Shorter days, cold temperatures and the hectic festive season can sometimes feel overwhelming, stressful and less than cheery! Located in Ampthill, akarmalife studios’ resident Counsellor, Julie Anne Game, shares her top 5 tips to stay on top of the season.
1. Make some ‘Me-Time’
We find ourselves saying, ‘I would love to do that…. but I just don’t have time’. The key to lowering your stress levels, is to make time. And that might mean saying no and prioritising your commitments. Taking time out to do something you enjoy can lead to a greater sense of wellbeing. If you feel good, you spend less time resenting the feeling of ‘you don’t have time’ and spend more time enjoying the moment! Increased wellbeing can improve our productivity too, making the ‘me-time’ more achievable.
2. Mindfulness and Meditation
Have you tried mindfulness meditation? I could never imagine myself meditating… until I tried it. I found that just practising for 10 minutes a day significantly improved my mood, stress levels and ability to live in the moment. With a lot of backing research, mindfulness and meditation are now even recognised by the NHS as being an effective way of improving your mental wellbeing.
3. Walking in the woods
The benefits of walking in the woods are worth braving the cold. Research found that being out in the woods has a powerful effect on our wellbeing. It is particularly beneficial for reducing stress as it lowers the stress hormone, cortisol. The Japanese practice of ‘forest-bathing’, spending time in the forest being mindful of your surroundings, is gaining popularity in the UK. And it’s an activity you can enjoy with the kids, friends or your canine companion. Ampthill has several woods close by that I regularly visit for my dose of serenity when life gets hectic.
4. The power of touch
We humans are a social bunch, dependant on each other for survival. It’s no wonder than that we’ve developed to respond positively to the physical touch of people we are close to. Hugging a friend or family member releases oxytocin, the ‘feel-good’ hormone that lowers heart rate and cortisol. It’s also the hormone that bonds a new baby and mother. And you can benefit from this by having a massage too, which is shown in research to increase oxytocin and lower stress levels.
I am a massive advocate for counselling and the impact it can have on reducing stress. Counselling helps identify the main triggers for stress and helps you find a way of re-balancing your life, in a way that brings fulfilment, instead of feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Instead of reverting to potentially harmful coping mechanisms like excessive alcohol consumption or over-eating, counselling helps identify positive coping mechanisms that fit with your life.
Julie offers one on one counselling at akarmalife studios in Ampthill. To find out more about how counselling could work for you visit www.julieannegamecounselling.com