Woman practicing yoga for stress relief

We’re all living in what might be stressful times.

For most of us we’re out of our usual routines, we can’t see family and friends in person and potentially worried about your health or your family’s health.

While low-level stress can help keep up motivated to achieve things in our daily life, too much stress can affect our mood, body and relationships (1).

What are the symptoms of stress?

Stress can affect everyone differently; you might have physical or mental symptoms and it could affect how you behave. Stress can manifest itself in headaches, muscle tension or pain, stomach problems and a faster heartbeat.

You might also find it difficult to concentrate, struggle to make decisions, feeling overwhelmed or constantly worrying. Or, you might find yourself being irritable and snappy, changing how you sleep or eat and drinking or smoking more.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by stress, here are three techniques you could try for stress relief.

Breathing technique for stress relief

According to the NHS, this breathing technique can help with stress, anxiety and panic. It takes just a few minutes and can be done anywhere. Try to incorporate this into your daily routine to feel the most benefits.

First step is to make yourself as comfortable as you can, this can be standing, sitting in a chair that supports your back or lying on a bed or yoga mat on the floor. Consider loosening any clothes that restrict your breathing.

  • If you’re lying down, place your arms a little bit away from your sides, with the palms up. Let your legs be straight or bend your knees so your feet are flat on the floor.
  • If you’re sitting, place your arms on the chair arms.
  • If you’re sitting or standing, place both feet flat on the ground. Whatever position you’re in, place your feet roughly hip-width apart.

Once you’re comfortable:

  • Let your breath flow deep down into your belly as is comfortable.
  • Try breathing in through your nose and out through your mouth
  • Breathe in gently and regularly. You might find it helpful to count steadily from 1 to 5, you might not be able to reach 5 at first.
  • Then, without pausing or holding your breath, let if flow out gently. If you were counting on your breath in, count to 5 again.
  • Repeat this for 3 to 5 minutes.

Yoga for Stress

Exercise can help you with ways to manage stress as it helps clear your thoughts and lets you deal with your problems more calmly (2).  There have also been many studies that yoga can help with stress and anxiety (3).

Yoga helps you gain awareness of your own body, encourages you to be mindful and self-compassionate and can help you feel good.

You could try to fit even 5 minutes of yoga in the morning, your lunch break, or even just before bed. There’s plenty of online resources so you can take part from home.

Remember to have some time for yourself

It can be difficult to make time for yourself, but this is important in helping you reduce stress. Try setting aside a couple of nights a week to do what you want.

This could be the time you take to get active if you wanted, do some yoga, read book or have a bath. Make sure you aren’t tempted to use this time to carry on working or catching up on chores.

You could also try our wellness series with Cat Meffan, she takes you through mindfulness and meditations you can do to help with working from home, stress and anxiety and gratitude and reflection as a family.

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