Earlier this month we were talking about how to spot the signs of stress.  Of course, this is vitally important – if you can’t recognise that you’re suffering from stress, you have no chance of doing anything about it. However, would you know what to do to help alleviate your symptoms, once you do know that stress is your problem?

 As with the causes of stress, and indeed the way we react to stress there are also many different ways of dealing with stress.  Some may work for some people, whilst others are no help at all.  Equally, some suggestions may be of no use in one situation, but might be ideal for the same person in a different situation.  The key here is to realise that there are lots of different options available to you, some of which you may not have previously considered, but might be worth considering.

 Take time out for a massage

For a large number of people, a massage is the ultimate when it comes to stress-free activities.  The same could be true of a manicure, facial or any number of beauty treatments. 

 The important thing here is not the activity itself, but simply finding something for you that you regard as being an opportunity to unwind and recharge.  That might be reading a book in a library or café for an hour, a session of Reiki, or, if you are a more active re-charger, going for a run in the woods or a swim at the local pool.

 Find something that you both enjoy, but that has nothing to do with the stressor you are currently experiencing.  Just as importantly, make sure you can’t be disturbed – this is YOUR time, and you must protect it fiercely.

Do some exercise

We’ve already mentioned that some people are more active rechargers, and therefore the idea of a run, swim or cycle is likely to be more automatically appealing. However, even if you are more couch potato (no judgment at all from us, we are all huge fans of our sofas) than Mo Farrah, there are a huge array of physical benefits to exercise.  Many of these will have a positive impact on your ability to fight physical and mental disease. 

No matter what exercise you choose to do, the chances are you’re going to be so engrossed in the activity that you will have little choice as to whether or not you switch off.  It will be automatic.  Equally, exercise is going to release endorphins, the body’s natural mood enhancers, which will give you a natural buzz.

Finally, exercise will tire you out more than maintaining a more sedentary lifestyle.  This means, if you are suffering from insomnia or sleep disruption, you have a far greater chance of not only falling asleep, but staying asleep naturally.

Who knows, you might even find yourself having fun!

Breathing exercises

If going for a jog is more exercise than you fancy contemplating right now, there’s always the option of breathing exercises. The reality is that we often take much shallower breaths than we need, or than we realise. This is especially true when we are experiencing periods of stress, or are feeling anxious.  

Taking deep breaths, and attempting a variety of breathing exercises, is a great way to relieve stress, lower blood pressure and promote feelings of calm and relaxation.  They can also have a positive influence on any respiratory problems you may be experiencing.

Again, this is by no means an exhaustive list when it comes to coping strategies and methods; however, join us again next week for more tips from the team at People Matters. 

Remember, we are People Matters because YOUR people matter.