Many of us feel more stressed with more people working from home or trying to play ‘catch up’ on their business following the pandemic. We struggle to juggle having a work/life balance. That’s not to mention the rise in screen time, online working, and the uncertainties around health.
Flexible working can sometimes feel like you’re working 24/7 (who can relate?). Did you know that 70% of doctor visits involve stress-related issues? Stress can negatively impact our mental and physical health. But please don’t get stressed about being stressed. The good news is that when a good diet, lifestyle and exercise plan is maintained, we can reduce our stress levels, and it can help to improve our mood and mental health. But most of all, taking time out to recharge is vital.
We share some facts about stress and the solutions to developing simple stress-busting ideas.
What is stress?
Stress is the mind and body’s reaction to uncertain events and challenges. A rise in cortisol, aka ‘the stress hormone’ and adrenaline, triggers our fight or flight response which we would originally use to stave off perceived threats such as ‘Tigers’. Now, it’s metaphorical Tigers such as work, conflict, poverty or wealth and unemployment that worry us these days. How someone deals with stress is individual to them. “Stress can be defined as the degree to which you feel overwhelmed or unable to cope as a result of unmanageable pressures,” explains Mental Health Foundation.
There are two types of stress ‘positive’ and ‘negative’:
Sometimes stress can be a good thing regarding performance. Adrenaline and motivation can help us achieve our goals, but managing our stress levels is paramount to our overall mental and physical well being. Stress helps to boost our productivity and our performance levels with small doses of adrenaline and cortisol. It can also make something enjoyable such as watching our favourite sports team play. In a physical sense, it can strengthen our immune system, focus and alert us to danger, and boost our memory.
Stress has harmful side effects when experienced continuously or regularly. Then it can play havoc with our immune systems, causing a range of illnesses such as depression, anxiety and even heart disease (Producing too much epinephrine can damage our heart). It’s thought that 70% of visits to the GP are stress-related. These can range from reduced periods and menstrual cycles for women to sleep disturbance and a lack of libido. These physical causes are triggered by our lack of mental capacity when being able to deal with stressful situations or what feels stressful to us.
Work, relationships and body image are known causes of stress, but how do you manage it when you have so much to do daily?
- Regular but realistic challenges are significant for your mind, body and business, it helps make us feel stronger. We cannot control certain events but what we can do is get the building blocks in place to best sustain and keep our mind and body as well as possible.
- Exercise regularly, from walking daily to lifting weights thrice a week. Gentle exercise works wonders and is a great way to kickstart your fitness regime.
- Take time out of work to recharge your mental energy and gain perspective. Presenteeism’s impact on productivity is estimated to be 12 times higher than Absenteeism when we are physically present at work but not mentally productive.
- Reduce screen time and swap social media’s ‘scroll hole’ with some deep breathing.
- Try to get enough sleep. Exercise and lifting weights can help us feel sleepier.
- Create a well-being plan around your business plan. Rather than just scheduling work meetings and commitments, plan regular breaks, including self-care time and time with loved ones.
“I get my best ideas when I am working out,” explains Cedar Court ambassador and gym regular Sophie Mei Lan (https://mamamei.co.uk).
Sophie, who also runs the Women’s World of Wellbeing group, follows the NHS’ Five Ways to well-being approach to managing our mental health and stress levels:
- Get Active
- Take Notice
“This is a great way to think about creating our well-being plan and what it should include,” explains Sophie.
Mindfulness practices will help you develop three critical capacities, collectively referred to as ‘AIM.’ These fundamental building blocks of mindfulness, as we see it, are:
- Allowing – an attitude of kindness and acceptance
- Inquiry – a curiosity about your present-moment experience
- Meta-awareness – the ability to observe your thoughts, feelings, sensations and impulses as they are happening
People who can AIM respond more and react less: When we learn to AIM, we become better able to regulate and manage our emotions.
We can focus more readily.
We become more adaptable and better able to change as things shift and change.
We empathise with others more fully.
Begin by giving yourself 10 minutes of Mind Time daily – mindfulness to boost your brain power, build resilience and transform your relationships, work and life. Take some time out today with a simple, hassle-free membership with FITFLEX GYMS and LEISURE CLUB; follow Instagram account @cedarcourtfitness for updates and offers.
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