Knowing what you shouldn’t do is often as useful as knowing what you should do. And that applies to stress management. Sure there is a lot you can do to help yourself relax after a long day, but we can’t all spend our weekends at spas or getting massages from London escorts. And while there is a lot you can do to help you relax, just making sure you’re not actively making your stress worse daily can also go a long way towards improving your mental health.
With that in mind, here are some habits you should avoid if you don’t want to make your stress worse.
1 – Polluting your sleep
Sleep is a crucial part of your routine. That’s because one of the tasks your body performs while you’re asleep is regulating your hormonal levels. And since hormones regulate your stress response, this is important. Sleep can help you recover after a stressful day, and not getting enough rest can boost your sensitivity to stress the following day. Meaning that anything that causes you stress will have an even more potent effect than the day before.
Given how important sleep is, you mustn’t make falling asleep harder than it has to be. Stress itself already causes insomnia, and bad habits like answering work emails from bed, engaging in social media drama until late at night, and just overall lacking any kind of sleep schedule can all cause issues.
Try to tune off from any sources of stress at least one hour before bed. And make sure that whenever you are in bed it is to get some sleep. This will condition your body to fall asleep more easily
2 – Isolating yourself
It is tempting to push back social obligations and focus on your work when there is a lot to get done. But the times when you’re most busy are often the times when stress is highest, and spending time with friends and family can be a good way to help you get a break from work and reduce these stress levels. So do your best not to isolate yourself completely during these times — even if all you can do is a 10-minute phone call with someone you like, that’s still better than total isolation.
3 – Holding in tension
Tension often manifests itself in your body in a variety of ways. It’s common for people to hold tension in their neck, shoulders, or abdomen when they are stressed, which in turn increases feelings of stress, and can even cause pain over time. Make sure you check yourself for pent-up tension from time to time and learn how to relax these areas. Over time you’ll get good at spotting when you’re holding tension.
4 – Ignoring your body
The mind and body are not separate. Low sugar levels will leave you cranky, as will pains in joints and other areas. You can reduce how much stress you get from upsetting your body by eating healthy snacks, staying hydrated, and stretching from time to time. Exercising regularly is also good, of course.
5 – Taking stimulants
Caffeine will make stress and anxiety worse, and so will smoking. There’s a common misconception that smoking helps you relax. What happens is that smoking takes away the symptoms of nicotine withdrawal, which causes an illusion of relaxation at the moment. But nicotine itself is a stimulant, and it will enhance feelings of stress and anxiety after that initial wave of calmness.