By Fiona Maguire

10 top tips to reduce stress

Living in such a beautiful place as the Algarve makes it very easy to get outside to walk, move and enjoy the best that nature has to offer.  Being outside, observing nature and breathing in fresh air are very important things to do to stay mentally heathy.  Doing these things also help to alleviate the symptoms of mental health issues.

Fear, stress and anxiety can build up and cause someone to suffer from a mental health issue. Change, a loss of security and not knowing what is going to happen causes fear, stress and anxiety. So it is not a surprise that mental health issues have increased since the pandemic.

The best thing you can do to keep yourself mentally healthy is to reduce stress in your life.  

Here are ten top tips to reduce stress:

MOVE YOUR BODY REGULARLY

Do not spend more than 30 minutes doing the same thing, get up and move differently, even if for only 30 seconds then continue what you were doing. The bigger the movements the better.

GO FOR A WALK EVERY DAY

Even if it is only for ten minutes and you build up to the Department of Health recommendations of 25 minutes of brisk walking a day. I would also recommend walking for 45 minutes two or three times per week.

DO SOMETHING NEW

That you have never done before. This can be anything from going to a new place to trying a different sport.

GET OUT IN NATURE EVERY DAY

You are surrounded by nature in the Algarve. Go to the woods or the ocean at least once a week.

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT / CHANGE YOUR ROUTINE

An old saying is ‘a change is as good as a rest’. You will be surprised at how freeing and stimulating even small changes can be.

EAT LESS SUGAR

Eating sugar increase the sugar level in your blood which can stimulate the stress hormone cortisol and causes anxiety, irritation and sudden mood changes.  Sugar also creates inflammation which is a major factor and or cause of most illnesses.

EAT LESS PROCESSED FOOD

When food is processed much of the foods natural vitamins and minerals are lost in the process.  Processed food often contains added sugar and fat.

DRINK LESS COFFEE AND CAFFEIN

This includes tea, Coke and energy drinks.  Caffeine causes heart permutations, anxiety, irritability, mood changes  and adds to stress levels.  It can also cause you to be ungrounded, confused and stressed.

GO TO THE TOP OF A HILL THAT HAS A VAST VIEW

This will help you gain a different perspective and clear your mind.

CHALLENGE YOURSELF

This can be doing something different, as this can be a challenge.  For other people this may be writing a book or running 5km.

Some of the tips are about what you eat, as the old saying “You are what you eat” is so true when it comes to building up the right chemistry in your body to create stress and anxiety.  I know that sweet things and coffee is so much part of the Portuguese culture.  Therefore, you may be so use to eating sugar and drinking coffee that you might even believe that this relaxes you.  I ask you to cut down or even stop for 3 to 7 days and see what differences you notice.

If you do any one of these tips regularly you will reduce your stress. If you do all of them at least once per week you may not get stressed.

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