Stress is a common complaint in today’s busy world, affecting more than three thirds of the general population. As well as causing temporary health complaints such as headaches, nausea, and a racing pulse, regularly experiencing high-levels of stress can contribute to the development of a number of long-term health conditions.
I always feel most stressed in the weeks after a holiday. After our recent trip to Las Vegas, I suffered from insomnia and jet lag for at least 3-4 weeks afterwards. It was horrible – and it was made worst by the fact I had weeks of work to catch up on too. I was losing sleep, and it became a horrible cycle I struggled to get out of.
To help prevent the risk of stress affecting your health, here are some tips to winding down and de-stressing.
Have a bath
In a hectic world, it can be difficult to find the time to escape from everything and take a few minutes for yourself to unwind and sit down. An easy way to take a well-deserved five-minute rest is to enjoy a relaxing, warm, candle-lit bath in place of a quick shower; taking some time to concentrate on yourself and enjoy literally cleaning off the stresses of the day can help make you feel refreshed and rejuvenated . Sitting in the warm water will help to relieve physical tension, while spending some time in the half-light can help to reduce eye-strain and eye-pain. A number of bath products have been developed with aromatherapy elements in mind to encourage relaxation, too.
Get a hobby
Enjoying a hobby is a great way to reduce feelings of stress and promote a feeling of satisfaction and general well-being. Creative hobbies should as painting have been scientifically proven to help promote feelings of well-being and calmness. Physical exercise – such as light walking – helps to release feel-good endorphins in the body and regular exercise has been linked to a reduction in depression and anxiety. Learning a second language helps to promote memory and can, in turn, help to promote well-being and reduce stress.
The health effects of massage have been known for centuries and almost every culture has its own form of massage. Today, there are a number of different styles of massage on offer, from Swedish to Thai, with the aim of each one being to promote well-being and relaxation. Studies have shown that massage has the effect of reducing blood pressure, pulse rate, and cortisol levels in the body, thereby reducing stress and promoting general well-being. Back massage helps to reduce tension in the body by exerting pressure on the muscles in the neck, back and shoulders to eradicate knots and reduce stress.
Leave work at work
Although there are a number of potential stresses in life, including financial worries, family worries, and significant life events, studies show that stress at work is particularly harmful. Stress at work, combined with sitting at a desk for hours on end, is a recipe for ill-health. Stress at work isn’t something that can be necessarily be avoided, so it’s important to know how to make the best of your time away from work to reduce the effects of the stress you feel. At weekends, turn work phones off, leave emails alone, and spend some time focussing on yourself; at break times, leave the hum-drum of the office and take a leisurely stroll. Remember to remain hydrated throughout the day, too, and leave your desk regularly to stretch your legs and save your eyes.