How to de-stress in a stressful world

Friday May 14, 2021

Even before the Covid pandemic many of us were asking how to de-stress and the need for relaxation techniques is even greater now. Here we look at some techniques that can help us to relax and unwind.

Stress is a serious public health issue which has a significant impact on mental and physical wellbeing.

A study by The Mental Health Foundation in 2018 found that 74% of UK adults had felt so stressed at some point over the year they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope. Chronic stress can cause anxiety, depression, insomnia, digestive problems and problems with our immune system, and can make us more susceptible to viral illness.

This past year in particular has been an extremely stressful one for millions of us in the UK.

Stress Awareness Month, which has been taking place every April since 1992 puts the spotlight on stress, its causes and possible cures.

Here are a few tips for managing and reducing stress to help you feel more balanced and calm.

Spend time away from the screen

According to a recent survey of 2,000 British adults, we spend an average of 4,866 hours a year – an astonishing 13 hours a day – staring at screens.

Excessive screen time can cause eye strain, muscle fatigue and impact sleep, not to mention taking time away from other activities.

One was to destress is to build a schedule to create screen-free time in the day and avoid looking at a screen half an hour before going to bed? The blue light on phones, tablets and computers has been shown may suppress melatonin levels and make it difficult to sleep.

Surround yourself with music

Doctors say that music can slow the heart rate, lower blood pressure, reduce levels of stress hormones and inflammation, help with pain relief and support healing. Whether you are listening, singing or playing music, music brings benefits for relaxation and stress relief.

Various studies have found that music has reduced symptoms of depression and that music-assisted relaxation improves the quality of sleep for those suffering sleep disorders.

If you are asking yourself how to de-stress why not introduce music into your daily life and while you carry out your regular activities. From upbeat tunes to calming classical or instrumental music, you will feel the positive effect.

Enjoy the benefit of nature

Research has shown that contact with plants, water and sunlight has a calming effect and can improve our physiological state.

A new study, based on interviews with 20,000 people in England, shows that two hours a week in nature can significantly boost our mental and physical health. And whether the two hours are taken in one go or in several short sessions or are in a city park, countryside or at the beach, the benefits are similar. Even if you are just sitting enjoying the scenery, your brainwaves can relax, your heartbeat can slow down and your mood can improve.

Join a group

Connecting with people and sharing positive experiences helps us to relax and boosts our mental wellbeing. At the same time, learning new skills and trying new hobbies will also help.

If you are looking how to de-stress why not take part in an online art or language class or join a book group? There are so many that are now online. Not only will you benefit from spending time on an activity that you enjoy, but you will benefit from feeling part of a community.

Follow a healthy diet

Scientists have found that certain foods can cut levels of cortisol and adrenaline, the stress hormones that can take a toll on the body. Eating a healthy diet rich in vegetables, complex carbohydrates, antioxidants and fatty acids can counter the impact of stress by building up your immune system, lowering your blood pressure and keeping your mood balanced.

Consider cutting down on coffee and alcohol to help reduce your stress levels. Caffeine is a stimulant and elevates our levels of cortisol. While small to moderate amounts can lift your mood, high amounts can add to stress. Alcohol is a chemical depressant and can make stress worse by disrupting sleep and various processes in your brain.

Carve out time for yourself

A new report finds that people around the world are working for longer, on average, than they did before the pandemic. With working from home, the separation between being ‘always on’ and ‘off’ has become even more difficult. No wonder record numbers are asking how to de-stress.

Try to make time for something that you enjoy. Commit to a window of time every day which is just for you, even if it is only for a 5 minute break listening to soothing music or a 10 minute daily walk.

This can be your ‘you’ time which helps you reset.

CBD for stress

CBD is used by many of our customers to help them to feel calm and to shrug off their feelings of anxiety and stress and many people start to research CBD when looking how to de-stress.

In a study researching the role of CBD in anxiety and sleep, 79% of patients saw their anxiety decrease within the first month and remain at a reduced level during the duration of the study.

Serotonin is a chemical in the body which transmits messages between nerve cells and contributes to wellbeing and happiness and low levels of serotonin are often associated with depression and anxiety. Although CBD does not increase serotonin levels, a study published in 2018 suggested it appears to influence how the brain responds to serotonin already in the body.

Read more about CBD and anxiety and stress in our blog.