As we continue to live in unprecedented times, it is more important than ever for us to practice self-care and to manage our stress. Here are 3 tips for reducing your stress:

1. Allow yourself to acknowledge your stress

In general, we all find it easier to support and manage the stress of the people we care about rather than our own. It is important to remember that even though someone else “might have it worse”, your stress and the challenges you are facing are still real, and very valid. You cannot pour from an empty cup – if you do not look after yourself, you will not be able to help the people you care about. 

2. Practice mindfulness

No, not just the meditation (although definitely helpful, in times of stress it can be difficult to focus on meditating). Mindfulness refers to the practice of being aware of the thoughts and feelings in your mind and your body. Listening to how your body is feeling, particularly during periods of stress, can help you to notice if you are feeling more fatigued or overwhelmed than usual, allowing you to slow down or take a step back so that you don’t injure yourself. Bringing awareness to your thoughts throughout the day can also help you to identify things that are aggravating your stress, and allow you to make changes to reduce their effect on you.

3. Exercise

One of the first things that happens when we experience increased stress is that we feel more fatigued. This is because the body’s resources are being redirected towards fueling the stress response. It is completely understandable, then, that the last thing most of us feel like doing when we’re stressed is exercising. As difficult as it is, try 10 minutes of walking, even if it’s just around your back garden. Even small amounts of exercise can release endorphins in your brain – these chemicals can significantly reduce both stress and pain.