In association with Mental Health Awareness week we have put together a few everyday tips that can help to reduce stress. Stress can seem like a very normal part of day to day life, but the knock on effect can be really noticeable- especially when it begins to affect your sleep.
Daily journaling can foster a sense of calmness and relaxation in the mind and body. Writing about events and stressful situations can help to categorize wayward emotions and helps to reduce the anxiety that is associated with them.
Drinking a lot of caffeine can increase your heart rate. We have all been in that situation where we have highly caffeinated ourselves, feel no more lively for it and are struck with awful, sickly high-alert feelings. This one is common sense- the less you consume on a daily basis, the better off you will feel. If you can’t manage without the taste of tea or coffee, opt for decaf. At the very least employ a no-caffeine after 5pm approach.
You have to remember to take time for yourself throughout the week, otherwise you will wear yourself thin. Perform a mental inventory each week, nothing too deep if you find it upsetting. What can you do to make yourself feel even just a smidgen better? Have a shower? Eat a little bit? Step outside for 30 seconds?
Going outside and getting fresh air can be refreshing. The exposure to natural sunlight can help release serotonin which increases the feeling of calmness. So, going outside for a walk can help clear your mind and help induce calmness. If you don’t want to be with your thoughts for that long, find a podcast that distracts you. It feels like company and you will find yourself talking along in no time.
If life is overwhelming you, ‘me time’ can be invaluable. Find a playlist that evokes happiness. Put on a series. Sit in the garden and have 2 minutes to just decompress. People often think ‘me time’ has to be all face masks and bath bombs, but it can be as simple as leaving for a get together, 10 minutes later and spending that time sitting on the couch thinking about absolutely nothing at all.
The sight of clutter can send a signal to the brain that there is “something” that needs to be done. A cluttered environment can amplify any feelings of stress and anxiety. A little bit of organising makes jobs seem less mammoth and for those of us who aren’t neurotypical, the act of having to find things every day can be exhausting and upsetting. Even designating a ‘special drawer’ full of important items and documents counts towards decluttering.
Introducing and eating nutritious foods on a daily basis can help keep you fit and healthy, which helps you feel good inside and out. Foods that contain vitamin B-6, B-3 and B-12 have elements of zinc and magnesium in them that have shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety. Another way to take care of your body is by ensuring that you drink at least 2 litres of water a day. Even if you feel unable to do anything else all day, please just drink a little bit of water.
Allow yourself up to an hour or two before going to sleep without electronic devices. This includes TV, phones, tablets and laptops. The backlight ‘bluelight’ displays suppress melatonin production, also known as the hormone that helps you sleep. The disruption of this can cause sleep disturbance. Read a book, a trashy magazine, have a bath or paint your nails.
If you experience insomnia or poor sleep quality at night, napping will only aggravate these issues. Try going for a walk, have a short cold-ish shower. Napping for 20 minutes can help if you are able to sleep at night without disturbance, but any longer than 20 minutes, you run the risk of struggling to fall asleep and you will wake up feeling groggy, sleepy and worse for it.