It is incredibly important to take care of yourself. We often forget about this, as busy humans. That is until, one day, deadline dates seem to draw in closer and walls seem to close in a lot more faster. As many of us experience stress, it can become easier for us to simply dismiss signs of it. It can appear as though many of us live in a culture that upholds productivity to the extent that wellbeing is often sidelined, and, ironically, this may be making us less productive. According to the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) stress accounted for 37% of work related ill health in the UK out of a total 45% of working days lost due to ill health in 2015/16. After all, long term periods of stress, according to the American Psychological Association, can hinder your mental wellbeing as well as your physical wellbeing. Long term stress can have a negative effect upon your appetite, your respiratory system, and cardiovascular system.
Surely if we were to swiftly detect signs of stress we can tackle them and ensure that our health is good in the long term. It can be said that engaging in activities that are good for our wellbeing can minimise the stress in our lives. After two years of preparation for my A-Level exams all for a three week period of exams, I got to know stress very well. Stress became the large elephant in my life for two years, it suddenly had a voice that I could hear the weeks commencing my exams. I had no choice but to talk to it. Many of us, in stressful periods may also feel as though we just do not have the time to look after our bodies, and our minds. Although it is paramount that we do lest the stress will manifest.
Not all of these suggested wellbeing essentials will work for everybody. However, they may work for some in the way that they worked for me during a very important period of stress in my life. These tips may also help if you suffer from an anxiety disorder:
1. Take time to just breathe
According to the NHS , a conscious awareness of the breath through regular breathing practices can aid those that are enduring a stressful period. This mindfulness of the breath can attach us to the present moment, and can sway our minds away from the fast approaching issue, for example, a deadline. It can allow you to reconnect with your body and understand that it deserves just as much attention as you are giving to the cause of your stress. This may also perhaps minimize the strains upon the respiratory system that is often put upon us during periods of stress.
2. Natural essential oils
According to Dr. Edward for the ‘Global Healing Center‘, aromatherapy is a great way to cure or minimize stress levels. You can purchase natural essential oils (for example, on Amazon) and burn them with an oil burner, although there is also the option to purchase a diffuser for the oils. Dr. Edward noted that inhaling the oils can relax those in times of stress by slowing their brains down ever so slightly. Personally, I visited a wellbeing fair and was advised to try out lavender oil and cedarwood oil and felt as though these worked very well for stress
Exercise also helps me, personally, in times of stress. For example, yoga practice (my preferred outlet) can be highly beneficial as it can engage you in breathing practice as well as a physical work out. Although, of course, any form of exercise is good for the mind. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) stated that exercise produces endorphins (‘natural painkillers’) and that this can stabilize moods aswell as improve sleep, which can essentially minimize stress levels.
4. Go outside
Yes, when going outside, particularly in woodland areas, stress can be greatly reduced according to University of Derby researchers. Olgha Khazan for The Atlantic stated that Stanford University researchers considered that a walk in wild areas can minimize negative thoughts. As a result, having regular walks amongst nature can reduce stress levels in the long term.