Simple strategies to help manage stress and anxiety
By Ben Makeham – Studying BHSc (Naturopathy)
Take regular breaks
Whether you are working in an office or studying for exams, taking regular breaks and timeout can really help to reset your stress levels. Scheduling regular breaks also help to alleviate fatigue and can improve your productivity. Going for a walk, doing some meditation or even just a 10-minute yoga practice (link to insert ) can do wonders to calm the nervous system and rejuvenate the brain.
Nourish your body and fuel your brain with whole food meals, regularly. This will help to stabilise your blood sugar levels and sustain good energy levels. Take time to mindfully consume your meal, free from the distractions of work, study, checking emails and social media feeds. Not only is mindful eating better for digestion, mindfulness practices in general help to keep stress and anxiety in check.
Caffeine in small quantities can boost mood and alertness, which may be beneficial in some situations. However, in larger quantities, stimulants such as caffeine activate the sympathetic nervous system and can cause agitation, irritability and impact sleep quality. These symptoms will be compounded in situations where levels of stress and anxiety are higher.
Maintain good sleep behaviours
Increased levels of stress and anxiety can be taxing on the body and so it is important to ensure that you are getting plenty of good quality sleep. You may also find that when you are stressed or anxious, you sleep is disrupted. If this is the case for you, then it becomes even more important to establish and practice healthy sleep hygiene habits.
Lean on your support network
Don’t go it alone. If stress and/or anxiety levels are starting to disrupt your daily life, then talk it through with someone. That might just be letting family or friends know that you are feeling stressed/overwhelmed/anxious and asking them for support, or it could be seeking help from a health professional.
If you need further help or support, please seek assistance from a qualified health professional. The following resources may be a useful starting point for you:
LIFELINE – 13 11 14
BEYOND BLUE – 1300 224 636