April is Stress Awareness month, so NOW is the perfect time to assess your levels of stress in day to day life - at work, home and socially.
Looking after your own wellbeing must be your first priority, as this will help you when it comes to looking after family and friends around you.
Here's my five 'Top Tips' for Beating Stress
+ Make sure to get plenty of sleep! A few early nights in the week will allow the body to repair, the brain to switch off, consolidate and refresh. Ideally eight hours sleep will do the trick.
+ Eat healthy! A balanced diet boosts your resistance against the effects of stress. Ensure your five a day of fresh produce includes plenty of colour. Check your getting enough B Vitamins, Zinc and Magnesium in your diet.
+ Spending just twenty minutes with nature can reduce the stress hormone, cortisol. Take a walk in the park or by the river or simply sit quietly in your favourite spot outside. Tune into your senses - listen to the birds, smell the air, look at the beauty of nature around you. Value the time you are giving to yourself to just be in the moment.
+ Learn how to practice deep breathing. When we experience stress, we spontaneously start shallow breathing from the chest. When we learn deep breathing we breathe from the belly, this instantly calms our stress levels..
+ The key to happiness is to maintain a positive mindset. Take a photo each day of what makes you feel happy. Write down in a journal what you are grateful for that day. Smile at a colleague, stranger in the street or loved one to show you care, it will make you feel so much better about yourself.
Follow this Breathing Exercise to Combat Stress
+ Sitting on the floor with crossed legs, place a yoga block or firm cushion under your bottom and slide forward halfway off the block/cushion so that your knees can drop below the hips towards the floor.
+ Place the hands in the lap, palm on palm and facing up. Ensure the back is straight, shoulders are down away from the ears and the crown of the head elevates towards the sky.
+ Bring your awareness to your breath, breathing naturally in and out through the nose.
+ Place the hands lightly over the belly, with just the two middle fingers touching.
+ Breathe into the belly slowly and deeply, filling the belly with air and observe your middle fingers moving away as the belly expands.
+ Slowly breathe out, releasing the air and notice the fingers moving back to touch as the belly contracts.
+ Continue the breathing pattern for twenty-four breaths. (One breath = In and Out).
Annie runs Mindfulness, Meditation and Yoga courses from her studio in East Molesey, Hampton Court, Surrey.
Contact - email@example.com for more information.