The S word

How do you cope with stress? 

Stress is all around us everyday. As we take each day one at  time in these unusual and frightening times our stresses may be different. Rushing to get to work on time and drop the kids off may have been replaced for now by trying to battle with home schooling and manage Zoom calls. Financial and health worries are in the forefront of our every day thoughts in ways that they may not have been before. Loneliness and isolation are the new norm for some of us as we face another day indoors. 

Looking after ourself in any way we can-  no matter how small or simple we think it is-  has never been more important. Taking a few minutes to do something for us can make a difference to how we face our daily worries.

Improving our ability to manage stress can increase our energy reserves and help our immune response as well as our brain and mental health

Daily steps to do this can seem small and meaningless but they can help with feeling of calm almost immediately. 

Doing these more frequently can help form new routines and weekly habits and this is of increasing benefits for our brain and mental health

Daily ideas to take a break :

Listen to music– dance, classical, Disney or hip hop. Put it on and turn it up!

Have a dance– we know how important movement is for our brain health so there has never been a better time for a kitchen disco*

Plan, cook and enjoy a healthy meal or snack – treats are important but feeling ourselves with nutritious tasty bites can help with our sense of wellbeing

Breathe deeply – perhaps the simplest and most important of all, 3 deep breaths can calm our heart rate, our cortisol ( stress hormone) levels and help us take stock of what is causing us to feel wound up. 

Write down the things we are grateful for and what we appreciate- the evidence for gratitude  is overwhelming. As hard as it might be just now, seeking out the things we are thankful for can help us feel better. 

Do something creative– we might usually never have time for something we associate with childhood such as colouring in  or writing a few sentences abut what the day has brought us

Sleep until you wake naturally– whilst routine is key for good sleeping habits, if you don’t have to get up for a zoom call or for a google classroom, try one day just without setting the alarm and let yourself wake when you are ready. What a treat!. 

Find a funny movie or TV show– laughing is a great for your mind and body as well as relaxing endorphins, feel good chemicals to help us feel happier. (We love Modern Family at Noggin HQ and of course you can’t beat ‘Friends’ for an easy chuckle. )

Take a few moments of quiet and visualize a place that you were totally relaxed- a holiday destination or maybe just some time in the park when you had nowhere to be. Recalling these moments can help us feel happier and this feeling can help us with challenges we face later in the day. This can also be a good way to relax at bedtime. 

Research has shown that looking at ways to deal with stress better can help with conditions such as Insomnia, anxiety, pain, heart disease, high blood pressure, depression and even child birth.

A few minutes can make a difference to the way we deal with stress AND how we feel. 

Keep well,

Dr Clara Russell

if you are looking for kitchen disco inspiration check out Sophie Ellis Bextor on YouTube! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qMtKqe13F4