2 November is Stress Awareness Day – everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives and at Love Your Gut we know that stress can affect the gut.
Read our blog to learn more about stress and some take away tips or tricks for mental wellbeing.
The annual campaign for Stress Awareness Day shows how stress affects people and the importance of mental wellbeing. With a few tips and tricks to improve your overall mental wellbeing.
What is mental wellbeing?
Mental health, also known as mental wellbeing, refers to our cognitive, behavioural and emotional state of our psychological system. Positive mental wellbeing is related to improved physical health, higher social interaction levels and reduced risk of developing mental health issues1. Factors such as stress can negatively impact mental wellbeing.
So, what is stress?
Stress is defined as a normal human reaction for our ancestors when the body feels threatened or under pressure, 2 it was key for survival and even though we don’t have to deal with tigers and lions our stress response can still be triggered. Stress, in certain situations can be healthy and essential to keep us safe or can help to motivate us to achieve our goals. However too much stress, over a longer period of time (chronic stress),can lead to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion2. Symptoms of stress can include feeling overwhelmed, easily irritated, trouble concentrating and lack of self confidence2. Causes of stress can vary from our upbringing, day-to-day experiences, health issues or big unexpected life changes2. It is important to understand the symptoms and causes of stress, because this will enable you to better understand your own mental wellbeing and if you need to seek support or not.
Exercise and physical activity is widely known to be beneficial to your mental wellbeing. A study conducted on young people/adolescents found that a physically active lifestyle improved self-esteem, improved cognitive function and less overall depressive symptoms, when compared with young people who lived a sedentary lifestyle3. Aim to meet the physical activity guidelines throughout the week with the UK government recommending at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity a week4 . Adding a 10 minute walk a couple of times a day spread out across the week could be an achievable way to stay active, get some fresh air to help clear your mind and connect with nature.
If you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed use some of these tips to support your mental wellbeing.
Top tips to help deal with stress!
- Stay connected to friends and family. If you ever feel stressed or overwhelmed talking to someone can help, they may offer advice or may offer solutions to your problems
- Break up tasks into smaller bite size chunks. . Sometimes a to-do list looks overwhelming but be realistic, break it down into chunks to make it more manageable, prioritise your time and make sure to reward yourself after completing a task.
- Planning the week. Planning ahead will help you be more organised overall making situations less overwhelming
- Set some ‘me’ time. Set aside an evening in your calendar once a week to relax and do something you enjoy. This will help you to relax and overall improve your mental wellbeing
- Get sufficient sleep! A regular sleep schedule can help calm the mind, regulate mood and improve concentration.
- Aim for a balanced diet with lots of plants – having enough energy and nutrients can support brain health and ensure your brain has everything it needs to focus and perform at its best5 ! Here are some recipe ideas for those all-important nutrients https://loveyourgut.com/getting-gut-healthy/recipes/
Love Your Gut
Stress can play a major role in influencing the working of the gut, and while a lack of sleep may just make you tired the next day, it can also have a negative effect on your bowel function.
So what can you do to minimize bowel problems? Love Your Gut’s Dr Maxton Pitcher provides his top tips here: https://loveyourgut.com/getting-gut-healthy/lifestyle-tips/
If you need further support please seek support from Healthcare professionals or visit https://www.samaritans.org/
- NHS England. 2022. NHS England » About mental health. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.england.nhs.uk/mental-health/about/. [Accessed 30 August 2022].
- uk. 2022. Stress – Every Mind Matters – NHS. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/mental-health-issues/stress/#what-is. [Accessed 30 August 2022].
- Biddle, S. J., & Asare, M. (2011). Physical activity and mental health in children and adolescents: a review of reviews. British journal of sports medicine, 45(11), 886-895.
- uk. 2022. Physical activity guidelines for adults aged 19 to 64 – NHS. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-guidelines/physical-activity-guidelines-for-adults-aged-19-to-64/.BDA. 2022.
- Food and mood | British Dietetic Association (BDA). [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/food-facts-food-and-mood.html.