01 Nov Pillar 3 – stress management
The modern world is very demanding in different ways to the days of old. The pace is faster, there is more to do, we can shop 7 days a week, and work 7 days a week, television provides hundreds of channels to view, social media provides numerous ways to keep in touch, but face to face contact can suffer. As a result of all these and more we create greater demands on ourselves to buy that car, to have the up to date phone, to post on social media, take the kids to all kinds of activities, until we do not have a moment to ourselves to take time out and relax.
Stress can present itself as physical, mental or emotional. Short spurts of stress can be beneficial by protecting us from danger, like jumping out of the way of a speeding car, but long-term stress can be detrimental to health. It can disrupt digestion, hormone balance, sleep patterns, and lower our immunity, which can play a major role in leading to ill health. Rest is vitally important to assist the body to repair.
Some of the many benefits of taking time to relax and let the stress go include:
Improved resilience, weight loss, improved ability to cope and manage difficult situations, manage stress better, balanced outlook, better sleep, better concentration, improved health.
Actions you can take to relax; Set aside time for yourself each day – aim for 15 to 30 minutes
Here are some suggestions, but do what suits you. This must be something you enjoy (not food and not gadgets), and which doesn’t leave you feeling guilty:
- Read a magazine or book with a cup of loose leaf tea
- Sing along to your favourite songs
- A soak in the tub with a few drops of lavender oil
- Paint your nails, or having a manicure.
- Take a stroll.
- Arrange flowers
- Breathe deeply
- Yoga, Tai Chi or Pilates
- Stroke a pet
We cannot always change the stresses we experience, although I would recommend we do so whenever we can, but we can adjust our response to them. Next time you find yourself at a standstill on the motorway, let go of the anxiety you may feel about being late, and take the time to breathe deeply and allow alternative thoughts to come forth. Recognise these moments as challenges to approach the problem differently, and as a trigger to come up with alternatives/solutions – it honestly makes a difference when we are conscious of our thoughts.
With that said, preparation for Christmas is upon us. Write a plan of action to help you through and enjoy the process and stress less!