• fpcounselling

How can YOU de-stress?

If you're feeling overwhelmed and believe everything's getting on top of you, have a look below at ways that may relieve some of that and find out what works for me!

Read ways below that could work for you on how to de-stress yourself.

"I love it when i'm walking in the countryside with my dog by my side; feeling free, fresh and at one with nature. I can smell the fresh air, feel the wind on my cheeks and look at my surroundings with joy."

10 ways in how you can look for the calm within yourself.

1) Turn electronic devices off

Turn your device off and open your eyes as to what is happening around you. We see so many people glued to their phones instead of taking their time to view what's happening moment-to-moment. If turning your phone off isn't an option or you would find that too hard: deactivate social media account's for a period of time or turn it off during meal and activity times.

2) Exercise

Not only is exercise good for your heart but also good for your head! Any form of exercising is good as it reduces the body's natural stress hormones such as; adrenaline and cortisol. Furthermore, it stimulates the production of chemicals and endorphins that are the body's natural 'painkillers. As exercise will raise your heart rate, emotional and behavioural aspects will shortly follow. As body fat percentages decrease, strength, stamina and self-confidence will improve! I know not everyone will enjoy exercise but as long as you do something, it's better than nothing.

Exercise can also provide opportunities for you to make new friends, whether that be at a designated class or out at the park. Your renewed vigour and energy will help you succeed in many tasks, and the discipline of regular exercise will help you achieve other important lifestyle goals. Aerobic exercise is one approach; physical fitness will help promote mental fitness.

3) Be Creative!

Being creative can be anything to decorating a room in your house, writing poetry, pottery, making music to sewing. Anything that gets your mind going and ultimately having fun and enjoying the activity. Throughout history some of the most famous people have been known to have a hobby alongside their job. Winston Churchill painted regularly during his time in office, and felt expressing himself artistically proved the ideal way to combat the stresses of a world war. Albert Einstein played both the piano and the violin throughout his career as a physicist, while poet Emily Dickinson was also an accomplished baker

https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/299647 - This is a great article that shows 15 Ted Talks for Sparking Creativity. Not only is being creative an excellent way to escape from the stresses of modern life, it actually helps us to train our brain to work and think differently.

4) Express your Feelings

There are lots of causes that could trigger off emotional stress. It can be challenging and particularly painful to deal with. More often than not, you cannot fix theses stressors and feelings overnight. Counselling is a talking therapy that gives you an opportunity to talk in a safe place that is non-judgemental. You can do this in just a one-off session or some people carry there counselling on for years. Being able to get things off your chest and out express how you feel about everything can change you forever.

5) Be in the Moment

In today's society as we know it, it can be very hectic! So being truly present in the moment, maybe difficult for most of us. It can be extremely difficult for those with anxiety, who are constantly worrying and thinking about the future. Our anxiety-inducing inner critic can affect us at anytime and can stop us from doing things like going to work, or social events. This can be closely linked to point number 8, as they can help you be more present with various techniques. Moreover, start your day with a smile. A cliche as it sounds, you're in control of your attitude every morning. If you do this, your more likely to soak in as much as you can from the day: all the sight, smells and sounds.

On the other hand, if you are harbouring any bad feelings or resentment, towards someone, try and forgive and move on. Although this can be hard, letting go of them hard emotions can be a weight off your shoulders and can feel like you start enjoying the present rather than letting these feelings fester.

6) Animals

Pets and animals can be a great motivator for people. They can be extremeley beneficial for a variety of reasons such as; they can have a calming effect on us, can help with stress and anxiety, they help with loneliness and people living alone, they give us a sense of purpose and routine and they can help owners to stay socially connected and less withdrawn. Children with autism often find it calming to work with animals too.  

7) Self Love

Do YOU know how special you are!? We all deserve to feel love, but by the most important person in our lives is ourselves. Firstly, everyday, take a deep breath in, hug yourself and here are 10 ways you can practice loving yourself more >>

  • When you wake up on a morning. Look in the mirror and tell yourself something positive. It can be how you like you're smile or how well you handled a situation.

  • Try to reach out and connect with others. Whether that be friends, family, or healers. You're not expected to go through these hard times alone.

  • End all relationships that are toxic and that don't lift you up.

  • Write everything down. Sometimes we are swarmed by our thoughts and feelings, so write them down on a piece of paper or start a journal.

  • Get your body moving every single day. Learn to love the skin you're in.

  • Self love is forever evolving so be patient, but persistent. Be loyal to yourself, sometimes it can take a week, others it can take a lifetime to master.

  • Nourish your body with food and drink that will make you thrive.

  • Try to forgive and forget and let wounds heal up. Sometimes you make have to seek support for this but we will often feel a lot lighter having got rid of this weigh on our shoulders.

  • Treat others how you would like to be treated.

  • Have fun! :) Find something that your passionate about, enjoy doing and ultimately makes you happy.

8) Mindfulness/Yoga/ Meditation

The majority of us have experienced stress, anxiety or panic at a point in our life. We all know how busy life can get when we see weeks fly by and we think, "Jeez, what have done with my time?" All of the named above can help you with paying more attention to your thoughts and feelings in the present. You can find lots of material online that you can do within the comfort of your own surroundings. I have done one called 'Qigong' which is a form of Chinese yoga. It involves co-ordinated body movement, postures, breathing, self-massage, sounds and focused intent. These techniques are forms of exercise that focuses on strength, flexibility and breathing to boost physical and mental wellbeing. 

9) Eat & Sleep Well

This can be a difficult one as these are often tangled with stress itself. For example, if were stressed we can't sleep and insomnia can make us hungry for sugary and fatty foods. Sleep and overeating are deeply connected, and when this goes on for a while it can affect very aspect of life such as work and relationships.

