April is stress awareness month. Unsurprisingly, stress has been on the rise over the past few years with 65% of people in the UK reporting they have felt a rise in stress since the beginning of the pandemic. Similarly, in the last year alone, 74% of UK adults have been so overwhelmed they felt unable to cope.
While stress manifests itself in different ways, it can broadly be experienced as physical, mental or emotional strain or tension. Learning healthy ways to cope and manage stress, while also receiving care and support can help reduce the symptoms of stress and burnout.
6 activities to help your mental health
Here are 6 small things you can do to de-stress during the day.
Exercise is one of the best ways to relieve stress. Not only do our bodies release endorphins that make us feel good, but those endorphins also help us to relax and reduce anxiety. In addition, exercise can help us sleep better at night. Whether is a leisurely walk around the neighbourhood, a bike ride or lifting weights, simply moving your body is a step in the right direction.
Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and get rid of negative thoughts. Try to meditate daily for 10 minutes. You don’t have to do anything special; just close your eyes and focus only on your breathing. Not a meditation expert? Get started with an app!
Journaling is a great way to express yourself. By writing down how you are feeling and what’s going on in your life you can identify and prioritise issues, fears or concerns. It is also a great method for positive self-talk after identifying negative thoughts and behaviours.
4. Do a puzzle
Whether you prefer a 1,000 piece jigsaw, the daily crossword or sudoku or have joined the Wordle craze, giving your brain a bit of exercise is a nice distraction while also providing a sense of accomplishment!
Whether you are in a book club, are up on the latest reads or are simply re-reading an old favourite, reading can be beneficial in many ways. Not only does it strengthen your brain, but studies also show that as little as 6 minutes of reading can improve sleep, and lower your heart rate and blood pressure.
Whether it’s Top 40, oldies, a podcast or even playing an instrument, the healing properties of music are well documented. Tuning out by tuning in can help you sleep, motivate, improve your mood and relax. Better yet? Combine this with suggestion #1 and listen while you move!