How to deal with stress during a changing environment
Change can take many forms. It can affect every part of our lives. It occurs in all realms from family, to work, to living situations, relationships and social lives. Good or bad, change will always require an adjustment of some kind. This takes effort. If the demands are too great, it can drain you and ultimately leave you feeling stressed. Whilst you might not be able to control all change life throws at you, you can control your response to it. RESCUE® have put together some top tips for dealing with stress during times of great change.
Mindfulness and Meditation
How to deal with stress? It’s a question we all have our own answers for. In recent years the answer to this for many, has been mindfulness. Mindfulness simply means paying attention, having an awareness of the present moment: your thoughts, feelings, everything around you. It can help us understand ourselves and our emotions better and stop us feeling out of sorts, and thus help us stay positive. It can be a great tool to use when experiencing changing environments. It’s a way to connect the body and mind, so we can rebalance our physical and emotional wellbeing. When going through periods of great change use meditation as a way of making sense of said change. By figuring out where we are and where we can expect to go, we can begin to gain clarity. We can resist less, open more, and navigate through the change and our future with more ease. We recommend having a quick search on YouTube to look through the plethora of free guided meditations out there, to find one that suits you.
Relaxation techniques such as breathing exercises
Breathing is one of the easiest and quickest remedies to offer instant stress relief (and it’s free). There are lots of breathing exercises you can do to help relax. A super easy technique is belly breathing:
- Begin by sitting or lying flat in a comfortable position.
- Place one hand on your belly just below your ribs and the other hand on your chest.
- Take a deep breath in through your nose, and let your belly push your hand out.
- Breathe out, feel the hand on your belly go in, and use it to push all the air out.
- Do this breathing 3 to 10 times. Take your time with each breath.
- Notice how you feel at the end of the exercise.
Be prepared and face change with a positive attitude
Remaining positive, especially during times of unexpected change can be incredibly difficult. It can be tempting to dwell on the past and question if you have the strength to adapt to change. It is easy to let negative thoughts take over, which ultimately affects our emotional wellbeing. We have a choice in our daily routine, whether we direct our focus to positive thoughts or negative ones. One of the worst things we can do for ourselves is to hinder our own potential through a negative outlook. Being positive can have far reaching effects on all aspects of your life, from building on relationships to your health. Through practising positive attitudes every day, we can turn dark times into blessings.
Take a break with Self Care
During times of stress, people so often forget the importance of taking care of yourself. In fact, it’s often at the bottom of their priority list, however pausing to unwind and process your emotions is pivotal in coping with stress. Self-care can be anything that benefits your mental and emotional health. But the more obvious options, like a massage or mani-pedi, might not always be the easiest to do. The way to make self-care a regular part of your life is to carve out a small window of me-time to do the things you love. Here are a few easy wins:
- Take a bubble bath with a book and a glass of your favourite drink
- Make time for your favourite exercise class
- Enjoy some good food, try that recipe you’ve been meaning to make for ages
- Finally get round to watching that boxset
- Pick up a pen, brush or pencil and write, draw or paint.
- Set a date in stone to go for a walk, coffee or lunch with a friend.
It may seem obvious, but me time is so important when we feel overwhelmed by stress. We are often our own worst critic, however we must learn to be kinder to ourselves. Treat yourself as you yourself would wish to be treated by others.
Stress and sleeplessness are a vicious cycle – the more stressed you feel, the less you sleep and the less you sleep, the more stressed you might feel the next day. There are so many factors that affect the quality of your sleep; from the tidiness of your room to the amount of caffeine you consume each day. But luckily, there are things you can do to improve your chances of getting a better night’s slumber. One or two simple tweaks might be all you need. Here are a few to get you started.
- Switch off electronic devices:
Ban all electronic (laptops, televisions, phones) at least one hour before bed. Not only do these devices interfere with your body’s internal clock, but with easy access to news sources and social media, it’s easy to increase your stress levels and racing thoughts before you try to wind down for bed.
- Stick to a sleep schedule:
Having a regular sleep schedule is one of the most important things you can do to ensure you get a good night’s sleep. Having a bedtime routine and going to sleep at a similar time every night is a good place to start. It’s also so important to maintain a routine and separate work from downtime. If you’re working from home, make sure you set up a separate workstation in your home and keep a clear demarcation between work and sleep. If you’re in the office, make sure you switch off that computer at the end of the day, and if you take it home with you, don’t open it again!
- Create a calming environment:
Blackout curtains and a weighted blanket are great items to have to help you sleep a little better, but there are a few other things you can do to create a calm environment before you go to sleep. Listening to some classical music, a podcast or relaxing sounds before bed can help you switch off. White lights can be quite harsh on the eyes so opt for some warm yellow bulbs instead. You could also light some scented candles while you cuddle up with a book, just remember to blow them out before you get to sleep!