At the moment it feels like we running on adrenaline. Stress levels are heightened due to Covid and we’re spending more time in front of our screens – whether its video calling, watching tv or scrolling through our phones – and it makes our stress level worse. We also forget the basics of looking after ourselves – we stop eating proper meals, drink more coffee, eat more unhealthy food. All this feeds into itself making your body less able to cope.
Easy Ways to Combat Stress
- Keep to the 80/20 rule. Keep healthy 80% of the time means you are robust so that when the other 20% of the time (stressful periods) you are better equipped to cope.
- Listen to your internal barometer. The first hour of the day, check in with your breath, listen to how you are feeling. Breath work helps you to stay calm.
- Get out in nature and take it all in and don’t take the phone!
- Keep to one screen at a time – dont be on your phone whilst you are also watching tv. Dont try to do everything at once.
- Reach out to friends or therapist when you need support. When we have good support in our waking hours we sleep better.
- Make a calming space, bring nature into your house with plants and use relaxing music.
- Think about what emotions you are holding in – physical, mental, emotional and spiritually. One area that is stressing people out is mental over load – we are over thinking at the moment and we need to spend more time focusing on our bodies.
- Don’t rely on coffee to bring you up and alcohol to bring you down.
- To combat SAD remember that every season has something to offer and learn to enjoy what every season offers.
Stop the Sleepless Cycle
The more we get stressed, the harder it is to fall asleep which in turn can cause more stress. The more tired we are, the more susceptible we are to stress and having a short fuse. However, we can reduce the stress of not getting enough sleep through a simple mindset change.
Sleeping a straight 8 hours a night is a myth. If you fixate on counting the hours of sleep you get you will become obsessed with not getting enough and end up in a vicious cycle of not being able to sleep because you are stressed. The fact is that for the most part, your body gets the sleep it needs. We are also not a good judge of how much sleep we are getting – often we are actually asleep more than we think we are. Some nights you might feel like you are waking up a lot, but in realisty you are still getting a good amount of sleep.
Waking up in the night is normal. Most people get their deep sleep in the first few hours of the night, and wake up regularly during their REM sleep cycle which occurs later in the night (usually between 2 and 4am). Whats more important is how you react when we wake up in the night.
- Don’t look at your device – the blue light will wake you up and taking in information by looking at your social media or messages will mean your brain starts whirring and it’s harder to shut off and go back to sleep.
- Guide yourself into your body – start thinking about your breathing. Focus on your toes, and then your feet, and then your ankles and slowly work up the body focusing on each part. This helps centre your mind and relax your body to make going back to sleep easier. It also almost bores you back to sleep!
- Remind yourself that it’s normal that you are awake. Don’t get too much in your own head about it or worry too much.
Right now times are stressful – not taking care of ourselves can make us ill and at the moment staying as healthy as we can is important. Take a step back when you feel over stressed to ensure you dont get stuck in a cycle of negative thought which can affect your day as well as your sleep.