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Ten Stress Busters

What’s making you stressed?

If you’re stressed, whether by your job or by something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause. Then you can use stress busters to eliminate it.

The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking.

“In life, there’s always a solution to a problem,” says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster. “Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.”

He says the keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network and adopting a positive outlook.



What you can do


These are Professor Cooper’s top 10 stress-busting techniques:


Be active

If you have a stress-related problem, physical activity can get you in the right state of mind to be able to identify the causes of your stress and find a solution. “To deal with stress effectively, you need to feel robust and you need to feel strong mentally. Exercise does that,” says Cooper.

Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and enabling you to deal with your problems more calmly.


Take control

There’s a solution to any problem. “If you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse,” says Professor Cooper. “That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.”

The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else. Read tips about how to manage your time.


Connect with people

A problem shared is a problem halved. A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.

“If you don’t connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help,” says Professor Cooper. The activities we do with friends help us relax and we often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.

“Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Cooper.


Have some ‘me time’

The UK workforce works the longest hours in Europe. The extra hours in the workplace mean that people aren’t spending enough time doing things that they really enjoy. “We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,” says Professor Cooper.

He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work. “By earmarking those two days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime on those days,” he says.


Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps to build confidence. That in turn will help you deal with stress.

“By constantly challenging yourself you’re being proactive and taking charge of your life,” says Professor Cooper. “By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person. It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.”


Avoid unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping. “Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour,” says Professor Cooper. “Women are better at seeking support from their social circle.”

Over the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems. They’ll just create new ones. “It’s like putting your head in the sand,” says Professor Cooper. “It might provide temporary relief but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress.”


Do volunteer work

Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteeringor community work, become more resilient. Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,” says Professor Cooper. “The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.”

On a more basic level, do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone to cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues. Favours cost nothing to do, and you’ll feel better.


Work smarter, not harder

Good time management means quality work rather than quantity. Our long-hours culture is a well-known cause of workplace illness. “You have to get a work-life balance that suits you,” says Professor Cooper.

Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that will make a real difference to your work. “Leave the least important tasks to last,” says Cooper. “Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.”


Be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful. Write down three things at the end of every day which went well or for which you’re grateful.

“People don’t always appreciate what they have,” says Professor Cooper. “Try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty,” he says.

This requires a shift in perspective for those who are more naturally pessimistic.

“It can be done,” he says. “By making a conscious effort you can train yourself to be more positive about life. Problems are often a question of perspective. If you change your perspective, you may see your situation from a more positive point of view.”


Accept the things you can’t change

Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. If this proves to be the case, recognise and accept things as they are and concentrate on everything that you do have control over.

“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper. “There’s no point fighting it. In such a situation, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.” Get some stress busters.

Ten Homemade Face Masks

Skin care is more than just skin deep. Because our skin is so important, visiting the skin care aisle at the local grocery store may seem intimidating due to the variety of products that line the shelves, and much of the time those products’ ingredients are chemical-based and can dry out the skin over time. Fear not, clogged pores and oily, for there are just as many homemade remedies to choose from. These homemade facial masks are all-natural products, giving you the salon style facial without the salon price!

Banana Face Mask

Rich in powerful antioxidants, phytochemicals and moisture, bananas nourish and revitalize dry skin as well as smooth rough aging skin. The lectin and zinc in bananas are also known to fight acne-causing germs.

Directions – Get 1 ripe banana, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon of honey. Mix together all the ingredients and apply to the face, leaving it on for 10 minutes. Rinse off with lukewarm water.

Oatmeal Face Mask

Oatmeal is a humectant, which means that it helps your skin retain moisture.Though oatmeal is known for its rough texture, this makes it very effective as an exfoliant. Exfoliation sloughs away dry, dead skin cells to make way for fresh, healthy ones, giving your skin that fresh, smooth feeling.

Directions- Combine ½ cup of hot water and ⅓ cup of oatmeal, and let sit for 2 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 egg white. Apply to the face, making sure to gently rub into the skin. Let it sit for 15 minutes then rinse with warm water.

Plain Yogurt Face Mask

The zinc and lactic acid contained in yogurt promotes healthy skin. Yogurt, when applied to the skin, can remove dead skin cells, smooth out fine lines, tighten pores, hydrate dry patches, and make your skin glow.

Directions- Mix 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt with fresh juice and pulp from a ¼ slice of an orange, and 1 teaspoon of aloe. Apply to the face and let it sit for no longer than 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water.

Lemon Face Mask

Lemon juice helps remove acne marks and scars, revive dull and dry skin and aid in the removal of dead skin cells, encouraging new skin cell growth. Be wary of how much lemon you use and how often you use this mask, as the acidity of lemon can drive out the skin if used in excess.

Directions- Mix together 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 egg white and 1 teaspoon of lemon juice. Massage into the skin gently and scrub or let rest for 10-15 minutes. Rinse with warm water and moisturize.

•Avocado Face Mask

Rich in fatty acids and Vitamin E, avocados promote overall healthy skin by hydration skin, leaving the skin looking firm, youthful and healthy.

Directions- Scoop out 1 avocado, mash, and mix with 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 tablespoon of honey. Leave on for 10 minutes and rinse off with water.

Orange Face Mask

Natural oils present in oranges can be used to moisturize skin. Freshly squeezed orange juice is packed with zinc and antioxidants while dried orange peel is excellent for gently exfoliating dead skin cells from your face.

Directions- Get 1/2 cup steel-cut oatmeal, juice from 1 whole orange, 3 tablespoons plain yogurt, 2 tablespoons honey, and 2 teaspoons dried orange peel. Mix together and apply to face for 15-20 minutes then rinse with warm water.

Apple Cider Vinegar Face Mask

In its natural form, apple cider vinegar unblocks pores and allows skin to breathe properly.  This makes it very effective in treating acne and pimples. ACV effectively removes excess oil from your skin and helps to balance pH levels in the skin.

Directions- Put 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar into a bowl, add 2 teaspoons of cooled green tea, 5 teaspoons of sugar, and one teaspoon of honey. Mix well, massage into skin and let rest for 10 minutes then rinse off with warm water.

•Honey Face Mask

Honey helps cure acne, scars, wounds, wrinkles and even dry skin. It also protects your skin under the sun and rejuvenates the skin, helping it stay young.

Directions- Mix 3 teaspoons of raw honey and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Apply to the face and let it rest for 10-20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Cucumber Face Mask

Cucumber is known to reduce oiliness and improve overall skin complexion. It also tightens the pores, preventing debris from soaking into the skin and clogging your pores.

Directions- Blend 1 cucumber and add plain yogurt. Apply the mixture to your face and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

Egg Yolk Face Mask

Egg yolk face masks work wonders for people with dry or flaky skin. The nutrients in egg yolks work to hydrate, nourish, and moisturize dull skin, giving it a vibrant glow and while saturating the skin,  giving it a smooth feel.

Directions- Mix 1 egg yolk, ¼ ripe avocado, and 1 teaspoon of yogurt. Apply to the face and let sit for 15 minutes. Rinse off with warm water.

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