Simple solutions to help relieve stress and anxiety everyday.
Lately we have been having more and more conversations with all kinds of people saying similar things.
Stress and Anxiety have become a regular part of everyday life for many people and its something that can consume you and take over very quickly…… but that doesn’t have to be the case.
In this article we want to give you a few very simple ways to help gain control over your stress and anxiety levels and potential eliminate them all together.
TALK TALK TALK
The first thing we would recommend is talking to someone. This could be a parent, partner, friend, your GP or anyone else that you feel comfortable sharing your feelings/situation with.
I personally found myself in a bad place after the birth of my third son and I tried to continue as if there was nothing wrong but very soon it became too much for me to handle. I reached out to a friend who noticed I was a little off and spoke about how I was feeling, remarkably after a day or two I was already feeling better. He checked in on me every day for a week or so and this was also really helpful, by sharing with my friend how I felt at the time, I felt a need to actively do something about it and make some changes.
I am lucky that I have done some basic breath work in the past, so after taking the first step in talking to someone, I started doing this very basic breathing exercise every time I felt a little out of sorts.
IN FOR 3, HOLD FOR 4, OUT FOR 5
This can be done anywhere, in the car, on a walk, in a quite place on your own, at your desk at work or school and no-one will even know you are doing it.
Ideally find I quiet place where you can be alone but don’t worry if this isn’t possible!
Take a deep breath in for 3 counts, hold your breath for 4 counts and breath out for 5 counts.
Repeat this as many times as you need until you start to feel calm and in control, 5 minutes is a good starting place. This very simple exercise can be very powerful.
You could become a little light headed at first so please be careful when doing this in the car or using dangerous machinery, they call this ‘high on your own supply’.
Exercise is a great way to lift your mood and its even better if you do it outside in the morning.
When you feel unmotivated and lacking in energy, the last thing you may think to do is to jump on your bike or go for a run, but this can be a game changer. Energy breads energy, meaning when you want more energy you need to use some energy.
Try doing just 4 minutes of relatively intense exercise and see what it does to your energy, productivity and mood!
Regular sunlight exposure is vital to good mental and physical health. We absorb light through our skin and when our skin is exposed to sunlight early in the morning (between 8am and 10am is optimal) we kickstart our body with a good dose of Serotonin. Serotonin is our wake up hormone or ‘get up and go’ hormone.
Serotonin is needed to send messages to the brain and body that it’s time to ‘get up and go’, so when you struggle to get up in the morning try just simply opening the curtains and let the body do its work.
The best way to give your body what it needs is to get outside with some skin showing (hard in some places when its cold and raining all the time), 8am - 10am is the most optimal time to utilise the power of the Sun. Doing this daily will drastically improve your mood, mental state, physical health and quality of your sleep.
Even better you could get your sunlight in whilst getting your daily exercise. Kill two birds with one stone so they say.
The production of Serotonin is necessary to getting good quality sleep. Serotonin in transformed into Melatonin as the day goes on and Melatonin is our get good sleep hormone.
So in order to get a good dose of Melatonin, we need to get out into to sunlight in the morning to start the release of Serotonin.
One important factor is that our bodies also react to white/blue light, so if we sit in the living room watching TV or have our lights up high until the moment we go to be, we are stopping the shift from Serotonin to Melatonin from happening until the light is dimmed or eliminated.
The transfer is also dependant on light and takes around 2 hours to happen, so getting some smart lights or salt lamps dotted around the house is a great idea. Also try to cut out all screen time 30 mins to 1 hour before you go to bed.
BRAIN DUMP 🧠
Something that many people have been saying to me recently is that they struggle to switch off, their brains feel on overdrive and its affecting concentration and sleep.
If this is you, try doing a brain dump.
This can be highly affective in the evening before going to bed but it can be used at any time when you feel like your brain is going to explode, like when you have to many tabs open on your computer.
Its very simple, grab a note pad and pen and start writing down all the things you are thinking about.
Try writing lists of things so its easy to refer back too at any point. This action of writing it down allows your brain to let go of it, as you have made a permanent note of it, there is no need to try to remember it for the next day or week as you have it right there in your note pad.
If you struggle switching off before bed, try keeping a notepad and pen next to your bed to do this each night.
This is one of my favourite relaxation tools and can really help with getting in touch with how you feel.
Simply lay on the floor or close your eyes on a comfy chair and scan your body from head to toe.
As you scan notice how you feel, to make it easy you can start by just scanning your physical feelings noticing where there is tension and pain, when you find it don’t try to fix it just notice its there and then continue scanning the rest of your body.
After this you can consider how you feel mentally, again don’t try to fix it just notice where you are that day, at that time.
This action of scanning and not trying to fix increases your awareness of your own body and feelings. Sometimes the action of becoming aware can be all you need to fix the issue. Once you become aware you gain control of making the choice to live with it or make some changes/seek help.
Lastly, stretch daily.
We hold emotional stress in our muscles!
Everyday find some time to limber up. You don’t need to drop into a full Yoga sequence in the office, simply find where you are tight and stretch in the opposite direction until you find a stretch, hold it there and breath until you feel the muscle lengthen slightly.
We really hope you find some of this information useful. If you would like to work with one of our coaches 1 -1 , please get in touch.
LAB - Lifestyle and behaviour coaching with a focus on nutrition and lifestyle habits.