These days it’s hard to watch the news without feeling as though the whole world is about to end – whether it’s Cold War-style spy plots which wouldn’t be out of place in a John Le Carré novel or the looming threat of World War Three.
Before you start digging up your garden to build a bomb shelter, why not try some of our simple tips to help you stay chilled out when the news is too depressing?
Switch off social media
This is the most obvious and the easiest way to de-stress. Delete all social media apps or switch off your phone, lock it in a box and throw away the key.
Or – and this is much simpler – you can download an app like Offtime which can block your social media apps and games.
Escape from civilisation
If the urge to check Twitter is still just too strong, then it might be worth taking tougher precautions.
Pack up your tent and head off for a spot of camping – preferably somewhere so remote that there’s no mobile signal or any visible sign of civilisation (although a cosy pub would be nice).
In a crisis, most British people reach for the kettle to make a cuppa and research has shown that drinking black tea can help you to relax.
A study by UCL found that people who drank tea four times a day for six weeks had lower levels of cortisol – the stress hormone.
During the Second World War, plans to grow British tea were put in place, as Churchill believed (quite rightly, many of us might agree) that a good cuppa was vital for the country’s morale – he was worried about what would happen if the supply was cut off.
Yes, really. Studies have shown that crafting can help to reduce stress and anxiety and can even reduce chronic pain.
Author and therapeutic knitter Betsan Corkill surveyed over 3,500 people with Cardiff University and discovered that the more time people spent knitting the calmer they felt. 81% said they felt better during and after a knitting session.
Even athletes are getting in on the act these days – the Finnish team at the Winter Olympics earlier this year were spotted knitting on the slopes to steady their nerves.
Take time to meditate
Meditation is one of the most effective ways to reduce your stress levels and it’s something you can do anywhere or at any time. And if you’ve followed steps 1 and 2, then you’re likely to need something to keep you entertained.
You don’t need any special gear, you don’t need to say “ommmmm” (unless you want to) and you don’t have to go anywhere. You can even meditate in bed if the mood takes you.
Regular yoga isn’t for everyone and if you just want to get rid of that excess nervous energy, then ‘rage yoga’ might be the exercise for you.
Canadian yoga teacher Lindsay Istace often runs her classes in a pub in Calgary and participants are encouraged to drink a couple of beers beforehand to help them loosen up. Then they swear and drink their way through the various poses until they feel thoroughly de-stressed.
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