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Stress Awareness Month April 2024

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April 2024 Stress Awareness Month


Stress isn't necessarily a bad thing. It can be useful as an alert for potential danger. Our ancestors may have needed it to escape from a Sabtretooth Tiger, while we may need it to slam on the brakes in our car to avoid an accident. Adrenaline, cortisol, and norepinephrine boost our focus, allowing us to quickly respond to a situation.However, stress becomes a problem when it remains in our bodies for too long. Elevated cortisol levels can become detrimental to our health and well-being.

 April 2024 is Stress Awareness Month, with a theme of "#littebylittle." Small positive actions each day towards self-care and well-being can lead to overall stress reduction. What small steps can we take to reduce stress?

  • Studies show that our bodies and minds relax in a natural setting. Taking a walk in nature or eating lunch outside can help. Spending time outside in the morning with a cup of tea or coffee allows the morning light to regulate our circadian rhythms, which can improve sleep.
  • Glimmers and gratitude can help regulate and calm the nervous system.' Glimmers' are the opposite of 'triggers' Small moments of appreciation and gratitude throughout the day can make us feel grounded, connected, and calm.
  • Moving in whatever way feels good for you can help. I like walking, climbing mountains and of course practising Yoga and Qigong.
  • Spend time with friends and build a community through shared interests and hobbies.
  • Breathe. The simple act of stopping and connecting to your breath can have a profound impact on your physiology. Changes can include lowered blood pressure and heart rate, as well as reduced levels of stress hormones in the blood. Following the breath as it comes in and goes out without changing it can connect you to the present moment and disengage you from distracting thoughts and sensations.
  • Meditation doesn't have to be done cross-legged. It can be done sitting in a chair or on the edge of your bed. Sitting quietly, following your breath, and letting your thoughts pass by like clouds in the sky can lower cortisol levels, improve self-awareness, lower blood pressure, improve sleep, and enhance focus and decision-making.
  • Reflexology targets the nervous system. There are over 7,000 nerve endings in each foot. The nerve endings flow like streams into the river of the spinal cord, which meets the ocean of the brain. The ocean then sends waves back to the rest of the body. Reflexology is not just foot therapy but a whole-body therapy that can promote deep relaxation and well-being, optimizing good health. It can take you from "Fight and Flight" to "Rest and Digest."
  • Massage stimulates circulation and boosts the immune system. It increases "happy hormones" serotonin and dopamine, encouraging positive feelings and relaxation. Bespoke aromatherapy oils can enhance this experience. Essential oils can have a positive effect on our emotional and physical wellbeing, not just through scent but also through the qualities of the oils absorbed through the skin via massage or reflexology.

Life is busy, and most people are constantly juggling work and home life. Spending a few moments a day and a few hours a month taking time to look after your health and well-being is never wasted.

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