Everyone knows stress is bad for you, right? It causes disease; makes you feel bad and can even cause you to gain weight. A little bit of stress is good – it can give us the push we need to get things done, but if you have daily stress that is making you feel ill then you need to do something about it.
It isn’t only adults who can get stressed. Exam worries are a big concern for a lot of parents, so read on to find out how you can help yourself and your child to overcome stress…
One thing I do want to mention, for those of you trying to shift that baby weight, is that stress releases the hormone cortisol. This is the hormone that helped our cave women ancestors to run off when a meat-eating predator came after them. Nowadays, we feel the same stress when we haven’t completed the report the boss needs in ten minutes or one of our children is being bullied. In modern day situations, we don’t need to run away so unless we do something to combat the stress we are feeling, the cortisol causes our bodies to store fat on our mid-section. Stress is the enemy of a flat belly and weight loss. Combating stress may be all you need to make a start on shifting that belly fat as well as helping you feel happier and improving your health.
So, how can you start getting rid of stress?
1) Be alone for at least half an hour – if you have a busy household, tell them you need some time to recharge and you’ll be much happier as a result. Use this time to do something you love – whether it’s reading a book on the sun lounger or soaking in a bubble bath with a glass of wine. Do it now! If your child is stressed, they may also want to spend some time alone, so let them take some time out if they need to and try not to fuss them too much as this can add to their stress.
2) Stroke a pet. If you own a pet then spend some time just stroking it; research has shown that stroking animals reduces blood pressure and lowers stress. If you don’t have a pet then you can get the same effect by stroking some other soft material – strange I know! Why not give it a try and see – just make sure the neighbours aren’t watching when you decide to stroke your furry fireplace rug! This is the reason teddy bears are so comforting for children!
3) Go out for a walk – walking is one of the best ways you can reduce stress. It lowers blood pressure and clears your mind. If you live near some greenery, or a beach, then this is even better. It does the soul good to be out and about in nature. You should feel great when you come back home. Try to encourage your child to go outdoors too and get away from their digital technology, which research has shown can also add to stress.
4) Listen to some music. You can choose to listen to some of your favourite tunes or put on some instrumental or classical music, which has also been proven to reduce blood pressure and stress levels. Research has shown classical music can help to calm restless babies and some researchers believe it can help improve their IQ levels as well.
5) Have a massage – if you have some spare cash and want to treat yourself, then why not visit your local beauty parlour (just be careful that it is a legit establishment!) If you have a baby, why not enrol on a baby massage course. A lot of children’s centres in the UK run them and they are a nice way to relax and bond with your baby.
7) Have some chocolate – I don’t think I’ll have to persuade you to do this! Almost everyone I know loves chocolate. In moderation, chocolate can be good for you ; it releases the same chemicals into your bloodstream as you get when you first fall in love and dark chocolate even contains a small amount of anti-oxidants which combat ageing. Just don’t go overboard!
8)Do something nice for someone else – if you have time to do volunteer work, then this is a great way to reduce stress in your life. Some studies have found that doing good deeds for others can raise self-esteem and release feel-good chemicals into the bloodstream, which also reduces stress.
9) Go out with the girls – if you haven’t been out for some time, why not call up your girlfriends and arrange a night out. You’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine and I know I always have a great laugh when I’m out with my best buddies.
10) Play with your children . It is good to act like a child again, sometimes. I love playing on the games console with my children. If you don’t have any children, then do something you used to love doing as a child. Believe me, it works. You’ll feel younger and less stressed, so do it now!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this article and I hope you enjoy following some of these tips.