If can find a spare 20 minutes in the day to nap, you're body and mind will appreciate this, however people with certain jobs or children, this maybe impossible for you. Another tip is that stress responds very well to exercise, mediation and mindfulness as I expressed in my previous point (8). Stress is completely normal, so sleep is occasionally poor. It is a problem that has lots of solutions, it's just finding the right one for you: swimming, reading before bed, listening to calming music, going to bed earlier or later etc.

10) Nature

Spending time in natural environments can benefit your health and wellbeing.

Nature heals.

Studies have shown that people suffering from mild to major depressive disorders showed significant mood upliftments when exposed to nature. Not only that, but they also felt more motivated and energised to recover and get back to normalcy (Berman, Kross, Kaplan, 2012).

Furthermore, going out for a walk, doing nature trails, outdoor activities, visiting national parks and just in general being outdoors can increase our problem solving and creative abilities as we're having less time on electronic devices. Nature also has a great impact on improving our mental health and wellbeing conditions, including stress.

10 ways that help me to 'de-stress'

1) Gym

Going to the gym is one of my biggest vices to remain sane throughout my busy day. It gives me that sense of routine and I know that I have started my day well going to the gym first thing. I also do shift work, so I go either before or after my shift. (Remember, self-care! Sleep comes before the gym.) Going with other people allows us to spend quality time together doing something we all enjoy and improves my relationship with them. Not only does this work well for us, but I feel better in myself and thus increases my self-confidence and sense of self.

2) Dog Walking

Spending time with my four-legged best friend is one of my favourite things to do. Going out for long walks in the fresh air allows me to have time with my thoughts and allows me to feel free. Knowing my dog is enjoying himself, gives me great pleasure as our pets are dependent on us. Walking through the local woodland trails, gives me a chance to feel the fresh air on my face and wind in the hair. Looking at local wildlife and woodland keeps me in touch with my local surroundings and the community.

"It's okay to take time for yourself. We give so much of ourselves to others and we need to be fuelled both physically and mentally. If we are in balance, it helps us in all our interactions".

3) Listening to Music/Concerts

I listen to different types of music to keep me engaged in different activities. Whether it be; in the gym, walking the dog, driving, cooking or relaxing. Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, as well as improve sleep quality, mood and memory.

Heres a music video of one of my favourite artists Mabel and her song about Anxiety. Please watch.

4) Connecting with Others

Nothing beats spending time with my family and friends. This is where I can truly be myself and feel safe with everyone around me. It gives me a greater appreciation of them and other aspects of my life. It is important to see everyone around me and keep in contact with them. As we all know how busy life can get, remember to make that phone call or go to that meal even though you may not feel like it. As the weeks go by, I realise that it can be months since I have last seen a friend so what I have found helpful is to organise the next meet up whilst your with them, so you always have a date in the diary. Therefore, I can limit my feelings of guilt and feeling like a bad friend! Planning activities and going out for tea is what i enjoy, developing strong relationships, laughing and talking are key for me. If I am struggling with anything, confiding with my friends or family is the best way to relieve stress and improve my mental health. Other ideas could be joining groups such as: walking, film, running, cooking etc. Ultimately, surrounding myself with those who make me feel loved and appreciated and supported, boosts my-self esteem and overall happiness.

5) Chocolate

Where do I begin with this one?! Chocolate!! This is one I have to admit, that it is often my go to when I am stressed or feeling under the weather. First and foremost - Guys! Please be aware of how much you eat and how often. This is something I also struggle with but a little bit of chocolate when i'm feeling down or stressed allows me to feel that my day has ended well and I have that little bit of goodness to look forward too. Furthermore, dark chocolates have been proven to help reduce stress as it is a great antioxidant. This is perfect if your craving something sweet or just want to feel a little less stressed.

6) Retail Therapy

So this is another one of my ways to de-stress that I also have to be careful with. Not only could I get carried away, I could spend and waste a lot of money. Bearing that in mind, I find myself casually walking down the high streets, looking, feeling and admiring clothing products that I see. I like to go shopping with my friends and family, where we can chat, relax and browse at our own pace. Being able to this with someone else allows us to spend time together, develop our connection and catch up about life. Moreover, this is 'me time'. A break from mundane life, a world I can get lost in and enjoy. Sometimes, people may think that to purchase any item is a luxury. However, for some people, it can be more than that. It can be an appreciation for the craftsmanship and design that enlightens the senses.

7) Early Night

The right amount of sleep changes for each individual. For me it is imperative I get at least eight hours. Stress and sleep are closely linked, as if you're stressed you may find it hard to sleep and if you don't sleep you may get stressed about it. I find that reading or listening to soft music before bed helps me get off to a great night's sleep.

8) Having Goals and Things to Look Forward too

I like to have events such as a weekend away, a concert or a nice meal to attend always in the foreseeable future. This is a great incentive for when the long and busy weeks are taking that little bit longer to get through.

9) Saving Little & Often

There is a saying that 'Money is the root of all evil'. Some may agree, some may disagree. However, in order to get by, we all have to earn money and save for the things we really want in life. Having standing orders as soon as you get paid to go into savings or having a piggy bank for that rainy day. Little and often is what works for myself and watching it build and grow is something that makes me proud and know that my hard work is getting somewhere.

10) Laughing

"Laughter is the best medicine!"

Well where do I start with this one? I love having a laugh and messing about with loved ones. A good, heartfelt laugh can relieve physical tension and stress, leaving your muscles relaxed for up to 45 minutes after. Laughter simulates many organs, activates and relieves your stress response and can soothe tension. Laughter over long term can also improve your immune system, relieve pain, improve your mood and increase personal satisfaction.


** If anything that was said in this blog that you feel resinates with you or you would like to discuss further, please get in touch or make an appointment with me.


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Francesca Parry BSc, MA