Health and wellbeing blogs

Simple tips to beat stress

After a tough day at the office or at home it can be tempting to find comfort in an unhealthy habit, whether it is drinking, smoking or using an illicit drug. But there are better ways to reduce your stress.

“These unhealthy habits, which can become addictions for some, can make you feel like you are escaping your stress or problems when really all you are doing is deferring or avoiding them,” says drug and alcohol nurse Matthew Ireland.

“In reality, these habits can be doing more harm than good.”

Activities such as going for a walk, watching a movie or mindfulness activities can be much more effective.

“Doing something you enjoy and taking time for yourself helps ease stress levels considerably and by avoiding substances like alcohol or other drugs, you aren’t putting extra stress on your body which could be causing you harm,” Matthew said.

St John of God Health Care stress

How to reduce stress

Matthew’s favourite ways to relieve stress and help deal with difficult days include:

  • relaxing using activities like meditation
  • distracting yourself from your problems by taking a walk or, even better, a mini vacation
  • take time to be mindful – cooking is a great mindfulness activity
  • talk to yourself in a positive manner and challenge your negative thoughts
  • do something you love such as going for a ride, yoga or watching your favourite movie.

“It’s also important to know who you can call when you are having a difficult time, whether that is family, friends or, when you are really struggling, a support crisis helpline,” Matthew said.

“Don’t think you are alone when you have a cloudy day but keep practising some of these ideas to help get you through.”

Matthew Ireland Clinical Nurse Consultant

About the Author

Matthew Ireland is a clinical nurse consultant with ten years’ experience in mental health and addiction treatment.