Hi, I’m Hannah, this is my guide to living with stress. I’m going to give you some statistics because they’re quite overwhelming.
74% of UK adults have felt stressed at some point over the past year.
The last two years have been quite extreme for everyone. However, 81% of women say they’ve felt stressed compared to 67% of men.
83% of 18 to 24 year olds have said they’ve felt stressed compared to 65% of people aged 55 and over. Our youth have a huge amount on their shoulders these days, but even so 83% is quite extraordinary.
At that time of my life, I was exploring the world and having a great time, not living with stress!
I wonder if the over 55’s feel less stress because they are more at ease with life, more comfortable with who they are and what life throws at them?
I’ve just turned 40 and my stress is now very different to that of my 20s and 30s. In fact, I feel a lot more comfortable in myself overall. I find myself more confident. So my stress levels have reduced significantly, but I’ve had to adapt and change my life to reduce that stress.
For me the last two years were incredibly difficult. I was working full time, managing my own home, personal situation and returning home to look after family during the pandemic. With that stress brought chronic illness which I am now managing holistically and am very proud to be doing so.
I’ve quietened my life now and re-learned what I need to do for my own mental and physical well-being. We do need to live with stress so it is going to impact us at some point in our life.
Living with Stress, how do I do it?
It might be that you have a difficult and stressful job and you can’t leave the stress in your office. Maybe you’re working from home now so that stress is present all the time within your home environment. Perhaps the stress is family-related is in friendships or your financial situation. There are so many reasons that we do go through times of stress.
Today, I’m going to give you just a few hints and tips of how we can manage that. Please try to implement them into your daily life, I’d love to hear how you get on with them.
Relax with Meditation
My first go-to tool will always be meditation. It is very, very close to my heart and it’s got me through some of the most challenging times in my life. As such, I will always recommend meditation first and foremost as a great way of living with stress.
I have some guided meditation audios that you can listen to on my website www.withhannah.co.uk, and you’ll also find some on YouTube.
I would recommend starting meditation for a couple of minutes until you’re feeling comfortable to try it. It’s quite common to try meditation, it does not work and to give up straight away. Please don’t do that, don’t give up because it is a journey. With consistent practice you will find huge mental health benefits.
I meditate at any point during my day, if I’m getting a little bit overwhelmed. Or I’m stressed or if I’m feeling like things just aren’t happening for me. I just take a couple of minutes and meditate. It’s beautiful!
Gentle exercise, every step can help
When you’re suffering from fatigue, pain, or depression, sometimes it can be very difficult to even want to come out of the house. However, even during a depressive bout, I’d recommend gentle exercise. I’m not suggesting that you go and do an hour’s cardio! But I would absolutely recommend going for a walk.
I know that when we’re struggling with stress exercise doesn’t always seem like the thing we want to do. But try and go somewhere scenic that you don’t normally go. Find yourself some nature, take yourself completely out of your normal zone and put thought into every step and be mindful.
If you’re mindfully walking, focusing on that very moment, you’re not focusing on the stresses that you’ve come to walk away from. You’re successfully living with stress.
Exercise is hugely important in everyday life, regardless of how we’re feeling. It will reduce your cortisol levels, so it’ll bring your stress down.
Yoga and Pilates are incredible for stress
Yoga is incredible for stress. You don’t have to do a fast-flowing Vinyasa class, you can do something a little bit gentler. Yin yoga, or Hatha.
I have videos on my website https://withhannah.co.uk/catalog which will guide you through those practices on how to reduce your stress levels, anxiety and depression.
Yoga targets your whole body, not just your mind, so that your energy flows.
With my Pilates classes, you’ll be able to focus your mind on the movement you’re doing and really build some physical and mental strength.
A long relaxing bath
Away from exercise and meditation, you can enjoy an Epsom Salts bath. An Epsom salt bath, is extremely relaxing, especially if you pop some bubble bath or lavender essence in and put on some gentle music. It will take you to a different place, calm yourself, relax into the bath and give yourself a good 20 minute soak. Most of the population will lack magnesium Epsom Salts help with this too!
Leave your work at work
Having come from the corporate world, I know how difficult that can be. Speak to your employer, see if there’s any help they can give you to reduce your workload. Talk through the workload so it becomes more manageable. Sometimes we just keep ploughing through the workload accepting that that’s the way it is, but actually, it isn’t. We know we shouldn’t be becoming overwhelmed with our work.
If you’re working from home, it can be even harder. It’s really important to create a different space within your house if you can. We don’t all have the space to be able to have a separate office, but on a Friday close down your equipment and try and put it away out of sight. This will make sure your home environment becomes your home environment again, and you’re not looking at that look laptop dreading Monday morning.
We should be working to live and not living to work it’s not healthy.
You’re neglecting your true being, you’re neglecting what we’re here for and that’s to live! Let’s explore and do all that great stuff we really enjoy doing it’s also good for living with stress.
Find yourself a hobby
This doesn’t have to be out and about, you could take up crafts, perhaps painting. Adult colouring is my thing, oh my goodness if you haven’t tried it, do, it’s so therapeutic, it takes your mind out of everything! In fact, for my 40th birthday my other half got me a colouring book as a joke but I love it.
Take up cycling, there are so many cycling groups out there now. You don’t have to ride the Tour de France, you can join a small group which is great for building relationships and new social connections. Cycling, or any sport, will help your stress levels because you’re going to be talking about different things, whilst doing that all important exercise.
I never used to enjoy cycling, I found it really painful, and quite difficult, until I made the decision to get an electric bike. Then that was it. I’m always on my bike because it made it accessible for me. That’s the thing, you don’t have to do what everybody else is doing. Find something that’s accessible for you.
You might want to try dancing even with your partner, try going to learn salsa or line dancing or something different. Dancing can take you somewhere fun where where you can immerse yourself out of the norm and where you can relax. It’s a great place to be.
What about the physical signs of stress?
In terms of the physical signs of stress on your body, there are holistic tools that you can use to help. You may find that with stress, your muscles are becoming increasingly tense or painful and you might experience back pain and your neck may start to hurt. You may have increased headaches, all of which can come from stress. The word Stress can be thrown around quite flippantly but, it can have such a profound impact on our overall well-being.
There are some exercises that you can do to help with these symptoms, look up my website www.withhannah.co.uk and you will find some content on there. There’s lots of info about living with stress.
One example would be to use a TENS machine on your muscles, they are absolutely brilliant. It’s a holistic way of dealing with muscle tension. You can put it on your legs, arms back, you can on your neck as well. Mine only cost me £20 and it’s the best thing I ever used.
I suffer from fibromyalgia and even with that pain, it is incredible. It’s not medication, the more you holistically deal with your stress levels, the more you stand a chance of not becoming too overwhelmed mentally. Leading you down the depression route. I’ve been there and that is tough, if you are there you have my absolute love and support.
Please reach out
Please reach out if you do need help and some guidance with depression, it’s not always easy to speak to your inner circles. Stress can easily lead to depression and depression to stress as well.
There’s so much more to go through and over time I will home in on the topics that I’ve talked about today.
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Until next time, take care of yourself. Be kind.