Stress means different things to different people. To some it’s a quickened heart rate and loss of appetite when things get too much at work, to others its sleepless nights and a feeling of queasiness after an argument. Sometimes it’s just not feeling right, or feeling overwhelmed.
Knowing some easy mental and physical tactics to manage this stress when it hits can be really useful. So we spoke to two people who have made a career out of helping others feel better.
Yoga teacher Sarah Eckersley and mindset coach Lisa Hawkyard told us their advice for handling stress in its many different forms.
Both Sarah and Lisa have been in situations they’ve felt under high levels of stress in their lives; Sarah, before turning to yoga as a career, suffered from panic attacks whilst working in a job she hated. Lisa is a mother to pop star Louisa Johnson and dealt with the stress of seeing her daughter under pressure.
Below they tell us six simple ways they would advise anyone to relieve stress.
Remember there’s power in saying ‘no’
Scared of saying ‘no’ as you don’t want to worry others? Sometimes you have to put yourself first, otherwise it can add to your stress levels.
We all have a certain friend or person in our life who we love dearly, but who often drains us, or, a colleague who just loves to offload. But you’ve got to stay away from those who burden you too much.
Lisa said she no longer feels guilty about ignoring calls from those who might add to her stress if she knows she hasn’t got the energy for that person at that particular time.
“You’re allowed to protect your own energy and you’re allowed to say no” she said. “I have a friend who calls in the morning and I’ve learned not to answer her when I’m not ready to take on her worries. Step back and control who you give your energy to.”
If you feel like you’re surrounded by people who take more than they give you, take some time to assess whether you need them in your life, and start saying ‘no’ to the things they ask.
Sarah Eckersley believes that young people should learn how to spot and manage stress as “it can have such a huge impact on our heath and wellbeing both physically and mentally”.
She said: “Your health is your wealth and it is only in being able to recognise the signs of stress and manage them accordingly that you’re truly able to take care of yourself. It is very easy for stress to creep up on you, and its often only when we get run down or suffer from lack of sleep that we begin to really admit to ourselves that we are taking on too much.
By being able to take care of yourself and identify stress you’re going to be in a much better position to deal with it.”
Lisa explained that being mindful which is “sitting with and acknowledging thoughts and feelings…being fully aware and present” can really help us manage and spot out stress. “Our perception can really effect a situation and once we understand it, we realise how much more control we have of varying situations,” she added.
Remember: what you think about you bring about
Lisa lives by this mantra and explained that what you give energy to, you create. She advised ridding your mind of negative thoughts as these can feed into behaviours that are just as bad.
“Thoughts become feelings, feelings turn into actions. When you put your time and energy into something, it will develop.”
Don’t bully yourself
Lisa explained that the way we speak to ourselves has a huge impact on our psychological wellbeing and productivity.
“I was bullied when I was about twelve” she said. “And I’ve realised that those people who try and pull you down are just trying to make themselves feel better. But sometimes the way you’ve been spoken to sticks and we internalise some of the nasty things others have said to us and bully ourselves”.
Lisa explained that they way we speak to each other often comes from someone else “we are a product of the information around us” she said “If we talk down to ourselves we’ve heard it from someone else – we didn’t come out at three months old telling ourselves we’re rubbish” (very true). “Work on your confidence and be kind to yourself each and every day.”
Try yoga and meditation
As well as mindfulness, you can try and relax yourself by practising yoga and meditation.
“These are a great combination as they help you be mindful and can be done on a daily basis” Sarah said. “There are so many apps available that focus on meditation so you’re able to stop and do ten-minute exercises wherever you are.”
However Sarah noted it’s not a one size fits all approach. “Whilst yoga and meditation work for me, to really get the most from it it’s important to find what resonates with you and to do that. Keep trying to find something that works for you”.
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