Not all stress is bad – we need a certain amount of stress or we would not be motivated enough to get out of bed in the morning! However when we get too stressed or stress goes on for too long it can start to damage our physical and mental health. Many women are juggling the demands of work, family and friends and struggle to find time to unwind and relax. This can become a serious problem.
When the brain detects a threat (stress) it stimulates the fight/flight response which increases breathing and heart rate which helps provide extra oxygen to the muscles (so we can fight or run away). This is great if there is a bear chasing us but if the threat is a tough deadline in work and the deadlines go on for weeks our bodies can end up exhausted and burnt out from being constantly on edge.
As a business owner and holistic therapist I know all too well how important it is too look after my body and my stress levels. Being self employed gives me the freedom to work flexibly so I can take an afternoon off if I need to and I love the variety of tasks I do every day. The downside is that I am responsible for everything in my business ranging from customer service to web design!
When I am working too hard my shoulders start to hunch up, my jaw tenses and I start to turn to sugary snacks for energy. If I don’t take action my sleep starts to deteriorate and I become overwhelmed.
Here are my top 5 tips to help with stress
Exercise boosts the production of endorphins (the body’s feel good chemicals) and elevates your mood. You don’t have to go to the gym – why not try looking for some free workout videos on YouTube or go for a brisk walk? Aim for 30 minutes 3-5 times a week and you will reap the benefits.
Meditation helps calm a racing mind.Not sure where to start?I recommend the free app insight meditation timer which has hundreds of guided meditations you can try.
Reach out for help
When you’ve had a hard day sometimes the last thing you want to do is reach out or socialise.But unless you speak up those around you might not realise you are struggling.Let friends or family know when you feel overwhelmed and tell them what help you need.Sometimes you might just want to talk to get things off your chest, or you might want practical help with some chores.Either way don’t be afraid to ask for support. Being part of SisterHub you've always got your sisters to rely on. Post in the group, come along to a meeting or just message one of the girls to talk.
Schedule me time
It’s important to get some time for yourself away from everyday stresses and strains. How about a massage treatment?Massage helps to switch off the fight/flight response and turn on the body’s healing mechanisms.An aromatherapy massage is especially soothing as oils can be selected to help with stress. Find something you enjoy and make the time to do it undisturbed by work, children or family crises.
Eat a healthy diet
When life gets overwhelming sometimes the last thing you feel like doing is preparing a healthy meal. But turning to sugary snacks will cause spikes and crashes in blood sugar which will only make you feel worse. Try eating healthy, balanced meals with plenty of vegetables. The odd treat is fine – just don’t overdo it and use sugar as a pick me up.
I'm Anna Williams-Pluck and I'm a Massage and Holistic therapist and owner of Relax Therapies based in Birkenhead.
Appointments are in my treatment room at 16 Balls Road, Birkenhead, CH43 5RE.
I offer Aromatherapy, Reflexology, Indian Head Massage and Sports Massage. Whether you want a massage to relax or are suffering with chronic pain I can design a treatment to fit your needs.