Feeling stressed or anxious? These expert tips might help

Having a chat with a friend about your worries can provide relief, says Kate.

Having a chat with a friend about your worries can provide relief, says Kate. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

“So...farming is a struggle, I feel we lurch from one disaster to another ,” a frustrated voice recently appeared on my Twitter feed.

Written by one stranger, but echoed by thousands.

And it’s not just in the farming industry; every business sector is struggling.

We are all going through something similar and having a difficult time at this moment, as we’re propelled from one crisis to another.

Set some time aside to do a relaxing activity you love, such as swimming

Set some time aside to do a relaxing activity you love, such as swimming - Credit: Getty Images

With many of us experiencing symptoms similar to post-traumatic stress disorder post pandemic, it’s not always the case of picking yourself up, dusting yourself off and starting all over again.

We need time to process, to heal and to make sense of what the hell just happened.

It’s almost as if we’ve been sucked up into this tornado of chaos, spinning around inside the vortex, trying to fend off a constant barrage of negativity being thrown at us.

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And if that’s not enough, we’re then dropped back into a world that’s the same, but not the same.  

And we’re bruised, confused and deflated, so this makes future challenges sometimes impossible to deal with.

Yes, I have a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore too Toto.

Living in rural Norfolk and seeing the massive amount of work involved in getting from farm to fork, I empathise and sympathise with farming communities battling with business diversification, ELM scheme and climate change (to name but a few agricultural challenges surrounding farming today).

And conversations taking place in my mindful mardles reflect similar frustrations and worries from individuals in different industries across East Anglia.

Kate Smith, founder of Slow You Down Wellbeing

Kate Smith, founder of Slow You Down Wellbeing - Credit: Contributed

There’s no new world manual titled “Here’s Your Perfect World”. There’s no new world magic wand; with just one flick and we’ve ‘expelliarmused’ coronavirus.

And there’s certainly no click of ruby slippers to wake us up from this dream.

However, there are positive coping strategies that will help build resilience to stressful situations.

Resilience is about harnessing your inner strength, enabling you to deal with anxious feelings and high stress levels.

From a compilation of the more popular strategies, here are some suggestions to help your healing process to positive mind health.

Acceptance
This coping strategy is always at the top of my list.  

It’s the practice of being gentle on yourself.

It’s recognising when negative emotions start to snowball, you get that feeling… you know, that feeling?

Like the weight of the world is on your shoulders alone and you can’t see the wood for the trees.

So, when stress levels increase remember you are human, not superhuman.

If it helps, repeat a saying over and over to yourself that is relatable to your stressful situation.

For example, “I can only do my best with the tools I am given” or “I have done everything I can do at this moment”.

Practicing acceptance allows you to regain perspective by acknowledging the big picture in each moment and what you can and can’t control in life events.

Write a daily ‘to do’ list
Lists are imperative in keeping to routine and having order in life.

When you establish routines, you feel a greater sense of purpose contributing to your positive wellbeing and self esteem.  

Paradigm shift
Rest assured, this is not another wizarding spell. Being able to shift your paradigm is simply changing the way of doing or thinking about things.

Challenging yourself to see things from a different perspective also increases your emotional understanding of other people’s feelings i.e, empathy.

Time out
Allocate specific down time for what you like doing best.

Walking, running, going to the gym, swimming, retail therapy, listening to music, dancing, meditation, fishing, playing and watching sports….but not recommended to do all at the same time!

Exposure therapy (or as I like to call it going “out, out”)
Meeting up with your bud or bestie in a social environment confronts the stress of being in crowds and large social arenas.

If you’ve withdrawn from the world in recent months, taking little steps in meeting up with friends will help lessen the anxiety of connecting back with the outside world.  

Mindful mardles
Talking about personal stresses doesn’t come easy for some, I know.

But having a chat is a welcomed relief from bottling up your problems.  

Hugging

A hug releases oxytocin, creating a feeling of calmness

A hug releases oxytocin, creating a feeling of calmness - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto


A comforting embrace releases oxytocin in the body creating the feeling of calmness.

Having Covid recently meant I couldn’t hug hubby and back-from-uni boy for 10 days.

How did I survive sans hugging for 10 days?

Tilly and Parsnip came to the hug rescue of course. The cheeky Labrador sisters got all my cuddles.  

If you are experiencing any stress or anxiety dear Wellbeing Reader, I do hope this article helps you. But if you feel you need additional help and support, please do check in with your GP.  

Kate Smith is founder of Slow You Down Wellbeing.

Combining over 20 years of stress busting and bodywork experience in occupational health and private practice, Kate has designed a series of wellbeing packages including meditation, coping strategies and mindful massage to help Norfolk relax and breathe.

See slowyoudownwellbeing.co.uk