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How to end stress in five steps

TAKE ACTION: Stress is a growing problem in the UK, but simple steps can help deal with the issue

STRESS IS fast becoming the biggest health problem in modern societies.

Issues such as financial pressures, work conflicts and an uneasy home life can become a major contributor to illnesses.

People who are already suffering from diseases such as hypertension may find that the additional stress that these problems may bring may cause their health to worsen.

According to recent figures released by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE), workrelated stress anxiety or depression accounts for over half of all working days lost due to ill health in Great Britain.

The figures, which cover the 2017 to 2018 period, show that 15.4 million working days were lost as a result of the condition, up from 12.5 million during the previous 12 months.

This equates to 57.3 per cent of the 26.8 million work days lost to ill health.

Although a new 24-hour mental health hotline was recently announced by the government along with funding for a new mental health service, there are growing calls for employers to do more.

However, there are a number of things that every individual can do to help relieve stress...

1. Make time to switch off

Unwind from the daily trials and tribulations and relax for at least one hour every day. Just shut the world out and do something you enjoy.

Reading, playing a musical instrument, taking a relaxing bath with music and candles are all great ways among a number of others to unwind and will be benefit to your mental health.

2. Gather your thoughts

If you’re dealing with a stressful situation and you have a lot on your plate it can be very hard to find solutions.

You’re caught up in the midst of a sandstorm and it is very difficult to see the way out. A good idea is to get some distance from your problems so you can gather your thoughts.

If possible, take a day or even a weekend away from your usual surroundings, somewhere peaceful, and relax.

Take a journal along so you can jot down any ideas. Distance away from problems can bring clarity and by relaxing, you’ll be calmer and solutions will come far easier than when you’re in the heat of battle.

3. Don’t resist change

One of the reasons people become stressed is because they are facing a change or even a number of changes to their lives.

Change is a constant in life and refusing to accept change can cause stress levels to soar. When you are faced with a change, try to find the positives associated with change and embrace change instead of resisting it.

Every change presents an opportunity for you to grow and there are always positives to find in even the most trying of circumstances.

Change doesn’t bring stress, it’s all about how you react to change.

If you react in a negative way, you will do yourself no end of harm.

4. Have a ‘Blitz Day’

There always seems to be an endless list of jobs that need doing: repairs around the home, paperwork, car maintenance, throwing out junk, cleaning the patio, weeding the garden and on and on and on!

The more we put them off, the more the list grows and the more they contribute to your stress levels. So make a list of all of these chores and then schedule something I call a Blitz Day.

On this day, you will rise early and spend the whole day sorting out each of these jobs.

Take few breaks and only have a quick bite at lunchtime and just blitz through these irritating but necessary tasks.

This will get rid of them, you’ll lower the stress they cause but, more importantly, you’ll realise just how effective and industrious you can be when you apply the full force of your will to accomplish things.

5. Make time for you

Treat yourself to a pamper day. This is a day where you escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday living and enjoy some stress-free time.

You’ll also feel great and give your wellbeing a huge boost. On this day, have a light workout, a swim, a sauna, enjoy a Jacuzzi, or visit a steam room.

If you have access to one, a Turkish bath will give you an invigorating experience.

Try to do this at least once a month as it is an excellent stress-buster.

There are few people who are not affected by stress. It’s a major issue and it’s one that is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

However, it’s time to change that, and we all have he ability to do it. All it takes is a little knowledge.

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