National Stress Awareness Month is observed in April to raise awareness of the harmful effects of stress. One of the most important aspects of a healthy lifestyle is stress management. It’s important to understand the signs of stress and anxiety, develop resilience and know when to seek support and prioritise effective stress management techniques to help reduce the aggravation of health-related problems and enhance both physical and emotional well-being. 

The classic image of unwinding for some is often candles, incense and a bath, but exercise, habits and routines can help reduce your stress levels too. 

Claire Wright from Instate Fitness shares her go-to stress-relieving tips. 

1. Exercise

Exercise is thought to have mood-boosting effects. Studies have shown that any type of exercise, even for a short amount of time, can reduce the level of stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol.

Exercising also produces endorphins, that “happy” feeling you get after a workout! 

When it comes to exercise find a form of exercise which works for you and your lifestyle. If you’d like to get yourself to the gym, but need some extra support small group PT sessions could be the way forward. Check out Instate for more info! However, it doesn’t have to mean hours in the gym if that’s not for you – think yoga, exercise classes, walking and other outdoor activities.

2. Time Management

Time management is your superpower!

Modern life is demanding and overwhelming. Sometimes, determining which projects you should devote your time and energy to first takes energy you don’t have to spare. But even when you know what tasks need to be done, you still need to figure out how to prioritise them. Try the 3-3-3 method. This time management technique comes from Oliver Burkeman, author of Four Thousand Weeks: Time Management for Mortals. In its simplicity the 3-3-3 method promotes focus and curbs fight or flight behaviours which can lead to paralysis of action resulting in feeling overwhelmed and increased levels of Cortisol, the stress hormone. 

Use the 3-3-3 method to help increase productivity

  • Spend three hours on your most important thing: Spending 3 focused hours on your most important thing is guaranteed to generate meaningful progress. The obvious one here is a work project. Putting this time in when you have undisturbed time or after a workout means you’ll feel the same sense of relief when moving onto lesser tasks. 
  • Complete three shorter tasks you have been avoiding. Getting these often-mundane tasks done helps with the ‘doom pile’ not building up, reducing feelings of stress, and promoting feelings of achievement. Scheduling meetings, sending emails, expenses and admin often fall into this bracket. 
  • Work on three maintenance activities to keep life in order. These tasks allow you to make progress in other areas of your life, like health, relationships, housekeeping and more.  

3. Conscious eating 

Choose whole, natural foods and ensure you eat a minimum of five portions of non-starchy vegetables per day. These foods help provide the nutrients you need to support your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, and responses to stress.

Foods with high RDV (recommended daily values) of Vitamin C, found in peppers, strawberries and broccoli and B group vitamins, including salmon, nuts, and leafy greens as well as magnesium-dense foods help to combat fatigue and promote a balanced diet.  

Claire Wright is the Head of Growth at Instate Fitness. They pride themselves on personal training with added community. They are a small group PT (SGPT) gym, providing real results and a community to match. Disrupting the boring and soulless gym experience you are used to with our perfect blend of small-group personal training and high-energy classes. Gyms in Cobham & Wandsworth.

As part of this year’s Stress Awareness Month, Fresh Fitness Food is hosting 4 breathwork and light stretching sessions. These will be run throughout the month by run by our talented affiliates and ambassadors. The sessions are designed for you to complete them at your desk, sitting down. You can access the sessions on the day on our Instagram and we will go live! Get involved!

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