Focus on Managing Stress
April 7th 2013 is World Health Day and the WHO are raising awareness of blood pressure and hypertension. It is commonly known that people can maintain a normal blood pressure through making healthy lifestyle choices, one strategy that is often overlooked is managing stress. In the UK the New Economics Foundation researched and developed the five steps to wellbeing which can be summarised as 'connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give.' We review this during MECC Train the Trainer during which we also address the issue of stigma around the term/phrase 'mental health/wellbeing.' Evidence exists to suggest that managing stress (mental wellbeing) is key for promoting physical health and some would argue good physical health can promote mental wellbeing.
- Get enough sleep - nutritionists also consider this key for weight control. Sleep is a time of specific hormonal activity and recuperation for the body. It's so important to sleep well to maintain energy levels and a feeling of vitality during the day.
- Learn relaxation techniques - this may include lying back like the man in the picture and focusing on relaxing every part of your body starting from your little toe and mentally moving towards your head in stages repeating the process of tensing and relaxing. Physical relaxation techniques like this coupled to 'mindfulness' techniques can help both body and mind relax.
- Strengthen your social network - we should probably add here 'your real-life social network' see a related tip from the New Economics Foundation below. It is possible to meet people throughout your life and develop networks related to different aspects of your life. I meet people through work but also through family friends and even in a coffee shop I frequent. Conversation and interaction with others can prevent feelings of isolation and feeling alone.
- Hone your time management skills - I guess here is it also important to realistically assess what it is possible to accomplish within a specific time period. I've started reducing the number of tasks I set for myself on a daily basis to give myself an opportunity to do things well and also to feel as if I have achieved what I set out to do. People with busy work, social and family lives may need to refer to point 7.
- Try to resolve stressful situations - at both work and home. Probably worth having that 'hard conversation' rather than letting things fester. Use diplomacy and 'negotiation skills' to resove conflict..ok easier said than done but sometimes, it's seriously not worth the effect on physical and mental wellbeing to let things drag on.
- Nurture yourself - take a day off and do the things that make you happy and put that in your timetable alongside all the important tasks, work duty and family responsibilities.
- Ask for help - people like feeling needed and may provide the help you need to manage 3, 4, 5 and 6. This is also highlighted in the five steps to wellbeing highlighted above.
In the UK the New Economics Foundation researched and developed five steps for workplace wellbeing. The top point is 'talk to someone instead of sending an e-mail' Read more on the Mind website.
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