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Got stress in your life that’s not going anywhere soon? Here’s how to keep calm.
Stress is a fact of life, and it’s not always a bad thing – it can be useful when it pushes you into action and gets you through a busy time, or enables you to achieve bigger and better than you otherwise would.
Even when it’s not a positive stress – for example, a death in the family, your children going through a tricky age, or perhaps you’ve been retrenched, sometimes stress can’t simply be resolved in the short term, and you just need to keep on keeping on until life gets back to normal.
If getting rid of the stress isn’t an option, here are 5 ways to reduce the toll it can take on your body:
1. Relax when you can
There will be time in each day when you’ll have a chance to relax (even if it’s just bed time.) Make the most of this time by doing something that relaxes you, or that you really enjoy – just don’t make it stimulating if your mini break is close to bed time.
Even if you only get 10 minutes it’s worth it; having something to look forward to will help when you’re in the busiest stretch of the day and help you stay calm.
2. Take care of your health
Eating well, exercising and getting adequate sleep is key to coping with stressful times. While it may be the hardest time to get exercise or prepare healthy meals (or drop off easily at the end of the day), there are simple ways of meeting these needs without adding to your stress.
Nutrition-wise, there’s no shortage of fresh food delivery services that offer convenience without compromising on nutritional value. From pre-prepared healthy meals to grocery drops complete with simple to follow recipe cards, you can have a healthy meal or snack in less time than it takes to get to a vending machine or fast food restaurant.
3. Focus on the positive
In the thick of stress, it can be easy to slide into a negative mindset. Learn to listen to your inner monologue and counter negative thoughts with positive rejoinders.
“I’ll never get through this” can become “of course I’ll get through this, and what an achievement when I do!” or “I will handle this to the best of my ability and things will work themselves out from there.”
Proper breathing is a good stress buster, and often of the first things to go when we get stressed. Short, shallow breaths that come from the upper chest can create dizziness and physical and mental stress and stimulate the sympathetic nervous system. Long, slow breaths calm the body and the mind thanks to an extra boost of oxygen.
Not sure how to do it? Close your eyes and concentrate on slowly breathing in for a slow count to ten, allow your chest to fill. Now slowly breathe out for ten, concentrating on releasing the air from your diaphragm and chest.
5. Visualise it
Depending on what floats your boat, close your eyes and visualise a calming image. Some might like the ocean crashing on the shore, while others prefer to visualise themselves stepping out in their ultimate holiday spot. Even a minute in your special place will give your brain a quick break (double it up with the breathing for extra stress busting!)