The hustle and bustle of living in a city can be great fun but it can also add stress to your life. Noise, pollution, money worries, pressure at work and getting the life work balance right all add pressure. Relieving stress is not just about feeling better. Stress can cause insomnia, panic attacks, mood swings, loss of sex drive and stomach problems. It affects the way we think, our ability to work and can even contribute to immune and heart problems too. So here are some tips to manage stress so that you can get back to living!
We’ve all heard the saying that laughter is the best medicine – well this is true. A good chuckle triggers the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good hormone and relaxes muscles relieving them of physical tension. Why not go to a comedy club or get out funny movie. When we need a quick giggle at Belle About Town we visit the instagram account Crazy Jewish Mom or website parentsshouldnttext.com for comic relief.
Often when people are feeling stressed they avoid contact with others but socialising actually helps to relieve stress. Friends not only lend on ear for support (a problem shared is indeed a problem halved) but they can also provide a distraction with a good fun night on the town.
Exercise is one of the best stress relievers as it releases endorphins giving you a feeling of happiness. It pumps oxygen to around the body including to the brain which helps you to think more clearly and exercise relaxes muscles that have often been tensed from all the anxiety. Whether you prefer to jog around the park, indulging in a fun dance class or play a team sport like netball, the most important thing is just to get out there and do it!
4. Be open to change
Sometimes it just takes a few small changes to help to limit stress. Some people add stress to your life so think about limiting the time that you spend with them. If your route to work is stressful then look at other ways you can get there, there are often many alternate routes that don’t take much longer but can be a lot more pleasant. Other changes may be bigger like a change in where you live or where you work or even your relationship. While these changes are scary, start to explore what is in your power to change and your alternatives – change may not be as hard as you think.
5. Beware the compare
When we are feeling low it can seem like the people around us have it all, a fabulous job, better looks, a happy relationship. The first thing that you need to remember is that there will always be someone out there who is smarter, prettier and more successful than you so stop finding those people and comparing yourself to them as you are just setting yourself up for misery. Also be aware that how people appear to the outside world can be very different to how things actually are for them. Everyone has there own problems despite what it looks like to an outsider.
6. You time
It is important to relax when you are stressed – give your body some relief from all the tensions that stress creates and soothe your senses. Think about doing Yoga or meditation as they give your mind and body focus to achieve a more relaxed state. Treat yourself to a massage in the soothing surrounds of a spa to relax your mind and body. If money if tight turn your bathroom into a spa with a bubble bath, candles and a supply of your favourite chocolates!
7. Celebrate achievements
As women we sometimes focus too much on our failures and mistakes. Take time out to make a list of what you have accomplished. Then congratulate yourself on these achievements and celebrate by taking time out for some fun like dinner with the girls or a movie with your partner. If money is not causing you stress then splash out on a new dress or pair of shoes.
8. Get lost in music
Music soothes the savage beast and while chill-out and classical music can make you feel calm, a good old sing-a-long to some rock anthems or cheesy 80s tunes can also relieve the tension. Either way pump up the volume and then lie down and bliss out or grab that hair brush and sing like the crowd at Glastonbury is your audience.
9. Eat right
We often crave comfort food when stressed to feel better, and it has been proven in a study conducted by the NSW School of Medical Sciences that foods high in fat and sugar do indeed reduce stress, but it will not help to limit it in the long run. Do treat yourself at moments of high stress but limit it to one treat and then return to a diet high in fibre and omega three to reduce stress overall.
10. Hugging and kissing
Physical contact makes s feel good. The University of Zurich in Switzerland found that people that indulged in physical affection had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol. So whether it is holding hands, snogging, snuggling up on the sofa or getting close between the sheets, a little love goes a long way to relieving tension!