After a brief break during Easter week, it’s time to get back to the routine and to a busier rhythm of life: work, studies, work at home, social events… In fact, did you know that 7 out of 10 people point to stress as one of the main problems that detract from their quality of life? And behind it, in most cases, stands the lack of time.
Stress is a frequent physiological answer to a momentary situation that demands a greater effort than usual, whether physical, mental or emotional. Normally, it involves a state of nervous tension, caused by sentimental problems (for example, the loss of a loved one) or the demands of everyday life, which does not necessarily have to be negative, since in fact it is a natural process that helps us to overcome difficulties and to perform at a high level.
However, if this situation continues for too long, it can have negative repercussions on our health and our way of life, manifesting itself in multiple ways: headaches, loss of memory, lack of concentration, phases of diarrhea or constipation, gain or loss of weight due to decreased or increased appetite, anxiety, constant tiredness, mood swings, sexual problems …
If you’ve noticed some of these symptoms, don’t worry, because there’s a solution to your problem – you can reduce stress by following these simple guidelines!
- Meditation: just a few minutes a day of meditation will reduce the levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and anxiety. You can also alternate meditation with deep breathing or muscle relaxation exercises.
- Listen to music: music has been proven to change people’s moods. In the face of a high workload peak, you can try relaxing music (preferably classical or instrumental) in the background, as it will make it easier for you to concentrate. And on a personal level, it can also help you: listen to your favourite music while you do some housework or taking a shower – singing and dancing will certainly make you feel better!
- Connect with the earth: enjoy nature more often! Listening to the sound of the sea, going for a walk in the countryside or watching a sunset gives us serenity and peace of mind. You should also try to sunbathe at least 15 minutes a day to get the vitamin D that your body needs. But don’t forget about sun protection!
- Try to get enough sleep: we know that sometimes you have such a long list of tasks to do that you have no choice but to take away hours of sleep in order to fulfill all your obligations, but that is a serious mistake. Sleeping between 7 and 9 hours a day helps to regulate cortisol levels and also helps us to be rested enough to face all our daily chores. So, try to keep regular schedules, disconnect your mobile a couple of hours before going to bed and do not make very copious dinners that make it difficult to fall asleep.
- Increase your social life: there is nothing like meeting your loved ones to reduce your stress levels. To be able to talk about your problems frankly, to feel that they listen to you and care about you, or simply to evade you with your family and friends, is one of the best therapies you can find.
- Do sport: physical activity will help you to fight anxiety and to rest better, although you should not do demanding exercises from the late afternoon, as your body will activate and you will have trouble sleeping. In addition, doing sport releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel happy and well.
- Eat better: Stress and anxiety can lead to overeating, especially fats and sugars. However, these foods, which provide you with immediate energy, will in the long term give you an even greater feeling of tiredness. Therefore, if you want to ward off stress, you must avoid stimulants such as coffee or alcohol, drink enough water and maintain a healthy diet, in which the consumption of fruits and vegetables is paramount.
Remember that these are just some practical tips that you can incorporate into your daily life to try to reduce stress and anxiety. However, if this situation persists over time, it is advisable to see a professional: your family doctor or a psychologist will be able to advise you on the most appropriate treatment for your needs.