Wednesday, 16 May 2018

34 Things to Help You De-Stress | MHAW18

Today for Mental Health Awareness Week, I thought that I would continue with this years theme of Stress, and share with you a whole bunch of ways and coping mechanisms that you can use to de-stress. It is so important that we are able to recognise when we are feeling stressed and just as essential that we are able to find relaxing things to do, in order to reduce our stress levels. I know that sometimes it can be hard to think of things that are able to make you feel less stressed as well as finding time to do the activities that bring your stress down.

When feeling stressed, it is important to find the cause of the stress in order to feel better, there are a whole range of things that could lead you to being stressed but as an example, you could feel stressed within the workplace. If you're feeling stressed, the worst and most unhelpful things that you could do is turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as smoking or drinking. There are so many different things that can be done to overcome stress, and I can't list them all,, some of them may even contradict each other but it is all about finding something that works for you. Without further ado, let's get in..


  1. Go for a walk, even if it is just for ten minutes. It'll give you some time to clear your head as well as boosting endorphins and doing some mild exercise.
  2. Try some breathing exercises, or just breath deeply which can help to reduce tension and relieve stress due to the extra oxygen going into your body.
  3. Practice Mindfulness Meditation which is defined as 'a mental state achieved by focusing your awareness on the present moment, whilst calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations'. Mindfulness can be practiced through normal, everyday activities. You can practice it with all of your senses and some examples can be whilst eating, exercising, breathing, visualising/imagining, washing, driving, the list goes on.
  4. Read a book.
  5. Take some time away from screens, whether it be a computer screen, a phone, a television or even a tablet, screens have been proven to increase the levels of stress, especially when they are being used for a long period of time without a break.
  6. Drink water, the NHS Eatwell Guide suggests that we should drink 6-8 glasses of fluid per day which includes water, lower fat milk and sugar-free drinks including tea and coffee. Drinking water can really benefit all aspects of your health including your mental health.
  7. Listen to Music, Classical music is said to relax your body and brain but in reality, any music that you enjoy is most likely going to help to relax you and will fill your brain with feel-good neurochemicals.
  8. Eat a Banana, I am not entirely sure how reliable this suggestion is and I presume would only work if you're only feeling slightly stressed but Banana's contain Potassium which helps to regulate blood pressure, which often rises in times of feeling stressed.
  9. Connect with people, especially people close to you because being around people can not only help to calm or distract you from the issue that is causing you to feel stressed, but activities done with friends, work colleagues or our families can help you to relax and laugh, which alone is good for stress.
  10. Have some time to yourself, often people don't want to spend some time on their own when feeling stressed out of worry that it could make the stress worse but in reality, having some time with yourself, where you can do all of the things that you love can be really beneficial. 
  11. Exercise regularly, I know that to a lot of us, there is nothing worse than thinking about exercising but exercising can really improve stress levels and your mental state as a whole, so it is important to do a little bit regularly.
  12. Get some restful sleep, when feeling stressed, it can be especially difficult to sleep but you could take a number of steps to try and improve your sleep, you could turn off your phone, change your environment, get out of bed in the mornings if you can't sleep instead of just lying there and dwelling on how stressed you feel.
  13. Use a Face Mask, face masks are one of my favourite things to do when I am feeling stressed and need to relax, they are relaxing and soothing for both your skin and mind and most face masks only require to be left on for around ten minutes so you can always find time for them.
  14. Have a long, hot bath, I understand that not everybody has time within their day to have a bath, especially a long one but after a long, stressful day the first thing I want to do when I get home is have a bath. It relaxes your body and gives you some time to yourself.
  15. Organise your time & leave the least important tasks to last. I can't express enough how important this is, especially if you're feeling stressed over a busy day coming up. Organising your time and day is such a good way to ensure that you stay motivated to get everything done. Likewise, if you have a list longer than your arm of things to do then prioritise the most important ones first, so that if you don't make it to the end of your list, the important things are already complete.
  16. Make a list of things that you have to do, so you know exactly what needs doing and so you can tick off tasks as you go. Having a visual list ensures that you don't miss anything and you can see the progress being made.
  17. Accept the things that you can't change. We can often get ourselves worked up and stressed out over things that are out of our control and although it may seem difficult, accepting that there are things beyond your control can really help you spend your time more productively.
  18. Talk to somebody about how you're feeling. When you're feeling stressed it is essential that you talk to somebody about it to avoid it building up and you getting even more distressed. Chances are that the person you talk to will be supportive and may even have some advice to give you.
  19. Try to remain positive, we have all been there where we have a mildly stressful day but we end up getting so worked up that we drop a penny on the floor and cry about it. If we try to remain positive throughout the day and look for the positives instead of the negatives, we might actually feel better and less stressed by the end of the day.
  20. Write down how you're feeling, it could be in a diary or just jotted on a piece of paper that you will put in the bin, but sometimes if you even just write down what is going on, it can feel like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders.
  21. Do some crafts, making crafty things can be such a good way to de-stress and can also be very relaxing. Craft isn't for everyone, but I can guarantee that if you look into it, there would be one small project that suits you. It is a good distraction and gives you something else to focus on.
  22. Watch a film, or start a TV Series. Despite this contradicting a point I made earlier, sometimes watching a film is a good opportunity to relax, unwind and to push your worries away for a while. It is really important to ensure that we can have periods in our day where we can escape our worries.
  23. Do some cleaning, especially if you're stressed over things that need to be done. If you're trying to get work done in a messy environment, you aren't going to work as well as you would in a clean one. Take five or ten minutes out just to tidy and clean your surroundings, it'll make you feel much better and probably a little less stressed.
  24. Try to do some Yoga, Yoga is amazing for the body and mind and really does allow you to unwind and de-stress.
  25. Learn to self-soothe by painting your nails or take part in an activity that you enjoy, it'll help you to relax.
  26. Do a word search, Sudoku or crossword as games that work your brain can distract and relax you from any stress that you may be feeling.
  27. Go for a drive and try to take in the scenery and surroundings.
  28. People watch in a public place.
  29. Learn something new, whether it be on the internet, in education or just a random fact.
  30. Write positive things down to help you think positively in stressful situations.
  31. Write down your goals which will remind you of where you want to be, what you're trying to achieve and to get motivated to do the things that you've always wanted to.
  32. Don't compare situations to the past or worry about the future, it won't get you anywhere and could even set you back, try to live in the present.
  33. Do something nice for somebody else every day, whether it be buying someone a coffee, talking to somebody who you haven't in some time, helping someone carry their shopping, or even just holding a door open. There are so many things that you can do to put a smile on somebody else's face and you'll feel much better for it.
  34. Remember to smile, smiling is much better than frowning.
I hope that among this list there was at least one thing that could help or benefit you, what are your favourite things to do to unwind and de-stress? If you have any other suggestions then feel free to leave them below.

Thank-you for reading, Tay x

Sources:
Google - Mindfulness
Mental Health Foundation - How To Manage Stress

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