Sometimes it’s easy to forget that being healthy isn’t just about what you’re eating and how you’re moving - having good mental health is just as important! Here’s 10 ways to de-stress when life gets overwhelming, from mood improving self-care tips to how to deal better with stressful situations.
Take a Walk
Never underestimate the power of a change of scenery and a dose of fresh air! Getting outside and moving your body can do wonders for clearing your head and will feel like pressing a refresh button on your brain. Had a stressful morning in the office? Try a 20 minute walk around the local park at lunchtime to get you back at your desk ready to tackle the afternoon head on.
There's a reason why yogi's have a reputation for being cool, calm and collected! Research has shown that deep breathing techniques can reduce anxiety and depression and improve happiness and optimism - definitely worth taking a couple of minutes out of your day!
Step Away From the Screen
You know how your laptop gets too hot from overuse? Your brain will feel similarly hot and bothered when it's running on overdrive all day, especially when it's trying to process information coming in left, right and centre from your smartphone. Excessive time on social media has also been shown to have a huge impact on your mood, loneliness and general mental wellbeing, so schedule in time to disconnect from technology to properly recharge your batteries.
Plug in Some Music
It's amazing what a good playlist can do to improve your stress levels and mood, whether you're in need of some calming, chilled out acoustic or some cheesy, feel-good tunes.
Get in a Workout
There's a reason it's called the 'runner's high', as the brain releases glutamate and dopamine when we exercise, which hinders depression and significantly boosts how we feel. Get in an early morning workout to set you up for a more positive day, or bust out a run after work to clear your head, forget about your worries and get the sense of perspective you really need.
Sometimes we spend so much time looking after the people around us that we forget to treat ourselves. It doesn't have to be something extravagant or expensive, and the little things can make all the difference - try lighting a relaxing candle, eating out at your favourite brunch spot or taking the time to watch a feel-good movie to help you feel better after a stressful day.
Write it Down
When life becomes a little like spinning plates it's easy for your head to feel all over the place. Make things easier and get organised by writing everything down. Not only will this process act as a relief in itself, but the things you need to do will seem so much more achievable and you can tick them off as you go.
Learn to Say No
The art of saying no is no easy feat, and it's hard to turn down social plans or extra work in fear of letting someone down. But prioritising your time and learning when you need to take a break is crucial to lowering your stress levels: remember, quality over quantity!
Prioritise Proper Nutrition
Have you ever noticed that after a period of not eating well, you can find your mood suffering? Your diet has a huge impact on how you feel, so try to eat a healthy, balanced diet full of plenty of nourishing foods (and a few treats too!) to fuel your busy lifestyle and help improve your mood.
Make Time for Friends
Sometimes when we're stressed it's easy to become more isolated, telling ourselves we're 'too busy' to socialise or preferring to spend time alone after a manic week at work. There's nothing wrong with taking time out to recharge your batteries, but remember that having fun and being around people you love will have a huge impact on your mood, stress levels and even your productivity when Monday rolls back around.