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Feeling stressed is a normal part of life. But a pile-on of stress can have negative mental and physical consequences. According to the Mental Health Foundation, 74% of people in the UK have been so stressed at some point this year that they felt they could not cope. This isn’t surprising given in the last few weeks alone we’ve had rising Covid cases, increased costs of living, and a gas crisis. To make matters worse, we are yet to enter the most stressful period of the year - the Christmas season.
From rushing to get your shopping done to the (expensive) pressure of having the “perfect” Christmas, and with the potential shortage of products this Christmas, you may wonder how you’ll get through this chaotic period without crumbling. But to support you this Stress Awareness Day, we are giving you tips and advice on how you can manage the pressure, take on the upcoming season and reclaim your life from stress.
What is stress?
According to the NHS, stress is the body’s reaction to being under pressure. It’s often triggered when we experience and most often feel something that questions our sense of self or is new and unexpected, like making friends at a party, the thought of something going wrong or giving an important presentation at work. Stress isn’t always a bad thing. It can be motivating and help us meet the demands in our everyday lives. But when we don’t know how to manage this stress, it can build up and feel out of our control.
Effects of stress
At some point in your life, you have probably felt the emotional, physical and mental impacts of too much stress. Some of the most common emotions associated with stress include frustration, anger, irritability and sadness. These can produce physical symptoms like indigestion, nausea, heart palpitations and aches and pains. A build-up of stress can also eat away at our self-esteem, make us withdraw from our friends and family or put us in a constant state of anxiety. If these symptoms sound familiar, you may need some help, and that’s what we are here for. Read on for our tips and advice.
Our top tips to manage stress
Identify where to make changes
Think about all the things in life that are causing you stress. Oftentimes, what causes us stress is the fear of thinking something negative will happen, and writing them in your journal or planner helps you see how rational these worries are and be mindful of them. Next, sort these issues into three categories: things that have a practical solution, like car trouble; things that will get better with time, such as an argument with a friend; and things you cannot control, like stress over what somebody else thinks of you.
Make a plan
See how you can address the things that have a practical solution. Set realistic expectations and prioritise the essentials. If it’s an important task, break it up so it feels less overwhelming. Use to-do lists, make notes on every step you need to take or use a calendar. See where you could use some extra hands and finally, be positive. Give yourself credit or even a little reward every time you complete something.
Get active and healthy
We have all heard that exercise can help us manage stress. If you don’t enjoy working out, try a walk in the park or following a yoga video on YouTube. This can bring you clarity and lessen your stress. Eating healthy is also beneficial. When we’re stressed, we tend to order fast food for convenience and comfort. But for long-term relief from stress, healthy meals are better. If you don’t have time to cook, there are a variety of healthy restaurants and takeout options out there to order from.
Know when it’s time to step back
If you are really struggling, it may be time for a break. Talk to your trusted friends, family and colleagues to see if it’s possible for you to have some time for yourself. Even if it’s one day where you can get some sleep, meditate and focus on self-care. Taking the time to do positive things for yourself is vital in alleviating stress, and it’s important in tough times to be kind to yourself.
This time of year will inevitably be stressful. From busy sales to packed crowds, you are bound to feel the pressure. You deserve to enjoy this season, not crumble under the stress. So be sure to implement these tips to stay organised, healthy and avoid exhaustion.
Be sure to check out our Stress-Free Friday Warehouse Sale, our biggest sale of the year starting 5th Nov 2021