Little By Little – Stress Awareness Month 2024

April is National Stress Awareness Month and what better time to reflect on how stress may be affecting you in your day to day life. These days we seem to be exposed to more stressful situations than ever before and this can have negative consequences not just for our mental health, but for our physical health as well.

 

Stress builds up over time and can often remain undetected, until the cracks start to show. By this point we’re probably feeling exhausted, run down, and at the end of our tether. And if our stress levels remain unchecked for too long, there’s every chance that we could be heading for complete and total burnout. 

 

Symptoms of stress vary and we all experience it in different ways. We may have interrupted sleep, feel more anxious, have painful headaches or feel depressed, and there are many more physical, mental and emotional symptoms associated with it, too. But prolonged stress is what we need to keep a careful eye on as this can lead to more serious diseases like heart disease, hypertension, and stroke.

 

This year, the theme for National Stress Awareness Month is Little By Little, which highlights the transformational power of small, consistent, positive actions over time. Sometimes, even the smallest step towards better self-care can have a huge impact on your mental health and overall wellbeing. Every little thing you do adds up to long-term benefits.

 

So, what small steps can you take to help manage your stress levels? Practising mindfulness and meditation are great ways to take time out from your day and allow yourself to reset and rebalance. Even taking just five minutes to breathe deeply and intentionally can help to calm a frazzled nervous system. Getting out in nature is another great way to combat stress. Fresh air does wonders for our wellbeing and a short daily walk is a simple and effective way to help reduce your stress levels and promote relaxation.

 

Exercise and movement in general is an effective way of reducing stress. Getting your heartrate up and your body moving helps to release feel-good endorphins that all contribute to lowering stress. You may choose to go for a fast run, smash out a HIIT session in the gym, or do something more relaxing like yoga or stretching. Choose what feels right, and good for you and try to do it at least three times a week.

 

One of the most important things we can do is to prioritise our sleep. And that doesn’t necessarily mean getting a solid nine hours a night. By focusing on our sleep hygiene we can set ourselves up for more restful and restorative sleep over time. Things like removing all technology from the room, ensuring that you have a good wind down routine, and making sure that your bedroom is actually set up to allow you to sleep properly are all ways that you can improve your quality of sleep, and regular good quality sleep is essential for reducing high stress levels.

 

Let’s be honest, the demands of modern life can take a real toll on your mental and emotional health. By working together we can help you recognise and understand the sources of your stress and anxiety and how they affect you. If you’ve been struggling with stress, don’t hesitate to get in touch and let’s work together to help you build the inner strength needed to face life’s challenges feeling empowered and in control.

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