Stress Awareness Month: Combatting Stress with the Content & Editorial Team
Content and Editorial Team
27 Apr 2022
Stress is something that affects all of us, a lot. Even if people seem calm and collected on the outside, everyone is facing their own battles – in and out of the workplace – and will be prone to bouts of stress.
Despite this, stress continues to be something we skirt around or cover up. So, this National Stress Awareness Month, our Content & Editorial team wanted to share their practical advice on ways to unwind, to hopefully help others reduce stress in their personal and professional lives.
Emily: Long walks in the company of good music
My tech trick to reduce stress is a simple one: going for a long walk in the park and listening to music. But I’ve found that listening to an album from start to finish (and turning off that pesky Spotify shuffle) is a much more absorbing experience. You get to hear the story behind the music, rather than jumping from one thing to another, and can enjoy those forgotten album bangers. Foo Fighters, Kate Bush and Bat for Lashes are all massive recommendations. Oh, and leave the noise cancelling headphones at home for an occasional burst of birdsong!
Efe: Start a Phone-Use Manifesto
The smartphone is an insidious device. It’s easy to mistake it for a stress-relief tool, but it’s actually a tool of distraction. And when we constantly use it to distract ourselves from our stressors, it fast becomes compulsive.
To remedy the compulsive-scrolling habit my partner and I had picked up over lockdown, we created a Phone-use Manifesto. We tailored it specifically to our bad phone habits (ones we’d noticed in ourselves and each other), and turned them into rules, such as:
- Never look at your phone during good shows/movies
- Never go searching through a comment section for the horrible comment you expect
- Never start the day by scrolling through social media (broke this one this morning ☹)
It was surprisingly effective, and you begin to realise how much cognitive load you were carrying just aimlessly scrolling through content. So, if you want to curb some of your worse phone habits, come up with realistic rules that you all agree on (partner/housemates/family) and hold each other accountable.
Molly: Embrace silent mode to become more in tune with your mind
The buzz of the virtual world promises us that we needn’t ever be alone. There’s an app that can offer companionship for every aspect of our lives. But as uncomfortable as it may be, it’s actually good to be lonely sometimes. It gives your brain time to digest emotions and mull over your thoughts.
Having wall-to-wall noise takes away this space (and yes, that even includes mindfulness soundtracks). While you may feel fine, you’re actually suppressing all your emotions until they rear their ugly heads in one nasty burn out.
Use your tech by all means, but counter that with a healthy dose of nothingness and silence. Try just 15 minutes a day to see how much more in tune you become with your mind.
Annabel: Enjoy less stress and a better night’s sleep with ‘Night light’
I discovered ‘Night light’ a couple of years ago and it’s been revolutionary. Sadly, I’m not referring to the plug-in, ambient lighting that keeps the monsters away. I mean the blue light reducing functionality available on any Windows computer.
You can set ‘Night light’ to start from sunrise to sunset based on your location, or pick the time – perhaps towards the end of your working day – to reduce the blue light emitted by your computer that keeps you up at night. When on, the computer screen displays a warm, orange colour and has been a game changer in terms of kicking off an evening schedule geared towards less stress and a better night’s sleep.
Rob: Lose yourself in a good book
Sometimes, we’re all guilty of getting swept up in any life / work-related stresses – and it can all get a bit much. When that is the case, I’ve found reading a good book can help to detach from reality (for a short while at least), to regroup, reset and realise that: everything will be alright.
Even if you don’t feel like it, forcing yourself to grab a book – be it a new one or an old favourite – and making a beeline for the sofa can really put things into perspective and take the edge off. Then, when it comes to it, tackling stresses head on seems more manageable.
If Harry Potter can suffer countless hardships in life and still find the energy and courage to have it out with Lord Voldemort, I’m pretty sure I can get on the phone and have it out with British Gas.
Update: I’ve since been banned from contacting British Gas for repeatedly yelling Expelliarmus down the phone.
Lize: Swap social media for some indulgent ‘me time’
The incessant use of social media can come at a cost. According to Help Guide, excessive use of social media can fuel feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and FOMO.
So, for stress-relief, I tend to put aside my tech gadgets – but not before using my smartphone and Instagram profile to book a full body massage session with Nila, who I now consider to be the best masseuse in London!
Because she’s often booked out months in advance, I plan my destress days ahead of time. I book a slot at her Camden studio followed by a chauffeured ride home and then end the night with a takeout and my favourite desserts delivered to my door.
John: On your bike
I find it hard to switch off from the digital noise that surrounds us – be it the notifications on our phones, or being drawn into yet another night in front of the TV after work.
To properly blow the cobwebs away, I find nothing beats getting out on my bike. Forcing some fresh air into my lungs, with just a little bit of exertion, is enough to puncture any lingering digital-induced stress. Even if it’s just for 20 minutes, you get the chance to explore a new area, or try a different route somewhere. All with the wind in your face.
So, there you have it! Our Content & Editorial team’s ways to destress. But of course, everyone is different and will have their own way to combat pressures. Just make sure whenever things feel like they’re getting too much, you share your load with those around you, or take the time to follow your own stress-busting routine.