Does life ever feel like a treadmill that seems to be speeding up, and you’re trying to stay on without flying off? Ever feel like a million tabs are open in your head? A tight feeling in the chest?

We all live with stress, but it’s how you manage it that makes a difference to your wellbeing. There has always been a large focus on sleep, diet and fitness, and stress has been the component of health that has perhaps not always been taken as seriously. Until recently.

Stress is on the rise in our society, but luckily, so is a greater awareness of the benefits of managing it and taking time to slow down.

In honour of Stress Awareness Month, here are 7 tips to help manage stress:

1. Schedule everything.

This might feel very regimental, but creating a schedule for your day, even for the times you’re relaxing, may promote more calm. Giving tasks a set time period may encourage you to work more efficiently whilst discovering time you didn’t know you had.

2. Get active.

It doesn’t have to be an intense workout, but if you feel like this, then by all means go for it. A simple walk around the block increases endorphin levels in the brain, reduces our cortisol levels, encourages deeper fuller breaths and boosts creativity. And as this will make you feel good, you will probably be inspired to walk for longer, or find other forms of movement you enjoy. Walking is definitely underrated, and being more active will promote better sleep too, another major factor in managing stress.

3. Be specific about what brings you joy, and do more of that.

Self-care is a term branded around everywhere at the moment, but how can you really up your self-care game. Doing things that truly bring you joy and finding time for them every single day can help you to manage your stress levels, and feel ready to take on the daily stressors that keeps those tabs open in your head.

4. Try taking a supplement.

Ashwagandha is an adaptogen that is known to support the body in adapting to stress and may help to reduce cortisol levels, as shown in various studies. It is known to have a sedative-like effect to help support the quality of sleep.

There are other options to consider too, including rhodiola, valerian root, vitamin B complex and magnesium. Every person has different needs so it might be worth researching all your options.

A magnesium deficiency is linked to heightened stress and anxiety, as this vital nutrient plays a key role in regulating the body’s stress response system. Magnesium relaxes the body and promotes sleep, and is often recommended by nutritionists and other experts to address problems related to stress and sleep.

5. Sleep away the stress.

Sleep is one of life’s free luxuries. For some reason, we glorify people who never stop in our society, but this is a sure way to burnout. It may not happen next week, but eventually not getting enough shut-eye will catch up with you, until you’re falling asleep in your breakfast bowl one morning. Sleep might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to managing stress.

Wouldn’t it be better to stay up and try to sort out all the tasks that are making it harder to manage stress? No. Sleeping well stops your emotional brain from going into overdrive, increases energy levels and improves focus, so you’re actually more likely to get more done if you prioritise sleep.

6. Remember to breathe.

There are many breathing exercises you can do, including the 478 breathing technique. This is where you breathe in for a count of four from the diaphragm, hold for 7 and breathe out on 8. This is meant to reduce cortisol levels, and slow the body down for sleep, as it helps activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls the relaxation response.

It can also help in managing anger, so in stressful situations you can use it to feel more in control of your emotions, and better able to deal with whatever the day is throwing your way.

7. Practice gratitude and appreciation.

Studies have shown that practising gratitude can reduce stress levels, improve sleep, boost the immune system and create better relationships. You can practice gratitude in a number of way. A popular method is keeping a gratitude journal, but you can also do things like practising deep breathing whilst reminding yourself what you have to be thankful for. This can be helpful in moments of stress when everything gets too much. Stop what you’re doing, take yourself somewhere quiet, and connect to your breath. It’s going to all work out.

What are your stress tips? Let us know on Instagram using #fushihealthtips.

Written by Jess Burman

Wellbeing Writer

(BA) Honours Writing