If there is one thing I think we have learned in the past year is that it can be very stressful doing nothing. There has never been so little to do and yet for many of us, it feels like we are holding on by our fingernails desperately waiting for that time when we can see friends and family again.

So, what is stress exactly? Well, it’s usually the word we use to describe feelings of being overwhelmed or being placed under pressure. It can feel like we are in a thick fog, with no way out, or drowning in a sea of confusion and tension.

Why do we feel stress?

Anyone who has ever experienced their body filling themselves full of cortisol as fast as a student can drink discount vodka, has probably wondered why our bodies would want to do such a thing? In fact, stress can give us all sorts of health problems, such as rapid breathing, heartburn, high blood pressure,  low sex drive, rapid breathing, and increased risk of depression.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Well, actually stress can be incredibly useful, in fact, thousands of years ago it’s probably what kept us alive. Stress was what told us to run away from that saber-toothed tiger, it’s what warned us to maybe step away from that cliff edge. So blame evolution for the fact we are all a bunch of worriers, since we survived and our more chilled out and relaxed ancestors probably died out. Sadly, our brains have not caught up to the age of the iPhone yet so instead of worrying about an impending ice age, we are instead left worrying about being overdrawn.

What to do about stress?

Well here are some simple solutions to helping cope with modern life.

  • Diet. Start by listening to your mum and eat those greens. Eating a regular, well-balanced diet is great at relieving stress and controlling mood.
  • Exercise. Dust off those running shoes because working out releases endorphins which can help manage stress.
  • Sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep is incredibly important when we are overwhelmed. Go to bed and get up at regular times during the week. Switch off your phone an hour before bed and keep your room cool. You will be off to dreamland in no time.
  • Deep breaths. It may sound silly but you will be surprised how much better you feel after a few deep breaths. Sit in a comfortable position, close your eyes and slowly breathe in and out. Download a breathing app to help.
  • Slow down. Modern life is hectic, we all have a million things that we need to be doing but your brain deserves downtime. Take a walk and connect with nature, a long bath, listen to an audiobook, just do anything that does not involve Tim from accounts.
  • Fun. All work and no play is going to leave you burnt out. Focus on hobbies or something that brings you joy.

If you need help managing stress, please get in contact with the Nightingale Counselling team today. Either use our Contact Page or call us on 0141 353 9373

Caroline Hammersley

Associate Couple Counsellor
Nightingale Marriage Counselling