Top tips to combat stress

This year it was reported that 10 million working days a year are lost to stress. Work days are now extending to longer hours and greater expectations to deliver. The term ‘superwoman syndrome’ has certainly earned a name for itself in recent years for the growing trend amongst women to want to ‘have it all’

This year it was reported that 10 million working days a year are lost to stress. Work days are now extending to longer hours and greater expectations to deliver. The term ‘superwoman syndrome’ has certainly earned a name for itself in recent years for the growing trend amongst women to want to ‘have it all’ which requires them to be ‘on’ all the time. In a survey undertaken by Cosmopolitan which was published in its January 2016 issue it was revealed that out of the 750 women taking part a scary 81% felt negative about life, 71% had experienced anxiety or a panic attack and 40% had sought medical advice due to stress.  According to Dr Judith Mohring, one of London’s leading psychologist’s the sad fact is that, “Women have so many arenas in which they can compete: how we look, the quality of our friendships, and, of course, the work we produce. Sometimes it can feel that there are just too many ways to fail. And that’s when self-doubt, low self-esteem and self-criticism can come to the fore.” Our digital saturation also means that work and emails follow us home and a lot of the time to bed. Social media provides a continuous update on beautiful people living their seemingly perfect, successful, busy lives thereby creating a set of ideals that we feel we need to live up to.

The main culprit however is our Hormones which dictate a great deal of the stress and anxiety we feel both mentally and physically. The hormone cortisol is released in the body to deal with stress and acts by breaking down carbohydrates and fats to provide energy to the body during bouts of short-term stress. Then when the stress has passed, hormones levels return to normal. But WATCH-OUT –  if you’re stuck in a long-term chronic stress state then the resulting excess cortisol remains in the body, leading a hormonal imbalance and can therefore also lead to a deterioration in your health.

So even though in life a bit of stress is always inevitable, there are ways you can take back control. Here’s our pick of the best to help you find some Zen:

Meditate daily

Just taking 10 minutes out a day when you wake up and when you go to bed over a consistent period of time will really help you to learn how to switch off properly from your day. Practice makes perfect – with all things some of us find switching off a lot harder than others and so the more you practice it over time it will become easier. Check out the Headspace app for a great free 10-minute meditation.

Keep a stress diary

By recording a diary of how you feel you can map your moods to help recognise your stress triggers.

Have a digital detox

Most of us spend our working hours crouched over a computer screen and our phones. We relax at home by watching TV and then its back for a final flick through social media and emails before going to bed. Having a digital detox helps us to entirely ‘switch-off’ and engage in activities that calm the mind.

Cut down on alcohol

Believe us when we say life’s about balance and enjoying things in moderation. However, cutting back on the booze will dramatically help with your positive thinking as well as the quality of your sleep.  

Get active and choose the right exercise for YOU

Exercise is a great way to take your mind of the worries of work and clear your head. But the trick is to something that works for your body AND mind. We all love a good old HIT (high intensity training) session, quick and effective it gets the job done. But if you’re feeling stressed this will simply load stress on top of stress. Alternatives like yoga, Pilates, swimming or going for a long walk offer great exercise choices to calm the mind and put less strain on the body whilst strengthening, lengthening and toning. Win, win.

Reduce your do to list

Pick out one or two key priorities each day – this provides a manageable task load and therefore there will be a great likelihood you will complete it. Don’t let yourself get stressed out by creating a to-do list that goes on and on, its simply not realistic nor are you likely to be as productive as if you put your mind to completing your two primary tasks.  

Concentrate on helping others

Helping out other people is a great way to distract yourself from your own stresses, put things into perspective and provides a really rewarding feel-good result after you’ve done your good deed.

Don’t punish yourself

Give yourself a break. None of us are perfect and in the times when we’ve set ourselves a challenge or task and not been able to complete it, remember that you’re only human! We all make mistakes and that’s ok. Remember your body and mind are amazing things and we should respect and love what they enable us to do!