We’re all busy, we all have a million and one things to do, but it’s important for our health that we don’t let stress take over and it’s vital for work that we keep our motivation steady throughout the week.
This Stress Awareness Day it's important we take steps to ensure we're as stress-less as possible.
A recent survey by Rescue discovered that during a busy day 34% of people rarely stop to take a moment to help comfort themselves and gather their thoughts, while 42% wish they were more composed during a busy day.
In order to help, we’ve compiled the ultimate guide to becoming stress-free and keeping your motivation high through the week.
You’ve got goals? We’re hoping to help you achieve them.
When your mind is calm, you think more clearly and with the pressures of life people can often find themselves overwhelmed and confused. Neil Shah from the Stress Management Society and Sally Wisbey, Nutritionist have come up with some tips to help give you feel cool, calm and collected so you can see the pros and cons of the situation.
On-the-go composure plan
Neil Shah, Stress Management Society on-the-go composure plan:
- Take time out: taking mini breaks when you feel overwhelmed to enable you to remove yourself from the situation. Going outside for some fresh air, if possible, would be ideal as oxygen will help regain clarity and concentration.
- Bellows Breath: Another way of getting blood and oxygen moving around the body and up to the brain is by practising a simple breathing technique:
- Stand up straight in a comfortable position with your feet hip distance apart.
- Before starting the breathing have a look around the room; focus on the colour, sound, energy and how you feel.
- Inhale through the nose and raise arms out sideways. The diaphragm descends and belly pumps out as you do.
- Exhale through the mouth and bend arms in to ribs. We will be repeating this 30 times. 10 x slow, 10 x medium and 10 x fast.
- Take time to look around the room again. What changes do you notice?
- Above Head Movement: Although workloads and demands are increasing, the majority of people lead sedentary lifestyles making the blood flow sluggish. Try above head movement such as simply raising your arms up above your head for 10 seconds to improve blood flow to the brain and in turn concentration.
Be mindful of your diet
What you eat and drink can also have a big impact on your mind and body so it’s important to be mindful of your diet and ensure you are eating the right foods. Nutritionist Sally Wisbey has these tips to help keep you feeling calm and relaxed:
- Avoid processed and fast foods, fizzy drinks, caffeine and foods containing gluten, dairy and sugar as they strain the body.
- Eat slowly and take time to enjoy your food! Many of us lead such busy lifestyles we eat on the go, walking, standing up or at our desks which can all put pressure on the digestive system.
- Take time out to sit down, away from work and be mindful of what you are eating, chewing your food thoroughly.
- Instead of reaching for that sugary snack when you’re busy, stick the kettle on and make a cup of chamomile tea, known to have a calming effect.
- It's hard to believe that some chocolate is actually good for us. Rich in magnesium, dark chocolate helps relax the nervous system and make us feel calm. Snack on 1-2 squares of dark chocolate during the afternoon.
How to cut down on stress headaches
Stress is a common contributor to tightness in the muscles. When muscles in the head and neck become tender, they release chemicals called prostaglandins which lead to pain signals – these signals are interpreted by the brain as a tension-type headache, the most common type of headache globally. Other underlying causes of tension-type headaches include squinting and sitting hunched over a computer.
You can try to help relieve stress-induced tension headaches with these expert tips from Nurofen:
- Keep a stress diary: record your moments of intense stress for two to four weeks and then look back through the entries to help spot the triggers. You can include the date and time, who you were with, as well as how you felt physically and mentally.
- Exercise: Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it can help clear your thoughts and this can result in your dealing with problems in a more calm manner. It is suggested that to deal with stress effectively, humans need to feel robust and strong mentally. Exercise can help facilitate this.
- Take some “me time”: The UK workforce works the longest hours in Europe. The extra hours in the workplace mean that people aren’t spending enough time doing things that they really enjoy. We all should take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise.
- Massage: The next time you experience a headache, try gently massaging the muscles in your head and neck. This will soothe and relax the muscles and will also help you to de-stress.
