Spring is a good time to de-clutter and order your home – but what about yourself?
We are living in a world that places increasing demands on our time and often we are left feeling stressed and juggling so much that we don’t find time to press the pause button and take a breath.
But stress is not good for your health and too much of it can affect how you feel emotionally, mentally and physically as well as how you behave
According to the NHS, the reason for this is that stress actually causes physical changes in the body designed to help you take on threats or difficulties.
Symptoms such as your heart pounding, your breathing speeding up and your muscles tensing are all part of out in-built ‘fight or flight’ response and once the threat or difficulty passes, these physical effects usually fade.
But if you’re constantly stressed, your body stays in a state of high alert and you may develop stress-related symptoms.
These include feeling overwhelmed and irritable, anxious or fearful and lacking in self esteem leading to further physical symptoms from headaches and dizziness to sleep problems.
An NHS spokesman said: “Big life changes often create stress, even happy events like having a baby or planning a wedding. Feeling that you aren’t in control of events in your life can also cause stress.
“You can’t always prevent stress, but there are lots of things you can do to manage stress better. And it’s important to tackle the causes of stress in your life if you can. Avoiding problems rather than facing them can make things worse.”
So here are a few ideas to help you start to spring clean the stress out of your life.
1. Take control – remaining passive and thinking you can’t do anything about your problem will make stress get worse as that feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.
2. Take time out – even if you think you haven’t got time to relax, taking small and regular breaks help you to feel refreshed and more invigorated. Think about having a pamper session at a spa or book yourself in for a massage – even having a relaxing bath with candles and chilling music can help to de-clutter worries and anxieties you may be fighting.
3. Get active – exercise is great for giving you a natural feel-good factor. Not only will it give you more energy and help to make you feel awake and refreshed, research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood and sleep quality as well as reducing your risk of stress, depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “If exercise were a pill, it would be one of the most cost-effective drugs ever invented,” says Dr Nick Cavill, a health promotion consultant.
4. Get it down on paper – a daily plan either on what you want to achieve or what you need to take care of can remove a lot of pressure. Having it all on paper eliminates the stress of remembering everything, and it gives you a certain amount of satisfaction and relief at the end of the day.
5. You are what you eat – think about your diet and try to cut back on processed foods and add in more fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy snacks to boost your body’s energy. Giving your body a break from processed foods, unhealthy snacks and masses of sugar can start making you feel better and less tired.
For more information on stress and ways to tackle it, visit www.nhs.uk