Relaxation is key to managing stress
Relaxation: it sounds great, but it’s often forgotten in the hustle and bustle of everyday life. That's a shame, because regular relaxation is good for your health in a whole number of different ways. It improves your memory and resilience, reduces stress, relaxes tense muscles and prevents anxiety and depression. Reason enough to make relaxation part of your daily routine.
Find a balance between relaxation and stress
By relaxing regularly, you can buffer the effects of stress. It will be easier to cope at times when things are not going as well as you’d like. You will then find it easier to deal with the inevitable setbacks that are part and parcel of life. For example, when there are problems at work, you’re missing friends or family or you’re worrying about money. The secret? A good balance between work and free time, family and friends, relaxation, sleep and exercise.
Stress-related health effects
Without proper relaxation, you may sooner or later start experiencing one or more of the stress-related complaints below:
- Poor sleep
- Depression or anxiety
- Neck or back pain
- Short temper
- Stomach complaints
- Overthinking (worrying)
Complaints like these often make it even more difficult to take good care of yourself. Once you’re not feeling well, you won’t want to cook and may start eating unhealthy (fast) food. You may not feel like meeting friends either, which can be isolating. You may turn to cigarettes, alcohol and/or drugs to distract you, to overcome your tiredness or help you sleep. These behaviours can only make things worse in the long run.
Take time to relax
So, set aside time to relax on a daily or weekly basis, in good times and bad. It doesn’t always have to be a long break. Relaxing can be as simple as stretching your legs or breathing deeply at work. On top of that, carve out some more time for self-care a few times a week. To drink coffee with a friend or for sports. Such activities can offer variation as well as entertainment, and take your mind of your worries as well.
Below you’ll find some examples of things you can do do when you need a breather. Pick out a few and enjoy. It’ll do you good:
- Exercise half an hour every day. Simply go for a walk or bike ride. It doesn’t have to be more than that. You could also join a sports team or a gym.
- Eat healthily.
- Meet up with people. We all need human contact to feel good. Cook a meal together, for example. If you have (small) children, go to a park or playground with other parents. Or join a church or mosque.
- Find yourself worrying a lot? Talk about your worries with someone you trust. It’s a great way to get your worries off your chest. You’re likely to feel relieved and less alone.
- Get up and go to bed at the same time every day. The routine will help you sleep better. Try not to sleep during the day, even if you are tired. People who sleep a lot during the day usually have more difficulty sleeping at night.
- Try to avoid drugs, (excessive amounts of) alcohol and/or cigarettes. They won’t solve anything and they're expensive too.
Help with stress and problems
Have you been suffering from stress for more than a month? Have you tried the activities above but nothing is helping? Or are your stress-related complaints getting worse? Are you afraid that you won’t be able to work anymore? Your general practitioner (GP) is the person to approach at times like this. He/she will listen, advise and possibly recommend places you can turn to for help in your area. Everything you discuss with your GP will remain confidential. He/she is not permitted to pass on anything to other care providers without your consent. GP care is free of charge under your HollandZorg basic insurance plan.
Brochure about stress in multiple languages
Short film about coping with stress in easy-to-follow Dutch