Today is National Stress Awareness day… good timing with the UK going in a second National Lockdown tomorrow.
What even is ‘Stress’?
Stress is the body's reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure.
Experiencing stress over a long period of time can cause mental health issues and emotional exhaustion.
I’m sure you all know that overwhelming feeling of just everything being too much!! People can get stressed over anything. I know I get stressed when I don’t prioritise / plan my work, when the kitchen is messy, when I feel like I have too much to do in one day, when things don’t go my way, social media, worrying I won’t be able to go home for Christmas. They might sound silly to some, but to me, they stress me out!!!
You can be really stressed (physically and mentally) and not even realise. So, even if you think you are fine… try and be aware and mindful of your emotions, whatever they are.
I’ve spotted some great tips online this week on how to manage stress and ways to help you get through the second lockdown, so I wanted to share my favourites!
- Make peace with the things that are out of your control. Focus on the things you can control.
- Keep reminding yourself that your feelings are valid, allow yourself to feel, process and let go.
- Don’t compare how you are coping to how others are. We all deal with things in different ways. There is no right, there is no wrong.
- Know your triggers and put boundaries in place with yourself and with others to avoid them.
- Find your calm place, it could be your favourite spot on the sofa with your favourite blankets or it could be a memory you visualise. When things get too much, go there are reset.
- Remember you don’t have to be productive in your downtime. You don’t have to bake banana bread or learn the mandolin or study Italian. Having a shower and eating toast and existing is just as legitimate. Though if you do want to make something, make hummus. It is a pretty chill activity I find.
- Reframe uncertainty. Uncertainty can have positive effects. When we realise we can’t predict the future we can spend that energy in the present. Focusing on the place and people and world right in front of us.
‘Live in the question’ as Rilke put it.
- Breathe. Breath is your mood barometer. To know how you feel, place your hand on your stomach and feel your breath. Then slow it. A busy brain wants nothing less and needs nothing more than to slow down.
- Appreciate the outside world. Nature is calming because it connects us with eternity. The sky is always the sky. A tree doesn’t give a shit about the news. We are nature. We become ourselves within it.
- Diary: Planning my days and weeks ahead, and finding routine, has been crucial for my own mental health. You can take this one step further and start journaling, by simply scribbling down your thoughts or worries, or even just writing down something grateful for.
- Exercise: whether it's a walk, a jog, a home workout or a dance party in the kitchen. Daily movement is so important for both your physical and mental health. If you can do it outdoors, even better!
There are going to be a lot of mixed feelings over the next 4 weeks, but whatever your thoughts, we are in this together. You can find more advice on looking after your mental health at work and home in the Forward Role Wellness Blogs
“ Remember this will one day be over and we will appreciate the things we couldn’t do more than ever before. This is a massive value check. We have learned what we really need and miss and what and who we can do without. And very often the worst of times lead to the best of us. Change is pain, but pain is growth. We sometimes need the shade to accentuate the light.” – Matt Haig
Sophie Page is Senior Analytics Recruitment Consultant and resident Wellness Warrior at Forward Role