How to de stress

wellbeing

How to de stress

wellbeing

Neom de stressNeom Organics Cocooning Scented Candle and my pregnant lady version of wine: Coconut Water!

I’ve talked about stress a few times here on the blog, but I don’t think I’ve ever been really open about just how stressed I’ve been in the past. At some points over the last few years stress has affected me so much that I’ve experienced eye twitches and shortness of breath. It being Mental Health Awareness Week is also another reason to highlight stress

Stress needs to be taken seriously.

Stress can come in many forms, including complementary stress. I know that a little bit of the right kind of stress can help me be more productive and reach my goals. For example, whenever we step outside our comfort zone we are going to feel some stress, but of course that is the only way we can grow. We can also place stress on our body by not eating well, a lack of sleep or over exercise. Knowing your yourself, and when positive stress tips over into negative stress, is important for staying healthy!It’s key to identify sources of stress and try and change them when you can. A lot of de-stressing techniques will just be like a pebble in the ocean if you can’t tackle the route cause. Of course that can be easier said than done, and sometimes all you can do is change how you think about a certain situation and do your best to keep yourself healthy.

Here are some of my tips for de-stressing…

Write a list of the sources of stress in your life, then create an action plan for dealing with them. 

For me, finances were a bit of a stress so I set myself a goal to save enough for a 6 month reserve that I could live on if anything went wrong. Another thing that stressed me out was comparing myself to others. Of course this one isn’t so easy to deal with, but I identified the sources of things that didn’t make me feel good and stopped exposing myself to them, then I worked on changing how I thought about them. I kept telling myself that I am on my journey, no one else’s and reminding myself that I am wonderfully unique! More recently, I’ve been a little stressed at the idea of bringing a new baby home to a one bed flat, again not something that can easily be changed, so I’ve changed the way I think about it, also called re framing. Now I see it as a little adventure, a way that we can save more money and the fact that I’ll be even closer to my baby all of the time. 

Eat Well

Pesto chickpea quinoa salad 3

When you feel stressed it’s even more important that you don’t add to that stress with a crap diet! There’s no need to stress about every morsel that passes your lips either though, just eat mostly whole foods especially lots of fruit and vegetables. You might also find that some properly prepared whole grains can be beneficial, as are other foods rich in B vitamins as these can be used up quickly in a stressed body. Also try and keep an eye on refined sugar and caffeine as they will just add to your over all stress rather than help it!

Get enough sleep

Sleep is so important, I really can’t highlight this enough! Check out my free sleep guide for loads of ideas on how you can improve your sleep. 

Re-assess your exercise

Workingoutinallstars

As I mentioned above, as much as exercise is good for us, too much or the wrong kind for your body can seriously stress it out. I think the best way to access this to be really honest with how you feel before and after workouts. If you do you long run on a weekend are you looking forward to it or dreading it? How do you feel afterwards? A lot has been said about the stress long distance running can put on our body, however I actually believe this is an individual thing (as I do with everything health related!) some people clearly thrive running long distances, yet others don’t. Whatever kind of exercise you are doing I think you should be having a least one, preferably two rest days. If you have a lot of stress in your life, I think much could be said for dropping a usual workout, replacing it with yoga and more time to sleep instead! 

Make time windows

This was a great piece of advice given to me by a fellow health coach. Meditation etc is wonderful, but if it becomes yet another item on a never ending to do list then what’s the point? She suggested reducing over all tasks and workload to create ‘time windows’ i.e. space in your day where you have nothing planned to fill it. Then you can choose what you’d like to do with that time, if it’s meditation that’s great, but reading a book, doing some healthy or even no so healthy baking or even just going for a walk can be very relaxing.

Have a list of your fave de stressing activities

When you do have those time windows, having a little list to remind you of the things you can do is great for inspiration. Here are some of my faves:

  • Candle lit bath – I would massively recommend Neom Candles, they very kindly sent me the Cocooning candle pictured above to join in their stress less challenge!
  • Glass of wine coconut water, movie and candles
  • Cooking something delicious but simple
  • Online window shopping
  • Reading a book
  • Going out for a cup of good coffee
  • Yoga

The things that work best for me are no brainer activities where I don’t have to think much! That’s really what de-stressing is all about for me, time not to have to think too much and switch my brain off for a bit.

Meditate

Well I had to have this on the list didn’t I? I openly admit I struggle with meditation but I highly recommend the Take 10 Headspace app. You can also try my little technique of taking 5 deep, purposeful breaths every morning. It takes seconds and can have a huge impact!

Alternative therapies

Cyrstals

The two therapies I have found really help me are Reiki and massage. I find Reiki extremely relaxing and even if you don’t believe in it, lying down in a quiet space with someone sending you positive vibes is a lovely experience. 

What role does stress play in your life? What are your tips for de stressing? 

