Help beat stress in 2020

Ginette White provides a range of treatments for stress at her base in Leyton
Ginette White provides a range of treatments for stress at her base in Leyton

Ginette White, founder of Waltham Forest Reflexology, offers her tips for beating stress

Stress has a considerable emotional and mental impact on our lives that can affect our relationships with our colleagues, family and friends.

The most recent Mental Health Foundation UK survey showed that 75% of people had felt so stressed that they had been overwhelmed or unable to cope, while the NHS reports that stress causes difficulty concentrating and making decisions, feelings of being overwhelmed, constant worrying and forgetfulness.

This is a trend that I am seeing with many of my clients in my work as a clinical reflexologist, having given up a career as luxury hotel inspector in 2019 to follow my passion in helping manage stress and people’s quality of sleep.

A little bit of stress now and then is not bad. It gets the adrenaline flowing, which can help us to meet our goals, but in this modern world we are staying in stress mode for too long, which damages our physical and our mental health.

We would not ignore physical health symptoms that impact our daily lives, so let’s make 2020 the year we target our mental health symptoms too. Here are some of my tips for managing stress in this new decade.

Confronting the cause of stress is key. If you have ongoing stress, it is unlikely to just go away. Taking that first big step to confront the cause leads to the smaller, easier steps that go towards solving the issue, including getting outside help.

Physical therapies and exercise such as reflexology, aromatherapy, massage, yoga and Tai Chi can help provide deep relaxation, slowing the heartbeat and reducing blood pressure; both symptoms of stress.

Set realistic expectations, rather than putting unrealistic demands on yourself. An estimated 80% of new year resolutions fail, so in 2020 go with SMART goals instead; specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed.

Getting closer to nature has also been shown by mental health charity, Mind, to help with anxiety, which can both be a cause and result of stress. Spending time outside is a great way to meditate, which further reduces stress.

Talking to people who care is important, as it helps them to understand you. The NHS offers a free ‘talking therapy’ service in Waltham Forest where you can also talk to professionals – more information is available at wftalkingtherapies.co.uk.