Step 1: Learn to recognise your own reactions to stress.
Everyone has different reactions to stress. You may feel physical tension in you neck, shoulders, back or a niggly sensation in an old injury. You may experience nausea or an upset stomach. Bad habits might kick in, such as overeating or nail biting. Stress can also result in an inability to complete tasks, feeling overwhelmed and emotional, being angry or wanting to cry. Step one is to know what signs to look out for.
Step 2: List the small things you can realistically action
Making small changes in your life can help you reduce stress – think of them as your personal ‘stress busters’. This could include a walk to clear your mind, lying quietly on the floor for five minutes and focus on your breathing. Take time out to meditate or do Tai Chi.
Step 3: List the things that make you happy
What do you love doing? What gives you a sense of wellbeing? What’s something you have always intended to try – but continually put off? Fit one or more of these activities into your daily life. Doing things we enjoy helps increase the endorphins, serotonins and dopamine in your body which all help to replace the stress chemicals.
Step 4: Separate your stress from others
Some of us are prone to absorb stress from others. It’s important to separate your stress from other people’s stress and to be aware of your stress reactors. Know when you’re experiencing stress and be aware of situations you know will trigger it. Remove yourself from the situation so you can manage your stress in a timely and effective manner.
Step 5: Live a healthy lifestyle
It’s important to be aware of your mind/body relationship. They are integrally connected and each can have negative and positive impacts on the other. If you know you have a particularly stressful period of live approaching, pay extra attention to your physical health and lifestyle. this will allow you to navigate the difficult period effectively, with a clearer mind and a heathier body.
Step 6: Choose foods that are closer to nature
Eliminating processed, tinned and packaged foods from your diet puts your body in a better place to deal with the discomfort and challenges it may face. You will also have greater mental clarity.
Step 7: Stay at a health retreat
Taking a health holiday will allow you to reflect. It helps you do a stocktake on what’s working your life and what’s not. A holiday that gives you the time and space you need to create the initial health shift can be the best way to release stress and move forward in a positive and productive way.
Step 8: Try some yoga or meditation classes
If you haven’t time for a holiday, these activities are also an opportunity for you to reflect and start your health journey.