Stress Awareness Month, an important time for us to highlight how we’re here to support you with your emotional wellbeing. By all learning a little more about stress and what we can do to prevent it, we also look out for one another.
Did you know that stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances”?
We all feel a bit stressed sometimes, and a little can be useful to spur us on to meet a goal. But when we experience it for a long period, our body builds up stress hormones which affects our physical and mental health.
Remember, our Just ‘B’ emotional wellbeing team are Hear to Help from 8am-8pm every day on (01423) 856 799 and are ready to listen if you’re feeling worried or stressed.
Over this month, our caring experts will be sharing tips that you can try each day to help you feel calmer. You may wish to share the PDF link below with your friends, family or colleagues, or print it out to display.
Day 1: Check your sleep routine. Can you go to bed bit earlier, or get up a bit earlier? Is your sleeping space ready to relax in?
Day 2: Take a mindful moment – sit inside or outside, and take some deep breaths. Notice what you can hear, feel, taste, hear and see.
Day 3: Write a letter or card to a friend – slow down and take time, rather than just a text. It will make the recipient feel great too.
Day 4: Plant some seeds in a pot – there is nothing more rewarding or calming than to watch seeds grow.
Day 5: Take some time out to stimulate your brain – learn something that’s a bit difficult that is just for you. You could find a puzzle game on your phone, or even learn some greetings in a different language.
Day 6: Be strict with your routine; work is work and life is life – make sure to schedule in time for doing things for yourself and try not to let work life overlap into homelife.
Day 7: How are you feeling? Keep a mood diary each day – it can be as detailed or as simple as you like. Are there patterns to your moods?
Did you know we all have our own “stress signature”? This is our own personal sign that we are becoming stressed. It may include: things in the body such as muscle tension or a sore throat; changes in behaviour such a lack of concentration or overeating; thoughts that we’re not good enough or focusing on the negatives; feelings of overwhelm or failure. Do you know what your stress signature is?
Day 8: Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated every day
Day 9: Look at your eating habits – are you eating a lot of sugary foods, caffeine and alcohol, which can all exacerbate feelings of stress?
Day 10: Get moving – inside or outside. If the weather is not great, put on some tunes guaranteed to make you dance.
Day 11: Make a ‘to do’ list, get it all down on paper and then prioritize what needs to be done.
Day 12: Write down three positive experiences that have happened to you today. If you can do this every day, it can help you realise almost every day has positives.
Day 13: Time to talk? If you’re feeling isolated, low in mood, anxious or stressed, reach out to someone.
Day 14: Arrange a self-care date just for you. Plan something enjoyable – a trip out, a walk, a visit to a café, an indulgent pamper evening.
What causes stress? At work, things like having too many tasks, unclear expectations or difficult relationships with colleagues can lead to tension or emotional strain. Or at home, things like housing issues, financial challenges or health problems can make us feel stressed.
If you’re looking for someone to support you with your emotional wellbeing, our Just ‘B’ team are Hear to Help from 8am-8pm every day on (01423) 856 799 and are ready to listen.
Day 15: Express gratitude. Make a point of identifying things you feel grateful for. Write them down daily, if you want.
Day 16: If you work is stressing you out, work differently. Look into Tony Schwartz or the Pomodoro technique: short, sharp bursts of work and recharge. If things are really hard, can you make time to talk to a manager, to see if things can change?
Day 17: Fake it til you make it – forcing a fake smile actually helps to reduce stress. It can lower your heart rate and fool your brain.
Day 18; Go for a walk somewhere different – the exercise and change of scenery will do you good.
Day 19: Smell the roses – essential oils such as chamomile, clary sage and lavender reputedly help you to feel more relaxed.
Day 20: Not everyone is able to run a marathon, but physical activity produces endorphins—chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers–and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress.
Day 21: Do a random act of kindness for someone.
Positive coping strategies can be a great way to relieve building tension and reset before stress starts to become too much. Which are your favourite ways to unwind?
Day 22: Determine what is in and out of your control: We often stress about things we have no power over. Is it going to rain during our party? If we separate out what we have power over and what we don’t, we can lean into the things that we can control and let go of the things we cannot.
Day 23: Give someone a hug: Physical acts of touch increase oxytocin levels. This chemical reaction can help to reduce blood pressure, which in turn reduces the risk of heart disease. It can also help to reduce stress and anxiety.
Day 24: Have a Digital Detox – do something that doesn’t involve a screen to allow you to disconnect from the ‘always on’ world we’re currently living in. If the news is making you feel stressed, turn off the news apps!
Day 25: Spend time with pets: Studies show that interactions with animals can decrease stress in humans. Playing with an animal can increase levels of the stress-reducing hormone oxytocin and decrease the production of the stress hormone cortisol.
Day 26: Make time to curl up with a good book and ‘escape’ the real world for a while.
Day 27: If money (or lack of it) is making you feel stressed, spend a day working out a realistic budget and check any benefits you may be able to claim.
Day 28: Take a deep breath. Literally. Breathing techniques can calm you down in a few minutes. Have a look online for lots of simple breathing exercises to tackle stress.
Day 29: Clean and organise your workspace/room: starting with what you can actually control (what’s immediately in front of you) and then gradually increase your sphere of influence.
Day 30: Let yourself feel what you need to feel and acknowledge that all emotions come as part of the human experience.
Our caring, trained Just ‘B’ volunteers are Hear to Help from 8am-8pm every day on (01423) 856 799 and are ready to listen.