and dream sleep.
Skills include simple sleeping tips and, for those with long-standing problems, a great way to retrain your sleep. Sleep is hugely important for health and wellbeing. Lots of people are sleep deprived which results in energy deprivation which in turn will add to stress and discomfort.
Boost Your Wellbeing
The very best way to get on top of stress is to hit it from two sides: learn skills to control stress (as above) and, at the same time, learn ways to boost your wellbeing. Eat a healthy wholesome diet. Drink plenty of fresh water, herb teas etc. Cut alcohol and sugar.
Turn off your phone. Any of us who were working pre 1995 know that when you left work you were virtually impossible to get in contact with, there was an answer machine on your phone in your house , but you did not check it 24/7. It simply was not the done thing where as now we are contactable 24/7 /365 which is unhealthy!
Take holidays - get away from everything and switch off - spend quality time with loved ones. Enjoy yourself - have fun.
Covid19 has taught people how to be together - the rat race of chasing to and from work etc stopped. But it has unfortunately brought different stressors. Hopefully this will start to lift soon.
Get out in nature – enjoy walks by the sea and or in green areas, woods etc. Develop new interests that you can lose yourself in.
Down load an app that teaches you to relax like ‘Head space’. https://www.headspace.com/covid-19