Relax, this post is about keeping stress at bay.

Busy, intense, full on, exciting – that describes many people’s lives nowadays. There’s always a To Do list. Gruelling commutes followed by more work at home. Juggling to keep all the balls in the air. More than one job.

All this (and more) is pretty bad for our health. Unless we take time out to chill, to just ‘be’, then things are going to give at some point.

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Circus Amok Jugglers by David Shankbone, New York City. https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/

It’s not good to have your ‘fight or flight’ response always on

Your body has a great response to immediate danger. It releases a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol, so you’re ready to run away fast or to stand and fight. Amongst other things, your heart rate increases and non-essential functions like the digestive and reproductive systems are suppressed.

When you’re continually under stress, though, the fight or flight mechanism is always turned on. This can disrupt your body’s naturally smooth operating system, causing health problems such as anxiety, headaches, heart disease, sleep problems, weight gain, and poor memory and concentration.

How to relax

We’ve talked recently about how being outside and going for a walk are both great ways to unwind and relax.

Having a warm bath is a great way to relax at home. So is sitting comfortably and

  • focusing on breathing
  • listening to quiet music
  • watching a DVD
  • doing a puzzle
  • reading a book
  • meditating.

In the longer term, you could manage stress by:

  • making sure you eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise and plenty of sleep
  • fostering friendships
  • having a sense of humour
  • volunteering locally
  • seeking professional counselling when needed.

mood. relax

Find more tips from the NHS on reducing stress here.

Relax at the end of every day so you can get a good night’s sleep. Developing a 'before bed' routine really helps with this. Zzzzzzzzz ……