How to recognise stress & 4 ways to manage it

Stress is all around us. It impacts all of us on a day to day basis, hour to hour and minute to minute. And while stress can be useful (anyone who has managed to scrape everything together just before a deadline knows what I mean), chronic stress and extremely high levels can really have a huge impact on both your physical and mental wellbeing.

Because we have become so used to being moderately stressed, it can become hard to spot until your levels have gone through the roof. Here are some signs to look out for today to draw your awareness to just how stressed you might be;

  1. Trouble drifting off to sleep, or staying asleep. Conversely, you might be sleeping too much because you feel tired all the time.
  2. Cold sore flare ups, mouth ulcers and acne breakouts.
  3. Indecisiveness, lack of focus and feeling overwhelmed.
  4. Headaches, neck and shoulder pain/tension.
  5. Irritability or restlessness.
  6. Digestive issues – diarrhoea, constipation, nausea

Now, if you recognise some of these stress indicators in yourself, you probably want to know what you can do to reduce or manage it….

  1. Get active – the answer nobody wanted to hear but it is the truth. It doesn’t have to be massively strenuous, a walk or a jog will work wonders. Even better if you can get out in the fresh air and sunlight, which will have a knock on effect to your sleep.
  2. Nutrition – if you are anything like me, all nutritional sense goes out the window the minute I’m slightly inconvenienced. But increases in caffeine, sugar and alcohol (and the likely reduction in nutrient rich foods) is adding fuel to the fire.
  3. Talk or write – they say a problem shared is a problem halved. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone about your mental load, try journaling. Just emptying your thoughts out on to paper can provide some much needed clarity.
  4. Learn how to relax – scrolling on Facebook while half watching the telly at the same time as eating your dinner and texting a friend is the opposite of relaxing. Put your full attention into one thing – learn to paint/knit/speak Mandarin, volunteer, spend time with friends, meditate, walk the dog. Having a massage is a great way to engage the mind-body connection and calm the nervous system, in turn helping to improve sleep.

If your stress levels have got to a point where they aren’t productive, book an appointment today for some judgement free escapism and leave feeling like yourself again.