- Get out for a brisk, 30 minute walk every day. Research has confirmed that this can be as effective as medication for stress, anxiety and mild depression. Walking will improve your sleep and also help you to manage your weight.
- Get away from your desk at lunchtime, and do not eat your lunch – or any meal – while rushed or upset. Stress can affect our digestive systems leading to bloating, loose stools, constipation and poor appetite. So, chew well, eat slowly and enjoy it.
- Listen to relaxation tapes at night to help you get a better night’s sleep, learn to meditate, attend yoga classes
- Rely on alcohol to help you relax and to sleep. Yes, the first glass of wine may be helpful, but research indicates that more than one can be harmful. If you are stressed and your mood is low, alcohol will lift it initially but then cause it to fall further, making you more moody and irritable. It also interferes with sleep. Be honest with yourself when counting your weekly units of alcohol, and remember its not just the odd glass or two of wine at home that counts; factor in occasions such as nights out with friends, weddings, Christmas, and office parties.
- Eat junk foods when stressed, to comfort yourself, for convenience, or because you are in a rush. Foods such as chocolate, biscuits and cakes contain high levels of sugar, which causes the your blood sugar level to spike, making you feel happy and energetic for a short while, before plummeting to leave you feeling hungry again and possibly irritable. This can lead to a spiral of sugar cravings, rushes of energy and crankiness. Coffee and cigarettes have a similar effect. When insulin is released in your body it takes the excess sugars from your blood and stores them as fat. So, for sustained energy release, eat foods with a low Glycaemic Index (GI), include protein and complex carbohydrates in every meal, and have something like a banana or a couple of oatcakes with cheese or hummus as a snack.