If you are experiencing or have experienced stress or anxiety, you should know that you are certainly not alone.
It is something that affects many of us, with the most recent data suggesting that more than 8 million people in the UK alone are suffering with an anxiety disorder.
With it being such an important and topical issue, and on the back of Mind's Mental Health Awareness Week, we wanted to put together some simple tips to help lower your anxiety and stress levels.
Many of us take comfort and seek sanctuary in our own homes, so we hope these hints will help you on your way to relieve stress and anxiety for you or a family member.
Enjoy a healthy diet
The diet you follow will have an impact on both your physical health and your mental health.
Being stressed can lead to possible overeating as well being more likely to choose foods that you find easier to eat - but not necessarily foods that are good for your body.
Try avoiding processed foods and instead opt for more whole foods such as vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, nuts, and seeds. This will make sure your body is getting everything that it needs.
It is also worth considering creating your own home meal plan, meaning that you can make sure you are getting the range of foods you need, whilst also minimising the worry of having to decide what you will be eating on every day of the week.
It's also important that you do not skip any meals, even if there are times when you don't feel up to eating. Keep healthy, energy-boosting snacks on hand too for when they are needed!
Home workouts can help
If you are looking to reduce stress, getting more physical activity can help. And you can do this from the comfort of your own home.
In fact, research shows that participating in aerobics exercises for 2 days every week had a significant reduction in overall perceived stress.
If you are currently inactive, perhaps try starting with simple stretches that may help.
With stress & anxiety, gentle stretches and breathing exercises can often help provide a simple yet effective relief.
Alternatively, there are a number of at home workout routines that you can follow.
Getting into a exercise routine will help massively, including aiding you to getting a good night's sleep in the evening.
Getting enough sleep
It's important that we all get enough sleep at night. Ideally, all adults should be getting somewhere between 7-9 hours sleep every single day.
If you feel anxious or are suffering from stress, your body will need even longer to rest due to the additional nervous energy being expanded during the day.
In a study that took place in 2017, over a quarter of adults (26%) said that improving their quality and quantity of sleep was their biggest health ambition. Despite this, more than half (51%) were not taking any measures to help with their goal.
If you lie in bed worrying every single night or are looking for a sleep aid, it may be worth considering a Weighted Blanket to help sooth your body when its time to rest.
The Allure Slumber Weighted Blanket is designed to act in much the same way a tight hug would do, helping you to calm down and relax.
The science behind why you should use a weighted blanket is simple - it is a term called deep touch pressure (DTP). This is where you gently apply pressure to the body which will then aid the natural release of serotonin.
Serotonin is sometimes called the happy chemical, as when it is released, it contributes to happiness, improved well-being and relaxation. Using a weighted blanket has been proven to not only make you get to sleep faster, but also ensures a more restful sleep.
Self care is vital
Taking time for yourself is vitally important if you are trying to reduce anxiety.
It is especially important for those with occupations that involve high levels of stress such as medical professionals or those that live a busy lifestyle.
Here are a few things you can do to indulge in some self care:
Take a walk - walking promotes the release of brain chemicals called endorphins that stimulate relaxation and improve our mood. Even a stroll at a comfortable pace promotes relaxation.
Reading an engaging book - getting stuck into a good book, particularly fiction, fully engages the mind and imagination. When the brain is fully focused on a single task, it is proven to reduce stress and enhance relaxation.
Run a warm, relaxing bath - warm baths are linked to decreases in stress hormones and more balanced serotonin levels, which help regulate mood. Make sure you have a super soft bath towel to wrap yourself in as soon as you step out to help sooth the skin.
Get a massage - many physiological effects occur during a massage including increased endorphins, serotonin and dopamine and decreased cortisol all regularly occur throughout a massage to help reduce stress.
Practicing yoga may help
Yoga is becoming increasingly popular as a method of stress relief.
But what actually is yoga? Yoga is a full mind and body exercise.
Originating in ancient India, Yoga is a posture-based physical fitness, stress-relief and relaxation technique.
Studies have shown that practicing Yoga can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, as well as helping to promote psychological well being.
You can also do it from the comfort of your own home. Make sure to use a multi-purpose rug to sit on to keep comfortable, otherwise you will not be successful in releasing stress.
Our Chindi Rag Rug may just be the perfect size for what you are looking for, as well as bringing a pop of colour to your home.
Deep breaths are key
Deep breathing is one of the most common relaxation techniques. By inhaling and exhaling slowly, you will feel calmer.
One of the goals of deep breathing is to focus your awareness on your breath, making it slower and deeper.
When you inhale deeply, your lungs are able to fully expand and your stomach rises with your breath. This will help to slow your heart rate and blood pressure, in turn helping you to relax.
Take a day to pamper yourself
With our busy schedules, it is easy for us to forget about our own health and well being.
Make sure you take time for yourself to relax; one way of doing this would be to create a home spa day for yourself and your loved ones to enjoy.
Check out our blog Home Spa Day which contains a complete guide you can follow to have your own spa day, similar to one you could enjoy in a 5-star retreat.
Release tension with a massage
Muscle tension is a common occurrence if you are feeling stressed.
One of the most obvious ways to remedy this would be to get a massage.
This will help to reduce any pain you are feeling, relieving muscle tension and soreness, and giving you more of a chance at relaxing.
A massage can also improve your circulation, lowering your heart rate and blood pressure whilst at the same time giving you more energy.
Surround yourself with soothing scents
Using a diffuser with a soothing scent may have a calming effect on you.
Scented candles and essential oils come in fantastic range of smells; take a look at just a few of these relaxing scents, that will create a spa-like aroma in your own home.
Having the light of a small scented candle flickering in the corner will create a tranquil atmosphere in any room.
Exposure to some of the following scents may be especially calming: lavender, rose, sandalwood, frankincense, rosemary and jasmine.
Most importantly, talk to someone
It's vitally important that we don't bottle things up when it comes to mental health.
Tell family, friends and other loved ones that you’re feeling stressed and anxious, and let them help you in any way that the can.
Alternatively, talk to a physician or therapist if you feel you need professional help.
Being open and honest about your stress is the first step to turning the corner.