A Serious Of Steps To Deal With Stress part two

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Getting Ready

Dealing with stress can be hard work, to be able to take stress on we need to look after ourselves.

That means eating well, sleeping well, being active and cutting out things that are bad for us. It also means learning to take time out to relax and have fun, and trying to think positively.

So get ready to start dealing with stress by firs looking after yourself. Remember you CAN change focus on the small steps that are most useful to you...

Eating Well

If we're stressed it's more important than ever to eat well.

Eating breakfast yes it's true breakfast really is the most important meal of the day! Eating breakfast means you'll also be less likely to reach for unhealthy snacks before lunch. Choosing toast made with wholemeal bread, porridge and high fibre cereals helps to keep your energy levels up through the whole morning.

Getting your five a day

We all know we're meant to get five portions of fruit and vegetables every day but it can seem like a lot. Try making small changes like chopping a banana into your cereal you can also use strawberries, raspberries etc and adding some vegetables to meals also, even a glass of orange juice counts so it can be easier than you think..

Learning to cook

Cooking from scratch is a really healthy way to eat as there will be less salt and more vitamins than in most ready meals and processed food. And learning how to do it can be fun, watch some cooking programmes, get a recipe book or find a cookery class and give it a go.

Sitting down with other people

Families who eat together are more likely to sort out problems and enjoy each others company. Whether it's with the kids, your partner or people from work, being sociable at meal times can be a good thing. So try to make one meal a day spent with others.

Cutting down

Cutting down on tea, coffee and energy drinks is helpful as these all contain caffine, try cutting down if you feel anxious, panicky or sleepy...

For more hints and ideas on eating well go to www.takelifeon.co.uk

Sleeping well

Good sleep is essential but can be the first thing to go when we're stressed, this can lead to us feeling even more stressed. Here are some things you can try to get a better nights sleep.

Your Bedroom

Don't have a TV, computer or games console in your bedroom try to keep it as a clam place to relax.

Cut out light blackout blinds, thick curtains or an eye mask are good for this

Block out noise with earplugs

During the day

Try not to take naps

Try not to think about sleep too much

Cut down on caffeine

Be physically active

Before bed

Have regular bedtime routine

Relax with a warm bath

Avoid heavy meals for at least two hours

Avoid alcohol for at least three hours

Switch the TV off half an hour before you go to bed

Set an alarm to avoid have I slept in panics. Surprisingly having a regular wake up time is more important than a regular bedtime to avoid clock watching make sure the clock is facing away from you.

Can't sleep

Go to a different room for a while and do something that's not mentally challenging

Have a warm milky caffeine free drink

Don't lie in or nap to compensate the next day

Still can't sleep

Concerns often disrupt our sleep try thinking about them and what you might do about them during the day. Writing them down before you go to bed can also help you put them out of your head...

Being Active

Well the good news is you don't have to join a gym, walking briskly for a total of 30 minutes five days a week will not only reduce stress levels but will also reduce your risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes. You don't have to do it all at once either three lots of 10 minute works just as well and makes it easy to fit into everday life.

Try these easy steps

Friendly stroll
Going for a walk with a friend is a great way to spend an evening and cost nothing. Joining a walking group is fun and sociable too find one near you.

Get out with the kids is great chasing them round the garden or having a kick about in the park is good for you and fun for them. Swimming is also a great way to get exercise with the kids.

Leave the car when you pop out to the local shop or you drop the kids off at school why not walk instead of taking the car.

Stop the bus
Get off the bus a couple of stops early on your way to work and walk the rest

Get out at lunchtime why not go to the shops or the park at lunchtime? The walk will also make you feel more awake in the afternoon.

Take the stairs
Why not take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator

Gardening

Gardening counts as exercise and it's a great way to make yourself feel better about the weeding. The kids can join into and planting flower and vegetable seeds can be fun for them.

Green spaces

Research shows getting out to a green space can boost your mood. It's great for the kids too, so whether it's a walk around your local park or a climb up a hill go for green.

On your bike

Grown ups and kids can all feel the benefit of cycling and most citys now a cycle paths

Find a class

There are loads of classes that you can join at your local sports or community centre.

Relaxing and having fun

Take a break from your hectic life even a small one can stop stress building up
Being stressed can stop us doing things we usually enjoy but missing out on those things is also one of the causes of stress.
Are there things you used to love doing but haven't done recently because of the pressure you're under? Making time to relax and have some fun is an important part of beating stress even if you don't feel like it to start with.

Somme things others have enjoyed doing are

Going for a walk with the dog if you have one

Making time to play with your kids at home or the park

Baking and cooking then sharing it with others

Deciding to learn something new for example taking an evening class in something you've always wanted to do.

Meditation and deep relaxation

Learning how to clear our minds takes practice but it's a really good way to relax and de-stress. Visit the library for books. CD's and DVD's or search online. Also look for and join a meditation class...