When you’re as busy as the Loose Women – juggling family, friends and time to yourself with plenty of work – it can be difficult to avoid feeling stressed. It’s no surprise that the focus of this year’s National Stress Awareness Day was ‘Stress: the balancing act’!
While stress itself isn’t classed as an illness, it could very well turn into one. Continuous stress can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, or even high blood pressure – conditions that can be debilitating in their worst forms. This is why it’s so important to take care of yourself, and to identify ways to not just keep your stress levels in check, but even out your work-life balance.
1. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness is sometimes seen as a new age, hippy past time, but is actually far from it! While it can involve a bit of meditation, yoga and tai chi to focus your mind on your breathing, rather than distractions, it mostly involves just being more aware of the world around you. For example, noticing sights, smells, sounds and tastes that you’d normally overlook, because you’re so focused on your stresses.
Try this: Eat your lunch or dinner somewhere quiet, without watching TV, using your mobile phone or reading. Focus on your food – how it tastes, looks and smells. You’ll be surprised by how different food can taste when you treat it as a treat, and not just a part of daily life.
2. Schedule in some me-time
Time to yourself is essential in this day and age. It can be easy to use being too busy as an excuse, but you don’t have to spend hours on me-time. ‘Me-time’ could simply be a quiet, five minute sit outside, listening to the nature around you, or a long bath at the end of the week. All you need to do is fill those spare moments with things that make you happy, rather than worries.
Try this: Book a beauty treatment. It doesn’t have to be lavish; a simple file and polish is a great way to relax and enjoy being pampered, while head massages and back massages are brilliant ways to boost your mental wellbeing.
3. Even out your work-life balance
It doesn’t matter how much we love our jobs, sometimes the stress can get too much. You might be working overtime in someone’s absence, or simply have too much work to complete in your working day. Whatever the reason for your work-related stress, however, there are ways to stop it from taking over out of hours. You should try your very hardest to work to your contracted hours, and shouldn’t be afraid to say ‘no’ when you simply have too much on.
Try this: Book a day off for no other reason than to just do something you want to do, and have a break from work. You could take the dog out for a lovely long walk, spend the day with some friends or just catch up on some sleep, before curling up with a good book.
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try, it can be really hard to try and shut out every ounce of stress. If you’re struggling, why not practice some relaxation techniques? These examples from the mental health charity, Mind, can be a big help, and most can be used both at home and at work.
Image credit: Martin Fisch / Flickr.com