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April is Stress Awareness month, and we are delighted to offer an article by a guest writer, Heather Brain.  Heather is a Psychology student at Edinburgh Napier University, and has written on the topic of stress and well-being.

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The flowers are blooming, the sun is shining and the nights are getting lighter; spring is here. Whilst many enjoy these well missed sights there are some of us who are so consumed by stress we miss the beautiful welcoming of spring.

Stress causes change to both our body and brain in response to our environment (de Kloet, 2003).  This blog will give some examples of ways to help relieve stress in order to gain equilibrium.

Self-care

Something many of us forget about is ourselves, we forget to assign a part of our day for ‘me time’. Not everyone’s idea of peace or fun is the same but this is what makes it all the more important to find our own form of escape. This could be a sport or exercise, an art project, walking the dog, reading, going to the cinema, D.I.Y projects or watching something interesting on TV. Ideally finding an activity that differs from your source of stress or one which fully emerges your focus will help to distance yourself.  These activities don’t necessarily need to be weekly or daily - just as much as you need them. It is important to remember to put yourself first so that you have more resilience to offer support to others or achieve your goals.

Healthy eating

A common trait to being stressed is reaching for the chocolate, coffee and crisps. However, these foods and drinks don’t necessarily help in the long run and can aggravate stress. By eating fresh fruit and vegetables, which are full of vitamins and minerals, we can help reduce stress by improving our body’s condition. Other helpful foods and drinks to help reduce stress include wholefoods, fish, water, yogurts, soups and herbal products.

Declutter

One method which often escapes us is decluttering our home and work space.  Although the thought of tidying itself can be stressful to some it is a very easy thing to overcome. By tidying straight away rather than waiting to do it later, it not only keeps the area tidy but gives you more time for other activities, maybe your ‘me time’. It has been suggested by Choi et al. (2014) that the immediate environment can affect your cognitive load, therefore having a tidy and refreshing environment can lead to greater creativity which may result in a solution to your source of stress.

Time Management

By planning out our weeks this can prevent over-working. Many jobs require overtime but it is important we do not spend all our hours of the week working or thinking about our job. Managing your week to make time for both work, home and personal commitments gives you space to relax – guilt free. This can also ensure you make ‘me time’ and not have your job take over both your social and work lives.

Hopefully this blog has helped generate some ideas of ways you can overcome the stress in your life and enjoy the springtime air. If you find these methods are not working or your stress has reached a point you cannot take control of anymore, professional services may be more suited.

References

Choi, H., Van Merrienboer, J. J. G. & Pass, F. (2014). Effects of the Physical Environment on Cognitive Load and Learning: Towards a New Model a Cognitive Load. Education Psychology Review. 26 (1), 225 - 244.

de Kloet, E.R., 2003. Hormones, brain and stress. Endocrine regulations, 37(2), pp.51-68.

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To find out more about Stress and Well-being, visit our website: www.craigiepartnership.co.uk or book an appointment with one of our team on 0131 215 1066

Email us: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Tel: 0131 215 1066
Craigie Partnership, (Psychology & Coaching), Scott House, 10 South St Andrew Street, Edinburgh, EH2 2AZ

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