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Advice for stress-relief in uncertain times

There are many reasons why working at home can be stressful – conflicting demands, unfamiliar technology and the lack of banter around the coffee machine can all contribute to feelings of stress. Kay Hill has some suggestions.

 

We are in uncertain times, and feeling more anxious than usual is a perfectly reasonable response! The Government’s Health and Safety Executive admits that “home working can cause work-related stress and affect people’s mental health, and being away from managers and colleagues could make it difficult to get proper support.”1

So what can you do to help yourself?

Be aware

Everyone gets frustrated from time to time, but if you find yourself being persistently aggressive or tearful, having difficulty sleeping (or conversely, sleeping all the time), or feeling generally low, then your mental health may be suffering.

Take time to exercise

Gyms, pools and classes are off-limits, but running, cycling and online classes can fill the void. If you are feeling too low and sluggish to contemplate getting your trainers on, then try a 20-minute walk in the open air in your lunch break.

Take some me time

It may be a cliché, but a hot bath or any kind of self-care that makes you feel good, whether it’s painting your nails or listening to music, can help.

Meditate

Try a simple centring exercise. Sit in a comfy chair and relax. Count five things you see; close your eyes and name four things you can hear; tune into your body and list three physical sensations; try to find two things you can smell, and finally think about the taste in your mouth. As you do this you will find your breathing will become slower and some of the tension will ebb away. Stay where you are for a few minutes and enjoy the calm!

Prioritise

If workload is the problem, try making lists and using the Urgent/Important matrix to prioritise.

Diet and supplements

A healthy diet and keeping hydrated (with water rather than espresso or gin!) will go a long way to help, but you might consider natural supplements as well. Vitamin D, B vitamins and magnesium are all proven to help with anxiety, while valerian, camomile and lavender are popular aids for restful sleep. CBD is gaining a reputation for easing stress, while St John’s Wort is a long-standing herbal remedy for mild depression. If you are taking prescription medication check with a pharmacist or on Medscape before taking herbal remedies.

Finally, despite the present crisis, it is still possible to have a GP consultation. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, are self-harming or relying on alcohol or drugs then you should make an appointment straight away.

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