Too much stress can put a real damper on life.
This April – also officially designated Stress Awareness Month – editor Jane Garton searches out some simple ways to help keep it in check.
We all get stressed from time to time – it’s part of life. Money worries, job insecurities, relationship problems and now the Corona virus are common triggers. And it can be seriously debilitating, leading to all kinds of problems from insomnia to digestive upsets. The important thing is to address problems as they arise and to nip any niggles in the bud before they have the chance to develop into a full-blown stress attack.
Here are five simple ways to help you get through those stressful moments.
Cut down on caffeine
Limit your cups of tea and coffee. The caffeine they contain can increase anxiety, tension and nervousness. Switch to soothing herbal teas such as camomile or valerian, or stick to mineral water. Other relaxing teas include lime flower, verbena and lemon balm.
Do the following simple exercise every morning and night or during the day if you start to feel stressed. Tense and relax all the muscle groups in turn. Start with your feet and work your way up your legs, buttocks, lower back, spine, arms, chest and abdomen, finishing with the muscles in your neck and head. Focus on the different sensation between tension and relaxation until you become really aware of it.
Try to set aside a special time every day for some meditation. It really is the perfect antidote to stress and strain. Simply staying still in a quiet environment regulating your breathing, letting your body go and focussing on an object will put your mind into a state of relaxed concentration. While meditating, your breathing, heart and pulse rates slow right down and you start to relax.
Go for flowers
If things really get tense, try the Bach Flower Remedy Rescue Remedy, a five-flower combination for emergency situations. It contains impatiens for irritability, rock rose for dread, cherry plum for perfectionism, star of Bethlehem for trauma and clematis for that disconnected feeling that comes when things seem too much. Put two drops in a glass of water and sip four times a day. Alternatively, you can rub the remedies on your lips or behind the ears, or drop them directly on to your tongue.
Several herbal remedies have amazing calming properties.
Siberian ginseng belongs to a group of herbs known as adaptogens that are thought to help the body cope with the stress of physical exertion, sleep deprivation, infections, psychological upsets and more.
Rhodiola rosea can help common symptoms of stress such as poor concentration, lack of motivation, sleeplessness and depression.
Passionflower together with valerian belongs to a group of herbs known as relaxants and both do just as their name implies. They aid relaxation. Passionflower has long been valued for its calming, sedative properties and is especially good for taking the edge off anxiety and worry, as well as helping stress symptoms such as a racing heart. It is often combined with valerian, which is worth considering if your worries are keeping you awake at night.