5 ways to help you reduce stress

There are times when we all feel stressed. This could be work-related, or something more personal. Amid the current circumstances, you may feel more stressed than usual and not able to access your usual way of unwinding. That may have been heading to the gym, meeting up for a coffee with your friends or popping round to visit family for a cup of tea.

However, there are some alternative ways you can reduce your stress levels and feel calmer and better able to deal with the challenges of the day.

1. Stay physically active

As the gyms are closed, your usual stress-busting routine isn’t available at your disposal. But there are ways you can stay active that will still have the same effect on your stress levels.

Staying active will help you keep control and a routine. You don’t have to go to a gym to do it. It could be a home workout, a short or long walk, or even dusting off the bike in the shed.

According to the NHS, by staying physically active, you can raise your self-esteem; help you set goals and challenges and achieve them and cause chemical changes in your brain which help to positively change your mood.

Spending hours in the gym isn’t the only option, you can find activities you enjoy and make them part of a new workout routine for you.

2. Learn new skills

Learning is about gaining new knowledge, developing a skill or having a new experience that enriches your life. It should challenge you and help you to constantly improve.

With everyone having a bit of extra time on their hands, there may not be a better time to learn a new skill.

It’s something we all take for granted when we’re too busy with our commute, or too tired after a long day in the office. But learning a new skill can have several benefits to your stress levels and your overall mental wellbeing.

In the short term, it takes you out of that scenario that is causing you stress and gives you something else to focus on. In the long term, you develop a skill that benefits you. This could be a new language, a new hobby, or even just fixing a puncture on your bike.

According to Mind, learning is good for us. It increases self-esteem and confidence, encourages social interaction and helps us cope with stress. When we’re learning, our mind is on the ‘here-and-now’.

Getting up to date on your CPD activities might be another way you can learn new skills. If you’re using your time to increase your CPD activities, you can record each one in the Trailblazer Tracking app.

3. Take control

With your usual day-to-day routine disrupted, and your go-to activities for stress-busting no longer at your disposal, you might feel the stress levels starting to increase.

However, there’s a solution to every problem. Maintaining a negative state of mind and thinking “I can’t do anything about my problem” only makes your stress worse. According to the NHS, the feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress, so combating that is important.

The act of taking control is empowering and is a crucial part of creating a solution that satisfies you, and not someone else. One of the ways of doing this is improving time management. Sometimes, it may feel like you never have enough time, so better time management is a way of regaining control of your days. It’s about working smarter, not harder.

You can do this by:

  • Working out your goals

These can be long, medium or short term. Knowing your goals helps you plan better and focus on achieving them. Through the Trailblazer Tracking app, you can help set goals and track their progress to monitor where you’re at.

  • Making a list

A to-do list is one way of staying organised. It helps you work out priorities and timings and helps you put off the non-urgent tasks.

  • Focusing on the results

Good time management means doing high-quality work, not high quantity. Concentrating not on how busy you are, but the results you produce is one way of beating stress.

4. Help other people

Helping others is essential in the current climate. Even with social distancing measures in place, you can still help people.

According to Mind, connecting with other people helps your overall mental wellbeing and reduces your stress levels. It takes your mind off what is causing you stress and allows you to focus your mind elsewhere.

When helping others, it creates positive feelings and a sense of reward, giving you a feeling of purpose and self-worth. As well as this, you’re connecting with other people which is another step into positive mindfulness.

Volunteering in your local community will help connect you with people and help others. You can visit here for more information on a range of volunteering opportunities.

5. Concentrate on you

According to a study by the TUC, workers in the UK work the longest hours in Europe. This means we might not be spending enough time doing the things we really enjoy.

You might be too busy in the evenings during the week, or your work may spill over into the weekend. Whatever the case, it’s important to give yourself time to reduce your stress so you can reset and go again. This may mean setting time aside a couple of nights a week to concentrate on yourself, and avoiding opening that laptop at the weekend.

By giving yourself ‘you time’, you’re concentrating on the things you like to do, that helps move your mind away from work. This could be through exercise, learning something new or even just sitting down to listen to a podcast. It’s important to take yourself away from the causes of stress to help yourself reset and move on.