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19 Comments

  1. Ms.J

    Oooh love this..and what timing! I am currently a little dynamite of stress on the brink of explosion. It’s weird; I -very suddenly- realized how much of office work I have on my plate, and amidst all of that my laptop conked, then the internet itself(!), a coworker called to resign saying she feels intimidated by lil’ ol me!..yeah so just breathing in quietly without having a panic attack is a marvel in itself. You’ve listed everything beautifully!
    I am just incredibly grateful that I am not adding to my stress by worrying about exercising and “controlling” what I eat like I used to.

    Reply
    • Laura

      Oh no sorry to hear you’ve been feeling stressed out! Sounds like you’ve had a few things all at once, definitely just sit and catch a breath! Oh and remember if someone else feels like that about you. it’s often more likely to be their issues rather than anything you’ve done xx

      Reply
  2. Anna @AnnaTheApple

    I find the best way for me to de-stress is to read a good book with a hot chocolate. Or have a coffee with my mum! Generally I find the things that most stress me out is running out of time and having too much to do. But at the end of the day you just need to prioritise what needs to be done, and what can wait.
    I think your tips sound great :)
    In terms of exercise, I find that when running becomes stressful (mainly when I put too much pressure on myself to hit a certain goal) I just need to take a step back and reevaluate whether my goal is that important or not. It definitely helped with the marathon to just forget any time expectations and just enjoy it.

    Reply
    • Laura

      I’m the same with running out of time, I hate that feeling! Sounds like you have a really healthy attitude to exercise :-)

      Reply
  3. sarah nash

    Fab article – I am queen of the stress, but half the time I’m not sure what Im stressing about so therefore it makes me stress more… if you get me… anyway, I love the idea of writing down the stress points and doing things to avoid being put in that situation. Stress plays such a big impact on my life and often influences what

    Reply
    • sarah nash

      I eat. what I do and how I feel. Great post x

      Reply
      • Laura

        Thanks so much Sarah, I’m glad this has been useful for you! I do get what you mean, I think some of us are so wired to be stressed all the time it’s just how we live!

        Reply
  4. Sarah

    Hi Laura! Just saw through an IG hashtag that you’re preggo and had to say hello! Congrats on the baby! I’m due with my first girl late July. :) Anyway, had to let you know about a $25 Pink Blush maternity online giveaway I’m hosting this week! Don’t miss out! :) http://www.sarahandderek.blogspot.com

    Reply
    • Laura

      Thanks Sarah and congrats to you too! Is the giveaway good for me in the UK?

      Reply
      • Sarah

        Yes they do! I think your shipping rates might be higher than ours, but you can still use the $25 credit however you’d like!

        Reply
  5. Lucie

    Its incredible how much strain stress puts our bodies under. Even with good contrition, good sleep, and moderate exercise, under stress a person can still feel like utter rubbish. Ive been here before and wondered what Im doing wrong and never believed that it could be due to stress/anxiety. One of my favourite things to do in an evenings after a hard day is soak in the bath (With lots of bubbles!), with candles and a good book 0 best stress reliever ever!

    Reply
    • Laura

      You are so right there, it effects everything! A good bath is so relaxing!

      Reply
  6. Lucy

    Hi Laura,
    I commented ages ago – we had a similar journey in terms of eating habits, missing periods and eventually pregnancy. I haven’t commented since you got pregnant, so congratulations!
    Please don’t stress about the one bedroom flat. I live in a city where rents are very high and I know lots of people who have babies (actually, some toddlers as well) in a one bed flat. You’re meant to have them with you for at least the first six months and longer is no problem. And you may end up cosleeping anyway… It’s all perfectly possible!
    De stressing when pregnant – swimming did it for me. But work stress meant that I didn’t enjoy my pregnancy as much as I should have done (that and the nausea). Don’t make the same mistake!
    Lucy

    Reply
    • Laura

      Hi Lucy, thanks for the comment! It’s reassuring to know that others are in the same situation as me! That is something I’m trying to remember as much as possible as I really want to enjoy every moment of this pregnancy!

      Reply
  7. Lucy

    Thanks for the tips. There is a relaxation course I’ve been meaning to go on, but I haven’t been able to make it for the past 3 weeks- so that in itself is making me stressed!
    I find exercise stress relieving, unless I am putting pressure on myself to exercise a certain amount.

    Reply
    • Laura

      As I said in the post about meditation, I think it’s hard when just trying to fit it in makes you more stressed! I think when you are exercising right it is most definitely a stress relief!

      Reply
  8. Lauren (@PoweredbyPB)

    Meditation and yoga are big de-stressors for me. I’ve actually been quite good lately, but when we were in Dublin I did go through a lot of times when I would feel very stressed, and like I never had enough time to do everything I wanted to do, during that time I took rhodiola and it helped massively. I still take it occasionally now if I start to feel really stressed out or overwhelmed and I totally swear by it. Running is a big stress reliever for me too.

    Reply
    • Laura

      I keep meaning to look into rhodiola, I know you’ve mentioned it a few time. Feeling like I have too much to do and not enough time to do it is always a stress trigger for me!

      Reply
  9. Maria @ runningcupcake

    I need to read before I go to bed- it helps so much to get work out of my mind. Running or walking really help too.

    Reply

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