Today is National Stress Awareness Day. For a long time, people suffering from the effects of stress were ridiculed, told they were making it up and that suffering from stress wasn’t a serious health issue. Now, however, we are slowly beginning to understand the effect stress has on us, both physically and mentally. In 2013 a study by Bupa found that 44% of us suffer from long term stress. This isn’t the stress that is good for us, that makes us meet deadlines or makes us perform better, but the stress that can lead to other mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Stress has become a huge modern day issue and many think it’s due to the growing use of technology. Leaving the office doesn’t always mean you finish working for the day as the lines are continually blurred between working and home life. The thing about reducing stress is that you need to find the time to do it, and if you’re stressed because you’ve got so much work to do, the chances are you’d rather try and get the work done with time to spare. So how can we de-stress without having to take a chunk out of our day? Luckily, bjournal has done some research and we’ve come up with some small changes you can make to your daily life to help you de-stress.
- Leave earlier: As painful as it sounds, getting up and leaving the house earlier means you will be less stressed about being late, and therefore less stressed when you get to work and then you can start the day in a much more positive, relaxed manner.
- Plan ahead: One of the things I did to stay on top of things in my third year at University was to invest in a weekly desk planner and plan my week every Sunday night. I could look at my week at a glance and it made me feel better knowing I was staggering my work, and that I was sticking to a schedule. Doing this at work will make you feel like you’re on top of things, and won’t make you feel overwhelmed.
- Snack…but healthily: There is nothing worse than being hangry (so hungry that you become irritable/angry) at work, and it does nothing to your stress levels. Snacking throughout the day on things such as granola bars, fruit, and nuts will make sure your blood sugar levels stay stable, and your stress levels stay low.
- Get away from the computer: Easier said than done I know, but getting away from the computer for thirty minutes a day, or on your lunch hour, can really help to keep your stress levels down. Go for a walk, or read a chapter of your book, just something that doesn’t involve looking at your computer screen.
- Switch off at least once a day: Again, easier said than done but this is probably the piece of advice that keeps cropping up the most in ways to de-stress. If we aren’t looking at a computer screen, we’re looking at our tablet, phone, kindle or television and we never seem to take time away from technology. Hands up who gets into bed and then checks their phone ‘one more time’? Who else checks their phone before they even get out of bed? We are constantly looking at a screen and this does nothing to reduce our stress levels and it also affects how quickly we fall asleep. Switching off at least once a day, even for half an hour, can do wonders. Reading, doing a crossword or investing in an adult colouring book can be a great way to relax.
Those are just small things that you can do either whilst you’re at work or when you’re at home that won’t take up too much of your time but will do the world of difference. If you feel that you are struggling to cope with stress, bjournal recommends you speak to someone, don’t struggle alone.