It’s official – Britain is a stressed out nation in need of relaxation.
April is Stress Awareness Month and figures show that more than half a million workers in the UK suffer from mental health issues relating to their job. In 2016/17, 526,000 people suffered from work-related stress, depression or anxiety, resulting in 12.5 million days off sick.
Relaxation is a key way of bringing down your stress levels and creating your own oasis of calm at home can help you have a more positive outlook on life.
Here are some simple techniques you can try from the comfort of your La-Z-Boy sofa or armchair:
Simply spending a few minutes meditating each day can help you feel less anxious. Sit on a comfortable chair with both of your feet resting on the floor and shut your eyes. Think of a positive statement and focus on it either silently or by repeating it out loud. Dismiss any thoughts which threaten to intrude by allowing them to float away like a balloon.
Set aside five minutes to concentrate solely on your breathing. Sit down, put one hand on your stomach and close your eyes. Breathe in through your nose and out through your mouth, feeling the breath with your hand. Deep breathing should lower both your heart rate and your blood pressure, helping you to feel calmer.
Take time to notice and pay attention to your surroundings. Focus on what is going on around you and be aware of all your senses. Concentrate on the small details – the taste of a meal, the texture of clothing or the sound of a piece of music. Don’t allow yourself to think about the future or things that you should be doing, just appreciate the present. This can help lower your stress levels and relieve tension and anxiety.
Talking to a loved one can put your worries into perspective and help you feel less alone. Studies have found that people who have a strong and supportive social network feel happier and less stressed. Calling someone you care about for a chat instead of bottling up your worries is good for your health and can help you maintain your friendships.