It’s Stress awareness month so what better time to look at ways to cope with stress?
This awareness month has been going since April 1992 and highlights what many often take for granted. Stress. It’s everywhere! And the sad reality is that we are so conditioned to accept it we often don’t even know it’s affecting us.
It often takes a different lens to see things, a different perspective. I think we can all agree that COVID has offered us that tool. Everyone has felt it. At times, more than others.
I remember the first lockdown, being stuck in my flat. Alone, for months on end. It wasn’t easy and I know many others were in worse situations. I think that’s when I really started paying attention to exercise as a way to cope. And that has stuck with me till today.
At first exercising each day was a pain. It was difficult to muster up motivation to move from my work desk to the yoga mat… a whole 2 meters away. But after a few days of pushing myself to do it I found myself actually wanting to! Looking back on those days is a surreal experience. These days you can find me at my local gym most week nights because I know that exercise is good for me.
Indeed, medical practitioners espouse the virtues of exercising, for very good reason; it seems to make you feel happier! The theory is that during exercise our bodies create dopamine and serotonin, both great for our moods. Psychologists also think it might be related to the sense of accomplishment. I know I feel great knowing that I got up, into my kit, and did something healthy.
There’s a lot happening in the world right now that can cause stress. Worries about money, increases in the costs of living, even family life and work all contribute to stress. That’s why I choose to exercise a few times a week. Of course, there are plenty of other things you can do. If the weather isn’t great I often find myself watching movies or series to escape. The main things is finding time for yourself. Making sure that you get that 15 minute of ME time every day.
I asked a few of my colleagues what they do to relax. Here’s a few snippets from them:
Paint by numbers. It’s an app called Happy Colour, and I am totally addicted! I find it relaxing because it takes your mind elsewhere.
I make candles to relax in my free time. I’ve always loved art and recently fell in love with the medium of wax! It’s so satisfying to watch it melt together and I’m left with beautiful smelling candles when I’m done!
Pilates and reading books. I enjoy the novels of Jane Fallon. They’re real page turners and you get lost in them and can’t think of anything else!
Remember to give yourself a break each day. Work hard, but also make sure you relax hard too. Have a great month!