Stress affects all of us, some more than others, and certainly the pandemic has increased stress levels for many of us.
These tips could help to combat stress and its symptoms leaving you free to enjoy the gentle lifting of lockdown restrictions
Have a hot drink –
Choose a favourite mug to make a relaxing infusion in – chamomile, lemon verbena or mint tea, warmed Chocolate Nourish Drink (www.nourishbyjaneclarke.com), or a mug of homemade soup. You can wrap your hands around it for warmth and comfort.
Combat stress – Make notes
Try keeping a little diary and when you feel stressed, write down the answer to the question above, what you choose to do about it and how it makes you feel. You will soon spot the actions that make you feel good and when you are not treating your body, or yourself, well.
Combat stress – Eat Right
Skipping meals and craving sugar foods and refined carbohydrates is common when we are stressed. This can send our blood glucose on a crazy rollercoaster of peaks and troughs, which makes us more stressed! Avoiding sugary drinks and snacks and eating regular meals, containing complex carbohydrates and good quality protein each time you eat, is therefore one of the best things you can do to see yourself through a stressful period.
Combat stress – Look after your gut
Stress, along with late nights, drinking alcohol and eating high sugar foods have all been shown to have a detrimental effect on the gut flora. Supplementing your diet with live bacteria, such as Bio-Kult Advanced (£9.48, www.bio-kult.com) can help to restore the balance of the gut flora and improve immune function.
Combat stress – Meditate
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need to be sat cross legged for hours, chanting, in order to meditate. Mediation can be practiced anywhere and everywhere, whether that be in a quiet spot at home or whilst you are out on your daily walk. There are many different ways to practice meditation, but one of the easiest is to master mindfulness. All you need to do is concentrate on what you’re doing in the moment, such as following the journey of the breath in and out of the body and observing how the body gently adjusts to the intake and expel of breath. During the day, try focussing on the steps of your feet and what’s going on around you, as this will allow you to rid your mind of stress and banish any anxious thoughts. There are also many highly recommended apps that offer guided meditation, my personal favourite is Head Space, which leaves me feeling calm and ready to take on whatever the day throws at me.
Combat stress – Get creative
Another side to meditation is mandala adult colouring in books, which have become a very popular platform for people wanting stress relief and a screen break. The circular shapes of mandalas have the power to calm the mind, balance the energies of your body, promote relaxation and enhance your creativity. The notion of focusing on the colouring in and choosing colours to help take the mind away from work for a break is very appealing to a lot of people who find it difficult to meditate with eyes closed in the more traditional way.