In this blog, we explore top tips to help you lower your stress levels in day-to-day life, as well as how you can earn money now by taking part in paid market research online communities!
April is Stress Awareness Month!
Everyone will experience minor levels of stress at some point in their daily lives, and for lots of different reasons.
Running late for work, a looming essay deadline, realising you left your purse at home when you get to the supermarket checkout and the dog eating your passport (yes, it happens…) are just a few classic examples!
Stress Awareness Month was established in 1992 to “increase public awareness about both the causes and cures for our modern stress epidemic;” as, despite the devastating impact that stress can have, it is currently still not being taken as seriously as physical health issues.
With that in mind, we’ve written the following top tips to help you spot the signs of stress and manage them effectively!
What is “stress,” and how can you identify it?
Verywell Mind defines stress as:
“…any type of change that causes physical, emotional, or psychological strain. Stress is your body’s response to anything that requires attention or action.”
For some people, it’s easy to spot the symptoms of stress in themselves and other people. For others, however, it takes a little practice to get to know the signs!
According to mental health charity Mind, some of these signs include feeling:
- wound up, impatient or irritable
- unable to enjoy the things you usually enjoy
- like you’ve lost your sense of humour
- lonely or neglected
- like you can’t switch off racing thoughts
- nervous, anxious, and fearful
Or exhibiting some of these behaviours:
- Getting snappy with people.
- Skin picking or nail biting.
- Eating a lot more or less than usual.
- Avoiding situations that worry you.
- Struggling to concentrate or make decisions.
- Drinking and/or smoking more.
- Restlessness and tearfulness.
Noticed any of these signs?
Then it’s time to try our top 6 stress-busting tips!
Angelfish Opinions’ 6 stress-busting tips for Stress Awareness Month:
1. Take regular breaks
However you spend your day – whether you work a regular 9-5, are a full-time parent or keep yourself busy in other ways – it’s important to take breaks whenever you can if you start to feel your stress levels mounting up.
This way, you’ll be giving your brain and body the time it needs to relax back to their normal state, as well as resetting your mood so that you can go back to whatever you were doing with a more positive mindset!
2. Enjoy regular exercise and a good diet
Research demonstrating the correlation between exercise and low stress levels is practically endless!
Not only has regular exercise been linked to improved mood, decreased depression, reduced anxiety and a greater ability to relax, but can also help you sleep better, which in turn enables you to manage your feelings more easily. Yoga is cited as being an especially good stress-relieving exercise!
Similarly, managing what you eat and drink can help you reduce feelings of stress!
Try cutting down on the number of caffeinated drinks you have per day (caffeine elevates cortisol levels, which also increase with stress), and consider adding stress-busting foods like eggs, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate and chamomile to your daily meals.
3. Practice mindfulness
Like exercise, mindfulness is also a fantastic stress buster. In fact, Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) is now a widely regarded practice, enabling people to better express their feelings (more on that below), be less reactive to conflict, and become more empathetic.
What’s more, it can actually physically alter the amygdala (the part of your brain that manages stress) to make you respond better to stressful situations!
4. Spend time with friends and family
This one is a little tricky in light of the ongoing pandemic; however, if you can do so safely and in line with restrictions, try and spend time with loved ones, and if possible, talk to them about how you’re feeling.
Even if they can’t offer a solution to the causes of your stress, just talking about it can make a massive difference. If you don’t feel able to talk about it, try writing your feelings down in a journal; not only will it help you understands your stress triggers from a fresh perspective, but it will also help to make you feel better!
Bonus tip: While hugging people outside our households is currently out of bounds due to the coronavirus, when the opportunity becomes available again, hug people as much as you can (though we’re sure you won’t need any encouragement) for the ultimate stress buster!
5. Invest in your hobbies, or start a new one
Research has continuously shown that those who invest time in a meaningful and enjoyable hobby are significantly less stressed than those who don’t.
Whether you love painting or sports, performance or crafts, reading, writing or gaming, playing a musical instrument or something else entirely, be sure to block some time out of each day to get stuck into what you love – the positive feelings will shortly follow!
If you don’t have any specific hobbies, have a think about what interests and inspires you, and do some research into how you can turn this into one. Without a doubt, there’ll be something out there for you to enjoy!
Bonus tip: Watch funny movies and TV shows! Laughter is a great stress reliever, as it soothes tension, improves your immune system, and can even relieve pain!
6. Participate in a paid market research online community
This might seem like a strange one, but hear us out!
Taking part in paid market research online communities – particularly in the time of COVID-19 – can be a great way of reducing stress, as they combine a large number of the tips outlined above!
They’re a safe and enjoyable means of interacting with other people who have similar interests to you, you’ll get to share your opinions on the things that are important to you, and often involve some exciting and creative activities, all whilst giving you a well-deserved break from your regular routine.
As a bonus, if you’re looking for a way to earn money now, you’ll be thanked for your participation with vouchers or other monetary rewards!
You can kick-start your paid market research endeavours and earn money now by signing up to our participant panel, or taking a look at the current market research opportunities we have available here.
Important note: If you find that none of the above tips help or that your stress levels have become unmanageable, please seek professional help.
For some people, stress is sadly more than just an infrequent occurrence and can have a detrimental impact on their overall wellbeing.
Research recently found that 74% of people in the UK have experienced overwhelming stress levels and have felt unable to cope over the last year. The coronavirus pandemic has hugely exacerbated the issue; since lockdown restrictions began in March 2020, 65% of UK citizens have felt more stressed than usual.
What’s more, 16% of people self-harmed due to stress last year, and 32% of adults reported that constant stress has resulted in them feeling suicidal.
If you find that none of the above top tips help to alleviate your stress sufficiently, or you feel unable to cope, seek advice from your GP or a mental health professional as soon as possible.