Everyone feels stressed at times. And thanks to our increasingly fast paced daily lifestyles – whether we are running late, can’t get online, or worry ourselves about a looming deadline – stress can be a frequent occurrence.
When we find ourselves overwhelmed, whether in response to a traumatic life event, relationship issues or a particularly demanding work schedule, we experience unpleasant symptoms such as disrupted sleep, headaches and digestive upset. It is important in times of stress to prioritise a self-care routine and implement stress management techniques, while also refraining from habits that can exaggerate the symptoms of stress.
Here, Martin Ricketts, Plutus Health’s CEO, gives his tips on how to manage stress with some simple and effective techniques.
Manage your time
A heavy workload can be a key source of stress. The digital revolution has made us seem available at any hour. But avoid merging ‘me time’ with work commitments. Try and limit having too many projects – whether in work or your personal life – on the go at one time. Check emails at certain times of the day and give yourself a cut-off point, ensuring that you use this time to switch off fully.
Take regular breaks at work
Working long hours often can’t be avoided but taking sufficient breaks can go a long way toward combating stress. Spending your lunch hour with friends or co-workers can erase the negative effects of a hectic workday. Release stress before it builds by chatting about things or sharing a laugh to lift your mood.
Use healing herbs
Natural remedies have been proven to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. According to research, Kava root may be one of the most effective herbal supplements. Its calming effect may relieve anxiety, restlessness, sleeplessness, and stress-related symptoms such as muscle tension or spasm. You can take kava as a concentrated extract in capsule or tablet form. Other effective stress relieving extracts include lemon balm, theanine and valerian.
Essential oils are full of healing properties which can make aromatherapy a great way to reduce stress. This could be through an aromatherapy massage or applying a few dabs of essential oil to your skin and your pillow to improve sleep.
Lavender is renowned for its calming, relaxing effects, considered to be a nervous system restorative. It can help to improve sleep, relieve irritability, anxiety and panic attacks, as well as calm a nervous stomach and general tension.
Stretch away stress with yoga
The word yoga, from the Sanskrit word yuj, means to yoke or bind, and is often interpreted as the “union” of mind, body and soul. Many studies have found that a little yoga in the morning, at night, or even on a lunch break, can minimise stress and increase productivity. It is believed that yoga is effective for stress relief because, aside from the physical benefits that yoga brings, it encourages a good mood, an increase in mindfulness, practicing controlled breathing techniques and a healthy dose of self-compassion.
Friends and family are the best tools we have to help with handling stress and offering a fresh perspective. The arrival of social networks has blurred the lines on what defines true connection. Talk to others, share what’s going on – but try it face to face, or at least on the phone. Studies have shown that face to face interaction can vastly decrease the level of stress hormones within the body, so hug it out!
Looking after your health is an important part of daily life. Being a member of a health plan is an effective way of protecting your health for the unexpected future. Find out about Plutus Health’s services here: https://www.plutushealth.co.uk/personal-health-plans/
Martin Ricketts is CEO of Plutus Health