Combat stress
May 20, 2019

How to Handle Stress

Stress is natural, and in small doses can be helpful for productivity. However, prolonged stress can have an array of negative consequences on both physical and mental health.

Why do I feel stressed?

Stress is your body's natural response to dangerous, new or threatening situations. In small amounts it can help you think quickly, act on your feet and overcome your fears when you need to the most.

However in modern-day life, you can experience multiple stressors every day, leading to a constant feeling of being 'under attack', which is no good for your health. Long working hours, frequent exposure to unsettling news and even social media can all cause chronic stress. This type of stress can quickly lead to serious health issues, such as depression, poor immune function and heart problems.

What are the signs of chronic stress?

Difficulty sleeping, racing heartbeat, lowered libido, digestive problems & low mood are just some of the signs of chronic stress. If you recognize the signs in yourself, now is the time to start learning techniques to combat stress.

How can I manage my stress levels?

1. Work out

Exercise floods your body with feel-good endorphins, boosting your mood and decreasing stress. What's more, the confidence-boosting benefits of exercise can improve your self-esteem in your daily life, increasing your capacity to handle stressful situations.

Training can also be a mindfulness practice in itself. By paying extra attention to form, reps and weights (if using), you divert your attention from outside stress and return to your body in the present moment.

2. Get enough sleep

In order to cope with stress, a good night's sleep is essential. Not only does sleep help your body heal from physical stress, it's also an essential time for your brain to process information and emotions, providing you with the energy to face stress the next day. For the best stress-busting benefits, aim for at least 7 hours per night.

If stress is making it hard for you to fall asleep, don't miss these tips for a better night's rest.

3. Spend time outside

Being out in nature has been shown to have restorative effects such as reducing stress hormones and improve mindfulness. It decreases muscle tension, blood pressure, and heart rate, and promotes a feeling of calm and optimism. From a cycle ride through forest trails to a walk by the river, spending time outside is key to reducing the effects of stress and building resilience.

4. Set boundaries

Are your responsibilities creeping in on your personal life? Drawing boundaries can help you rebalance and reprioritize. Boundaries might look like not responding to emails outside of office hours, taking time off when you need it or not taking on new assignments when your plate is already full.

Learn more about boundaries and how to define yours.

5. Practice self-care

When it comes to self-care, seemingly small changes really add up. Look after your mental and physical wellbeing with small gestures like cooking yourself a healthy meal, getting 30 minutes of extra sleep or taking a short walk after dinner.

Self-care helps you restore your mind and body, helping you build resilience so that you're in the best possible shape to take care of any stress that you encounter.

Read next: Why sleep is so important for our health, and god to get more rest.