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Our simple six tips for relieving stress

The last eight days has been very stressful for a lot of us around New Zealand, some more than others. Firstly the 7.5 earthquake and constant aftershocks that have shaken the country and people, and then high school students sitting the most important exams of their schooling career, all in the same week! Stressful stuff right.

But it’s important to realise that it’s how we deal with the stress and feelings of nervousness we get that matters, not only to ourselves but to those around us. Here are six simple tips for destressing from our Real team:

•    Over your emotions and stress? Say “suck a lemon!” to them by literally sucking a lemon. The sour sensation acts as a distraction from your worrying thoughts, don’t believe me? Try it out!

•    Take a cold shower. Jumping into a cold shower makes you more alert, relieves stress and produces endorphins, the body’s natural pain killer (all after the initial “holy moly its cold!” feeling of course). So go on, twist the handle to blue and jump on in.

•    Avoid caffeine. Avoid or at least reduce your consumption of drinks containing caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant and so will increase your level of stress rather than reduce it. So put down the V, put the Red Bull away and swap it for water, herbal teas, or diluted natural fruit juices and aim to keep yourself hydrated as this will enable your body to cope better with stress.

•    Get to bed on time. We’ve all been there where you want to watch that next episode of Game of Thrones or play just one more round on Call of Duty. However, lack of sleep is a significant cause of stress. The trick is to maximise your relaxation before going to sleep. Make sure that your bedroom is a tranquil oasis with no reminders of the things that cause you stress and that you get at least eight hours of sleep each night.

•    Talk to a mate. That’s what they’re there for right? Just talking to someone about how you feel can be helpful. It works by either distracting you from your stressful thoughts or releasing some of the built-up tension by discussing it. Stress can cloud your judgement and prevent you from seeing things clearly. Talking things through with a friend can put your problems into perspective.

•    Chuck on some active wear and get outside. How about some touch rugby, a bit of backyard cricket or even a game of indoor netball, any physical exercise is the best way to metabolize your hormones and restore your body and mind to a calmer, more relaxed state. Try to incorporate some physical activity into your daily routine, either before, in-between or after work or school, it’s good to go outside and get a breeze of that fresh kiwi air. Regular physical activity will also improve the quality of your sleep.

Remember, everyone is different so it may take a couple of tries at different tips for you to feel destressed or relaxed, you may even find a variation on one of the above so figure out what works for you and go for it!