- If tension headaches occur, Nurofen Express Tablets can help to relieve the pain. The formula breaks down easily and targets the source of pain (strained muscles in your head and neck)
How to stay sane and stress-free throughout the week
If you want to know, how to stay sane and healthy during this seven-day mood roller coaster, check out health tips from Elouise Baskis, Nutritionist at www.nutricentre.com below.
Fight miserable Monday
Miserable Monday’s symptoms include lack of motivation, poor concentration and mood swings. So how to boost your brain and survive until 6pm without shedding a tear? Boost your B6, B12 and folate. These three nutrients can help control your mood
Get through tough Tuesdays
This is the day when it all kicks off: meetings, conferences, and catch-ups. Your day is fully booked and most likely you will end up having your lunch in front of the computer. There is a danger that you will also reach for quick sugar snacks to give yourself a quick energy boost.
Instead, include protein in every meal. Keep healthy snacks to hand. Plan ahead and make sure you're prepared. Eat the rainbow, and try to get a variety of fruits and vegetables in your diet.
The weekend countdown starts on Wednesday
You made it, it’s ‘Hump Day’ and from now on the countdown to the weekend begins. However, two days filled with hard work usually result in midweek energy slump. Add Nature’s Plus Green Lightning sachet to your coconut water to feel full of zing again. Inside is Spirulina which helps to boost energy levels naturally.
Thursday is the new Friday? Yes, you’ve heard it right. Everyone seems to be a bit happier in your office and most likely you will all go for a famous ‘one drink’ after work. Even though it may feel like Friday, there is still one more day to go, so make sure you layer your stomach with right foods before reaching for a pint.
You want to promote your live function, so include protein-rich foods, as well as antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables, and some healthy fats to help slow down the absorption of alcohol. A well-rounded meal could include salmon, spinach and avocado for lunch.
It’s Friday; your favourite day of the week. You are only a couple of hours away from two days of pure joy and freedom. However, Thirsty Thursday took its tool and you are probably suffering from a hangover.
How to get rid of that awful headache and fatigue? ‘Keep well hydrated by drinking plenty of water, or even better drink coconut water as it’s naturally rich in electrolytes, which helps to better hydrate you – just like a sports drink but without artificial sweeteners. You could also have a fruit smoothie to curb your sugar cravings.’
If you are one of those unlucky people, who suffer from tummy problems the next day make sure you take a good-quality multi-strain probiotic before bed, and again in the morning.
Did you know that 7:37 pm on Saturdays is when most of us are getting busy under the sheets? Make the most of your day off and spend time with your other half as sex has countless health benefits.
‘It is a natural analgesic – sexual activity can actually release pain-reducing hormones and has been found to reduce or even block leg and back pain, and has even helped pain from menstrual cramping, arthritis, headaches and even some forms of migraines. It is also a great form of exercise – by increasing your heart rate and using various muscles, sex does count as exercise.
Sex may also improve sleep – during orgasm the love hormone oxytocin is released, which promotes sleep. And after sex, prolactin is released, which is a relaxation-inducing hormone. This may also help you to fall asleep too. And finally, sex and intimacy may be a great form of stress relief – in a recent study, those who had no sex regularly had the highest level of stress, in comparison to those who had penetrative sex had the lowest stress response. We all know how hugging, being intimate and making love make us feel better, so it makes sense that stress levels will be reduced overall with sex. ‘
Let’s face it – after 4 pm on Sunday, our weekend mood is starting to change. Thoughts like ‘How long is my to-do list tomorrow? How much did I actually spend this weekend? Do I really have to go to the gym this week?’ are causing an extra headache. By the time you know it, you are tossing and turning in bed, hopelessly trying to fall asleep.
Don’t panic: there are things, you can do, to find your inner peace back. ‘Have Turkey for your dinner. It is often said to be a sleep-promoter, as it contains good levels of tryptophan, the amino acid that converts into serotonin and then melatonin in our body. However, tryptophan is not the only constituent that makes turkey worth mentioning: it is also a good source of zinc and vitamin B6 – ‘co-factors’ that help the body to produce melatonin from tryptophan. To sleep like a baby, make sure you take magnesium. It is known as ‘nature’s tranquilliser’ and its deficiency may be a cause of insomnia.’