Tuesday 7 January 2014

Make time for you: keep your stress levels in check this year!

It’s not uncommon for parents to stretch themselves a little thinly, especially over the busy holiday period. With the added stress of planning for Christmas while taking care of visiting family members, your own health care can be pushed aside and forgotten about. But it’s important to realise that even seemingly insignificant health concerns can lead to bigger problems down the line.

In 2014, don’t forget to make time for yourself, and don’t let stress get the better of you. Some of the symptoms of stress are constant worrying and focusing on the negative, nausea and dizziness, sleep disruption and appetite changes. If you’re worried about how stress is affecting you or a loved one, visit your GP to find out how to better deal with stress. Treatments can include therapy, medicine and self-help (things like exercise, meditation and healthy eating). If you’re worried about getting quick access to treatment, consider looking into private medical insurance, which can provide fast-track treatment for stress.

Take care of your body

There’s only so much your body can take before you push it too far, and so it’s important that over the festive period, you don’t overindulge or neglect your health too much.
While you might not have time to head to the gym, schedule in some form of exercise. A relaxing family walk will not only get everyone out of the house for some fresh air but it will also give you the chance to enjoy some form of physical activity that doesn’t involve frantically rushing around the shops to finish your Christmas shopping!
As well as getting as much exercise as possible, make sure you are getting enough sleep at night, Make a point of putting an end to wrapping gifts or other Christmas tasks at a decent hour and get yourself into bed for a good night’s sleep. Getting enough sleep will ensure your immune system can recover from lingering colds or flue and keep your immune system strong to battle against fatigue.

Don't bottle it up

One of the best ways to relieve stress is to share difficult thoughts or feelings with a friend; even just getting the smallest worries off your chest can make a big difference.
Deal with your stress in ways that make you feel most comfortable: for example, if sharing with a therapist doesn’t appeal, get in touch with an old friend. Act as soon as you can to prevent the risk of increased blood pressure which can potentially lead to ill health.

Remember to make time for the things you enjoy

Often, doing the things we enjoy normally gets dropped to the bottom of the to-do list at this busy time of year; however, doing things you enjoy when you’re feeling the pressure of Christmas will help you to unwind and take your mind off of your stress.
While you might not be able to enjoy all of your favourite hobbies, sitting down with your favourite book or magazine for an hour or taking a trip to the cinema will allow you to get some pleasure out of your day without the added worry that you’re taking too much time for yourself.

Go easy on yourself

It’s the time for new year’s resolutions, when everyone is either on a diet or giving up smoking or drinking alcohol or all three at once! If you want to seta goal for 2014, try for something reasonable that you can see yourself achieving without overly sacrificing in other areas of your life. If you feel exhausted and guilty at the beginning of January from overindulging at Christmas, don’t add to your stress by making unreasonable goals now. Have practical expectations, and keep your stress at a manageable level.

*This post has been written by a guest author but I thought it went well with my New Years Resolutions and was great advice for busy parents!

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