It’s been a hell of a 2021 and as we approach the end of the year, some of us are finding life particularly stressful. With the reintroduction of some restrictions and the increasing threat of more to come, we might be forgiven for feeling a little more anxious than usual as well. Plus ,we have dark mornings, gloomy days, the pressure of work commitments and then getting ready for Christmas to contend with. We’re frazzled and we still have a few more weeks to get through before we can even begin to think about relaxing.
So, with so many plates left to spin and our stress levels rising exponentially, what can we do to keep ourselves calm and healthy this winter? In today’s blog we’re going to look at some tips to help us bust our stress and stay calm in the face of mounting priorities. Let’s dive in and get our stress levels back under control.
No matter how full your schedule seems to be, you have to make sure that you prioritise your own needs. Letting yourself become run-down, tired and miserable isn’t going to help anyone in the long run, let alone yourself. Make sure that you eat well, get enough sleep and exercise and take time out each day to relax and re-centre yourself.
During times when you feel particularly stressed out, take a break from whatever you’re doing and do something to take your mind off the problem. Make sure that you don’t spend the time worrying about how much you have to do as this won’t help you to rest and recharge. Pop on an episode of your favourite show, pick up a hobby that helps you to feel relaxed or have a bit of pamper time instead. Set a time period for your break and then get back to what needs to be done. Procrastinating and avoiding it will only increase your stress levels.
Don’t Overcommit Yourself
With so much going on in your life, remember that you don’t have to say ‘yes’ to everything and always prioritise others happiness before your own. It’s okay to say ‘no’ every now and then. If you’ve had a particularly busy week at work and you have a pile of chores that need to get done, then an invitation from a friend or family member on the weekend may not be what you need right now. Be honest and just reschedule for a less busy period.
As much as we’d all like to be superwomen and do everything, it’s just not realistic. Prioritise what you need to get done and then say ‘no’ to everything else until you’re in a place to be able to commit to doing more. This will help to ease your stress levels and help you to feel like there’s less on your plate.
Get Some Exercise
The dark and gloomy days of winter generally make us want to curl up under a blanket and hibernate. Unfortunately, this isn’t particularly good for either our mental or our physical health. Regular exercise can help us to decrease our stress levels, recover our sense of general wellbeing and improve our body’s response to stress.
Even half an hour of activity per day can improve our overall fitness and mental health. Pick up those weights first thing in the morning or go for a walk at lunchtime. Just make sure you get out of that office chair and get moving. If we end up in another lockdown, the last thing our body needs is another period of being a couch potato.
Practicing mindfulness on a regular basis has helped many people to deal with anxiety and stress. It doesn’t even take a lot of time. Just 15 minutes per day can help to lower blood pressure and heart rate, making you feel calmer and aiding your focus. We like the Calm app for their multiple sessions on breathing, meditation and mindfulness practices.
As well as practicing mindfulness techniques, writing down your thoughts and feelings in a daily journal or notebook has also been found to aid people with stress and worry. Getting all your worries out of your head and down on paper can be especially cathartic. Most importantly, if you’re feeling particularly upset, talking to someone is always helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
We hope that these tips will help you to get your stress under control this winter. Remember, you’re not alone. Nothing is ever as bad as it seems in your head and if you’re feeling overwhelmed then it’s important to share the load with the people who love you. Stay calm and let’s get through this winter with positivity and hope.