April welcomes Stress Awareness Month and the theme #LittleByLittle reminds us that the smallest of positive actions can be transformative for our wellbeing. Many of us already know what we should be doing – spending time in nature, taking time to breathe deeply, connecting with friends and family, or exercising regularly. However, although we know what to do, committing to do it regularly and constantly is another matter!

This month, we are both challenging and supporting our clients and colleagues to make a few of these small changes with a view to improving everyone’s wellbeing incrementally. Here are just a few suggestions of things to try adding to your existing routine to lessen your stress and see what improvements to your wellbeing you can achieve:

  1. Develop a positive mindset –  and by that we don’t mean being falsely cheerful at all times! However, a general tendency towards positivity impacts our overall perspective on life and helps us focus on all that is good in life. There are 33 tips on how to have a positive mindset here – let us know how you get on.
  2. Put down your tech! We know, but taking a break from all screens really can prevent burnout and boost productivity.  If you struggle to do this initially, maybe aim to close all your tabs and apps and just focus on one thing.  Alternatively, you can try putting your phone in another room for 15 minutes, just to see how it feels.  
  3. Eat well we all know what to do, but 4pm strikes and in desperation, we reach for something processed. One thing you can do to help yourself is have your mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks prepared and on hand, so it’s easy to eat the healthy, supportive option.
  4. Sleep well – there’s a great resource on sleep hygiene here. Lack of sleep affects physical and mental health, productivity, relationships and general well-being.  If you struggle with sleep, try some of the resources suggested in the link.
  5. Get Moving! The benefits of daily exercise in reducing stress are no longer in doubt.  Not sure where to start? Take a look at the ideas here.
  6. Say no – how long is your current to-do list? When it seems to get longer, no matter how hard you work to complete tasks, it may be time to start saying no! If you’re the sort of can-do person that everyone comes to, there are some ideas here on how to start saying no nicely, but assertively.
  7. Get organised – if you struggle with getting and staying organised, step one is to let go of the guilt! You only need to be as organised as necessary to feel calm and reduce time-wasting and frustration – you don’t need to have a spotless desk or office environment in pursuit of some unattainable ideal. Have a look at the suggestions from one of our favourite psychologists here.
  8. Breathe deep – there are many benefits to becoming more aware of our breath and much research on the value of breathing exercises in managing stress.  There is a comprehensive guide to deep breathing here.
  9. Volunteer – giving freely of a small portion of your precious time boosts mental health (endorphin rush!), reduces loneliness, gives new perspectives on our challenges and adds to general happiness (see our previous post on positive mindset). Not sure where to begin? Have a look here.
  10. Drink water – so obvious when we say it, but as vital as it is to drink plenty of water, it’s even more important when we’re stressed – the relationship between physical stress and dehydration is well documented.  Read more here.
  11. Put your health first – take charge of your physical, mental and emotional health and embrace the opportunity to create a happy, well-balanced life.  What do you need to feel at your healthiest, who or what can help you? How can you do more of what helps and less of what hinders your ongoing health and well-being? Find some suggestions here.
  12. Practice mindfulness – it can help with stress reduction and help us manage anxiety and negative thoughts. There’s a great guide to getting started here.
  13. Talk to a friend – even the briefest conversation with a friend can reduce stress levels and sharing problems can be relieving and healing. There is more information here.
  14. Do something fun – ok, so we might be big people, with big responsibilities, but there is value in play too and it definitely helps reduce our stress. There is a great podcast here to help you get more in touch with your fun side.

We all have an innate response to stress, but we can learn how to both accept and manage our responses to reduce stress and get control of our health and wellbeing.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help you, take a look at our Stress Bust bite-size learning here and get in touch.