Are you feeling stressed? You aren’t the only one. 74% of UK adults have reported feeling stressed and unable to cope. If you’re already feeling under pressure, fluctuating hormones during menopause can exacerbate these stressful feelings. However, there are steps you can take that can help prevent and treat stress.
What is stress?
Stress is your body’s reaction to feeling threatened or under pressure. Low-level stress can be motivating and give you the drive to complete day-to-day tasks. But too much pressure can negatively impact your mental and physical wellbeing. And being overly anxious for a long period of time can lead to burn out.
Exercise is a great way to release tension. It reduces the levels of the body’s stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol and releases the feel good hormone endorphins. Almost any form of exercise can decrease your anxiety levels. Aerobic exercises such as running, cycling, and swimming can burn off nervous energy. Team sports have the added benefits of socialising and competitiveness. Flexibility exercises such as yoga and pilates are great for improving strength and balance. With a focus on breathing, they can help you to relax too.
Mindfulness is the practice of becoming more aware of the present moment and taking pleasure from the world around us. This could be as simple as going for a lunchtime walk and paying attention to the sights, smells and sounds around you.
There are different forms of meditation, so it’s important to find one that meets your needs. You can practice meditation by yourself, or you might find guided meditations more beneficial. If you prefer the structure of a guided meditation there are plenty of apps such as Calm and Headspace. They aim to not only help you destress but prepare you for how to respond to stressful situations. Attending meditation workshops and classes have the bonus of taking you out of your usual surroundings and have a social element.
Connect with others
If your stressed feelings are making your feel overwhelmed, don’t suffer alone. You can reach out to a friend, family member or a trusted colleague. If you’d rather talk to someone neutral there are helplines and online resources available. You can also refer yourself to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). CBT is a talking therapy that can help you manage your problems in a more positive way.