Stress Awareness Month: Top Tips for Combating Stress
This month is dedicated to one of the most significant causes of health problems in the UK, and indeed around the world: stress.
April is Stress Awareness Month, with all manner of individuals and organisations taking this month-long initiative as an opportunity to promote social awareness of the causes and cures for stress through a wide range of events.
In the UK, 12.5 million working days were lost due to work-related stress, depression or anxiety in 2016/17 alone. More generally, it is estimated that one in six people in the past week will have experienced a common mental health problem.
Of course, the causes of stress are too numerous to name. But the potential consequences of stress are not to be taken lightly. In fact, constant stress over a long period of time can contribute to problems for the heart and blood vessels – in turn, the increase in heart rate and elevated levels of stress hormones can trigger issues such as high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
But how do you combat stress? Well, here are some top tips from Pharmacy Outlet, which combine better-known pieces of advice with more unusual suggestions of things that have also been proven to help.
· Sleep more. Stress can disrupt sleeping patterns, as people lie awake with thoughts buzzing around in their head – unfortunately this is a vicious cycle as sleep deprivation can increase stress levels. To aid the chances of a good night’s sleep, go to bed earlier, avoid anything too mentally strenuous just before bed, and try things like reading or taking a bath to wind down.
· Exercise regularly. Exercising is an effective way to relieve stress, and it is also proven to help combat anxiety and mild depression. As a guide, adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity – such as fast walking or cycling – a week.
· Reduce alcohol, caffeine and nicotine intake. All of these substances are stimulants, and as such they will intensify stress-related problems. Try to curb your consumption of them.
· Talk about your problems. Whether it’s speaking to a medical professional, opening up with a friend, or keeping a diary, finding ways to offload about the problems in your life is a good method for preventing tension from building up.
And if you find that these pieces of advice don’t work for you, then you can always try one of the following, less common techniques:
· Pet a dog. In a recent experiment among students and professionals, petting a dog was proven to release stress.
· Keep things tidy. Both in the office and in the home, keeping your desk or personal space tidy is another tried and tested way of lowering tension.
· Improve your posture. The temptation when you’re stressed can be to slump or slouch. However, doing so has been shown to make matters worse. Instead, sit or stand up straight; this can boost one’s self-esteem and overall mood.
If you suffer from on-going issues related to stress, depression or anxiety, speak to your pharmacist or GP to see how they can help.