Health coach and yoga instructor Kirsten Scott shares her top tips for helping to manage stress.
Stress occurs when you perceive that demands placed on you — such as work, school or relationships — exceed your ability to cope. Some stress can be beneficial, producing a boost that provides the drive and energy to help people get through difficult situations. However, an extreme amount of stress can have health consequences that affect the immune, cardiovascular, neuro-endocrine and central nervous systems, as well as taking a severe emotional toll.
Untreated, chronic stress can result in serious health conditions including anxiety, insomnia, muscle pain, high blood pressure and a weakened immune system. Research shows that stress can contribute to the development of major illnesses, such as heart disease, depression and obesity.
However, by finding positive, healthy ways to manage stress as it occurs, many of these negative health consequences can be reduced.
Here are five healthy techniques that have shown to help reduce stress in the short and long term.
Take a break from the stressor
It may seem difficult to get away from a big work project, a crying baby or a growing credit card bill. But when you give yourself permission to step away from it, you let yourself have time to do something else, which can help you have a new perspective or practice techniques to feel less overwhelmed. It’s important to not avoid your stress (those bills have to be paid sometime), but even just 20-minutes to take care of yourself is helpful.
Exercise benefits your mind just as well as your body. We keep hearing about the long term benefits of a regular exercise routine. But even a 20 minute walk, run, swim or dance session in the midst of a stressful time can give an immediate effect that can last for several hours.
Smile and laugh
Our brains are interconnected with our emotions and facial expressions. When people are stressed, they often hold a lot of the stress in their face. So laughs or smiles can help relieve some of that tension and improve the situation.
Get social support
Call a friend, send an email. When you share your concerns or feelings with another person, it does help relieve stress. But it’s important that the person whom you talk to is someone whom you trust and whom you feel can understand and validate you.
Meditation and mindfulness help the mind and body to relax and focus. Mindfulness can help people see new perspectives, develop self-compassion and forgiveness. When practicing a form of mindfulness, people can release emotions that may have been causing the body physical stress.
In these trying times, while we focus on looking after others, it is critical not to forget to look after ourselves!
Try some yoga with Kirsten below.
This article was written in partnership with FitFinder, the first marketplace for all health and fitness instructors.
Kirsten Scott is a Bondi-based holistic health coach, certified yoga and meditation teacher, and Lululemon ambassador with a passion for all things wellness. She is a former professional dancer having represented South Africa at 6 World Championships.
If you would like to learn more about how to take care of your body, or organise a full session with Kirsten, simply go to:
For your first session, use the code Nurse50 to receive $50 off your first session to give it a try!