Exercising and moving the body produces endorphins which naturally make us feel good. This can significantly increase our feeling of well-being. It can be intimidating to start exercising, but even incorporating a light exercise into your day can be a great way to start.
How can I manage my stress
There are lots of different ways to manage stress in our lives, and often it’s the combination of several smaller things that can make all the difference between stress being manageable or unmanageable. These strategies can work to prevent stress building up, as well as help to manage it when it does. Check out the list below and consider how you could incorporate these into your daily routine:
When our stress levels are high, it’s difficult for the body to simply relax on its own. Activities which actively reduce our stress hormones are more effective at reducing our stress levels than waiting for it to happen naturally. Activities like yoga, massage, a warm bath and meditation are effective for this.
It sounds too simple to be true – but incorporating even 10 minutes of deep breathing into your day can actively reduce stress hormones. Try lying down in a quiet place and breathing deep into your belly (not your chest) for 6 counts, holding for 4 counts, and breathing out for 7 counts.
When we sleep our body repairs itself and naturally reduces its stress hormones. Staying up late or getting up too early can disrupt this. Prioritise your sleep even if it means getting off your phone early at night.
What we eat has a huge impact on how we feel. There is growing evidence to suggest good nutrition is essential for mental health. It is recommended that healthy dietary patterns consist of a high intake of vegetables, fruit, wholegrains, nuts, seeds and fish; with limited processed foods.
Having fun and enjoying life provides a balance with the serious things in life that we have to manage. Having a laugh can help us to regain perspective and reduce stress levels.
Time in nature
Research shows that spending time in nature can reduce feelings of fear, anger and stress – simply viewing a nature scene causes physical changes in our bodies which improves wellbeing.
Doing an activity which requires creativity can help to reduce stress levels as it provides a healthy distraction and release. Creative activities like writing, cooking, dancing, drawing, playing music or learning new things are good options.
Spending meaningful time with a supportive network of whanau and friends can bring meaning, purpose and connection to our lives which helps to reduce stress.