Today is National Stress Awareness Day, so let’s talk about it…
Stress is one of those things that everybody faces within their day to day lives. It can hit us all differently and we can experience various levels of stress that can affect our emotions. Meaning our behaviour can change and performing daily tasks that once were quite simple may not always feel that way.
Stress can be noticed in a variety of ways. From anxiety, to lack of sleep, headaches, no concentration… the list goes on. Finding your coping mechanisms is incredibly important so today as part of National Stress Awareness Day, we round up some of the more ‘common’ ways people try to omit stress from their lives:
- Regular exercise
Moving your body on a regular basis balances the nervous system and increases blood circulation, helping to flush out stress hormones. Our clients Poise Performance and EL Fitness are BIG advocates of using exercise to create harmony and balance within your life! Why not give them a follow?
- Connect with Supportive People
Talking face to face with another person releases hormones that reduce stress so it’s important to not only find time, but MAKE time to lean on those good listeners in your life. Whether it be a close friend or family member, or someone ‘external’. We’ve been working closely with Leadership, Life and Wellness Coach Gill Main who is a great pillar of support to those who need it.
Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgement. Practising mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. There’s no shortage of mindfulness and meditation apps out there but we’ve put together a list of three apps you can easily integrate into your life:
- Insight Timer – FREE – Insight Timer is a combination of meditation stopwatch and social network. The timer is customisable with optional ambient sounds whilst you meditate. There are over 30,000 meditation sessions to choose from at varying levels of intensity; perfect for beginners who want to ease into mindfulness practice, and the seasoned user looking for more introspective courses.
- Anxiety Solution – £5.99 – At the heart of this app is a comprehensive 28-session course, designed to explain the various causes of anxiety and how to tackle it. There is no time limit on the course, so it can be completed at your own pace. You will be taught techniques informed by Cognitive Behavioural Therapy to help you on the path toward managing your anxiety.
- Headspace – £9.99 – One of the earliest apps to the mental well-being market, Headspace launched in 2010 and now offers a wide selection of meditations and courses for you to follow, including mini sessions designed to help you focus on the present, and sleep aiders to encourage a good night’s sleep. There are also guides from Olympians offering their expertise on mindfulness.
- Sleep Enough
Did you know that if you get less than seven to eight hours of sleep, your body can’t handle stress as well as it could. A lack of sleep can cause the body to react as if it’s in distress, releasing more of the stress hormone, cortisol. Cortisol is responsible for your fight or flight reaction to danger, increasing your heart rate in anticipation of a fight. Alongside using some of the mindfulness apps listed above, another key component to helping you sleep better is to remove blue light 1-2 hours before bed by removing or turning off electronic devices such as TVs, computers and smartphones, make sure your bedroom is quiet, dark and relaxing and avoid large meals and caffeine before bedtime.
So what’s your best technique and coping mechanism? Here’s what Managing Director, Anne and Account Manager, Keera do to omit stress from their day-to-day lives:
I’m terrible for carrying too much ‘weight’ on my shoulders, in both a professional and personal space. I’ve learnt that the best way to offload this weight is to remember that I am only human and I can only achieve so much in a day. When I’m overwhelmed I take time to write down and celebrate the things that I have achieved that day, rather than focussing on what I haven’t. I am a BIG advocate of exercising, particularly weightlifting, so listening to music and training in the gym is my therapy! Keeping me feeling mentally, physically and emotionally strong!
When I feel stressed and overwhelmed, I like to just take a step back from whatever it is I’m doing and just reset. I’ll go make a coffee, play with my dog for 10 minutes or just distract myself with a different task so that I can just give my brain a rest.
The only way I can calm myself down is by taking myself away from a situation that is causing me stress. If I don’t keep myself occupied for a while I will continue to think about what’s causing me stress and I’ll continue to get myself worked up. So the best thing for me is to take a break.
Something I should probably do more of is exercise / yoga. I regularly walk my dog but taking up a hobby like swimming or running is a really good way to release stress so that’s something I should incorporate into my day to day activities so I can keep my mind well rested.
Stress is something we all go through and it’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel it! Here at Blue Moon, we want to normalise talking about feeling stressed, because it shouldn’t be a taboo topic! It’s something we all face at different points in our lives for a variety of different reasons so it’s essential we come together to share our learnings and best practices to support one another in our hours of need.
The key is always to remember that these feelings, no matter how consuming, are only temporary and that with the right coping mechanisms and support system around you, you CAN overcome ANYTHING.