It’s 6pm. You’re trying to put dinner together, even though everyone in the house wants something different. You’ve got one child moaning about homework, and another screaming for no apparent reason. The phone’s ringing, the dog might be barking, you’ve had a nightmare day at work and your other half is nowhere to be found. Know the feeling?
Stress is something we can’t escape from time to time, and although a week alone relaxing on a quiet, sunny beach would be ideal, there probably isn’t time. I mean, you’re lucky to have time to have a brew or go to the toilet on your own, right? Fortunately, there are some very simple things we can do to minimise stress without causing more hassle: here’s our top ten tips for tackling stress.
1. Get a good night’s sleep
We may as well start with the seemingly impossible! Although waking up for the night feeds or to children climbing into your bed can’t be helped, there are a couple of things you can do to make even the shortest sleeps benefit a lot more. Avoid your phone, laptop or tablet for an hour or two before bedtime as the blue light in the screen activates brain activity, making it much harder to switch off! Wind your mind down before bed with activities such as reading, listening to the radio or taking warm bath.
2. Cut down on the coffee
It’s simple really: less caffeine equals less stress! Caffeine causes your body to release adrenaline and cortisol, which can increase feelings of stress. We’re not saying to cut it out altogether (we couldn’t do it either!), just be aware of the caffeine you’re consuming and how it might effect you.
3. Write down your thoughts
This can be anything! From a to-do list for the next day, to the biggest worry on your mind. Writing things down can help you express your thoughts and feelings, taking the weight and worry of your mind a little. This may take away that feeling of everything being on your mind, and can help you relax.
4. Spend time with your friends
They say laughter is the best medicine – and we agree! Spending time with your friends, even if it’s just half an hour, can make you feel so much better. Whether it’s a natter over a brew, or a full day out, having fun with your friends may make you feel more relaxed and make stresses disappear. When something’s really bothering you, sharing your feelings with a pal might take a lot of worry away. They may be able to give you advice too!
5. Go for a walk
Even if it’s a brisk five minute walk around the block, walking can help reduce feelings of stress. It can be a short break in the fresh air to gather your thoughts, or make a day of it and take a break in the great outdoors! The exercise and fresh air are great for busting stress too!
6. Hot bath
I’m sure we all agree, sometimes there’s nothing better than a hot bath! Soak your stresses away in the water, and take some well-deserved time for yourself. You could use the time to read a book or even have a pamper with a face mask.
7. Deep breaths
It doesn’t get much simpler than this! Slow, deep breaths can help to reduce your heart rate and lower stress. It gives you a vital few minutes to escape whatever is stressing you and concentrate on yourself. This is probably the quickest and easiest stress-buster: it can be done anywhere at any time!
8. Get organized
Now, this doesn’t mean clean and tidy your entire house from top to bottom, and plan the next six months of your life down to the minute (unless you want to). Simply take five minutes to organise the space around you, whether that be your desk at work, your car or even the kitchen counter. Clutter can contribute to stress – a clearer space equals a clearer mind!
9. Dance around to your favourite song
Taking a couple of minutes to be silly and laugh is a great way to improve your mood and beat stress! We’re talking full-on, singing into your microphone hairbrush, dancing around in front of your mirror with the music up loud! It’s super fun and it’s great cardio – get the kids involved to get them giggling too!
10. Have a cuddle
Whether it’s your kids, your other half, your pet or even your mum – you can’t beat a good cuddle. The closeness and quality time is an instant mood boost, and the physical contact releases feel-good endorphins!
All of these tips are super easy to do, and can really make a difference to your stress and overall mood. Which one are you going to try out? If you have any other tips that help you tackle stress, let us know in the comments!