How to manage stress and anxiety

How to manage stress and anxiety

Stress is a natural reaction to difficult situations in life, such as work, family, relationships and money problems.

People react differently to stress, some people don't even realise that they are stressed when they experience these symptoms.

Here are common symptoms of stress: 

* sleeping problems, sweating
* change in appetite.
* headaches, muscle tension, pain, nausea, indigestion and dizziness.

anxiety, irritability or low self-esteem, which can make you withdrawn, indecisive or tearful.

 To combat stress of of the key things to do is to change your situation - if you current situation is causing you stress then changing something may help. Depending on what is causing you the stress, the actions to take can vary.

Right now we are heading into a recession,  which is when a country experiences economic decline. A recession is problematic for a country because it means consumers and businesses are likely to be spending less cash and interest rates rise. As a result bills increase, pay rises are frozen and the knock on effect means that everyone (or most people) are worse off financially. We cannot underestimate the effect of low finances on stress. For many people (including myself) this can be a key source of stress.

Some of the common causes of stress include:

  • Financial Problems.
  • Work.
  • Health
  • Personal Relationships.
  • Parenting or caring for a loved one
  • Daily Life and busyness

Whatever is causing us stress we need to somehow manage it, (whilst we also at the same time try to tackle the cause) For example if money is causing me stress, then maybe getting a loan or finding a way to delay payments can address the cause, but there is also no point in taking out this stress on my family or friends which may then cause more stress and another different kind of stress - flighting with loved ones. 

So here are some strategies for keeping stress under check

  • Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories, including those on social media.

  • Maintain a normal routine. Helping children wake up, go to sleep, and eat meals at regular times provide them a sense of stability.

  • Take care of your body. including the following below:
    • Make time to unwind, when you get home from work don't just start on the evening's tasks, give yourself some 'me' time to even just 10 minutes to allow yourself to relax a bit.

    • Talk to others - chatting with friends and family may seem like its the last thing you want to do but it can be surprising how much a conversation or a meet up with someone you like can de-stress you.

    • Avoid drugs and alcohol. - Be aware of your smoking and drinking. Even though they may seem to reduce tension, this is misleading as they often make problems worse.

    • Exercise. Physical exercise can be very effective in relieving stress. Even going out to get some fresh air and doing some light physical exercise, like a little bike ride, or walking to the shops, can help.
    • Be mindful. Mindfulness meditation can be practised anywhere at any time. Research has suggested that it can reduce the effects of stress, anxiety and other related problems such as insomnia, poor concentration and low moods in some people. Our ‘Be Mindful’ website features a specially-developed online course in mindfulness, as well as details of local courses in your area: For me i find a great activity for mindfulness is crochet, I absolutely love it and it helps me to destress all the time. I always carry around my crochet with me and love to find moments in the day to do even just a line. Here is a picture of me with my crochet at the station waiting for the train (with my trusty Goodordering bags)
    Jacqui Ma with Crochet and Goodordering bags
      • Get some restful sleep. Sleeping problems are common when you’re suffering from stress. Try to ensure you get enough rest. For more tips on getting a good night’s sleep to read our guide ‘How to...sleep better’ at:

      • Cultivate gratitude. Being grateful for what you do have—even if it’s not a lot or not what you want forever—is a powerful antidote to stress.

      • Don’t be too hard on yourself. Try to keep things in perspective. After all, we all have bad days

      • Have more sex, from the online doctor from Lloyds pharmacy : "Sex can help you to relax, and take your mind off everyday worries and anxieties. During sex your body releases endorphins and oxytocin, and these feel-good hormones create feelings of relaxation and intimacy, as well as helping to stave off anxiety and depression."
      • Read more about the other 9 benefits of sex HERE on the original post. 

    Sleep - How to improve your sleep?


    Sleeping well can help reduce stress, if you are suffering from bad sleep as a result of stress, obviously addressing the root cause is best, but here are some things you can try to help yourself sleep well.

    • Establish a regular, relaxing bedtime routine that lets you unwind and sends a signal to your brain that it's time to sleep.
    • Create a restful environment: bedrooms that are dark, cool and quiet are generally easier to fall asleep and stay asleep in.
    • Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time each day.
    • Exercise regularly but avoid vigorous exercise near bedtime if it affects your sleep.
    • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed. They can stop you falling asleep and prevent deep sleep. Have a chamomile tea instead which has so many benefits one of which is that it reduces inflammation.
    • Only use your bed for sleep or sex. Unlike most physical activity, sex makes us sleepy.
    • Try apps and online programmes designed to help with sleep problems such as Pzizz, Sleepio or Sleepstation.
    • Avoid using screens in the evening, including on smartphones and tablets. The light from the screen can have a negative effect on sleep, and social media, news and games can all stimulate your brain and make you feel anxious.
    • Write down your worries if you lie awake worrying about tomorrow. This can help put your mind at rest.
    • If you can't sleep, don't worry about it. Get up and do something relaxing like listening to music or reading until you feel sleepy.

    Chamomile Tea

    Many researchers believe that chamomile tea may function like a benzodiazepine. Benzodiazepines are prescription drugs that can reduce anxiety and induce sleep. Some research suggests that chamomile binds to benzodiazepine receptors.

    You can even grow your own chamomile, i saw it growing recently in a park in stockholm on the grass, i should have collected a bunch of it! Here is a link showing how to grow chamomile from seeds all the way to tea. I think i'm going to give it a go!

    chamomile tea

    If you have any other tried and tested stress relieving tips please share them with us in the comments below.

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