April is stress awareness month, so today I’m sharing a few of my favourite techniques I like to use to support my mental health and wellbeing in the hopes that you’ll find some of them helpful too!
First up is exercise! I always listen to my body, and if I’m super tired or achey, I will rest, but generally some form of movement every day keeps me feeling great. Exercise has tonnes of benefits for your physical health, but it’s also been proven to support mental health too, by lifting your mood, improving self esteem and confidence, and improving sleep, amongst other things.
It’s also important however, to choose the right exercise for your stress levels that day. Sometimes we feel like we have stress energy to “burn off”, yet raising your heart rate further may not be as beneficial as you’d like. Sometimes opting for some yoga, or a walk, may be a better option.
Next, we have journaling and planning. I love to write, and getting my thoughts down in a journal helps me to make sense of how I’m feeling. I’ve also included planning here, like making lists, or writing a brief outline of things I need to get done over the course of a week. I used to just let these to-do lists build up in my head, which would keep me awake at night trying to remember everything I needed to do, and leave me feeling overwhelmed during the day when it seemed like my list of things I wanted to achieve was never ending.
Now, I try to write down everything I want to get done, then look at my week ahead and schedule in days for doing each of these things, including leaving a few blank days to catch up on things that took longer than expected! This really helps me feel a lot calmer in day to day life.
The third thing I love to do, but don’t make enough time for, is switching off from technology and getting lost in a good book, or doing something creative. Giving your brain a bit of downtime and allowing yourself to get lost in something can do wonders for your stress levels, and stop you from comparing yourself and your life to everyone else’s on social media, or worrying about what’s going on in the world when you hear the news. It’s just you and the task in hand.
As a yoga teacher, of course yoga and meditation had to make the list! Some people like to do yoga every day, and because I am a teacher, I used to feel the pressure to do this too. However, now I practice when the time feels right for me, when I feel I really need a bit of time to reconnect with my mind and body. If you’d like to give yoga a try, I have a couple of flows on my youtube channel you can check out, or a 7 day free trial to my membership with lots of yoga classes and guided meditations for you, as well as live classes with me and a full beginner’s course to get you off to the best start.
The fifth thing I feel is really important when you’re stressed, is to talk to someone. Talk to a friend, a loved one, even a coach or therapist about how you’re feeling. There was a long time when I kept everything I was feeling bottled up inside, and it was no good for my mental health. Journaling is a great first step to expressing your feelings, but a listening ear is much better.
Finally, as I mentioned in my last post, try to laugh or smile every day. Whether that’s when you’re talking to friends, watching something hilarious on telly, or even just forcing yourself to do it, there’s nothing better than a good belly laugh is there?! Even if you’re in a bad mood, smiling has been found to make you feel better, and life certainly seems a little lighter when you’re laughing, so give it a go no matter how silly you feel!
I hope you find some, if not all of these suggestions beneficial! If you have anything different that you do to reduce your stress levels, I’d love to hear them! Let me know in the comments below!