If January took its toll on your stress level, you're not alone. One in five women currently claim their levels of anxiety are out of control, which suggests many of us are on the path to adrenal burn-out. And that's not good news for your health, especially your blood pressure.
But is it any wonder so many British women are feeling frazzled? Take the average day, for instance: you might have to tackle rush hour traffic - twice - as well as do a full day's work, get the shopping in, pay bills and when you get home there's the hoovering to do too. And if you're in a relationship, don't forget all those worries that accompany having or living with a partner.
The trouble with de-stressing is it can take time - which is something most stressed women don't have. So we've come up with some advice to help you find your inner tranquility including some techniques you can do in less than a minute as well as longer-term strategies...
Have a biscuit No, we don't mean a whole packet of Chocolate HobNobs, just a little treat that can temporarily make you feel calm (all those little moments add up, after all). Eating your favourite foods may help your brain release endorphins, which give you that wellbeing rush. Just don't have too many.
Apply pressure Pinching an acupuncture pressure point traditional Chinese medicine practitioners call the hoku spot can help you feel less stressed almost instantly. Give it a try: the spot is in that web of flesh between your index finger and thumb. Just pinch with your other hand for 30 seconds, then switch hands.
Take a sniff There's nothing like soothing smells to give you an instant burst of bliss. Even if you don't have time for a massage, a quick blast of an aromatherapy oil will do the trick - at least for enough time for you to feel calmer. Soothing oils include lavender, ylang-ylang, bergamot, jasmine, chamomile, marjoram and rose.
Stretch it out If all that tension has gone to your shoulders - which, if you work hunched over a computer all day, wouldn't be surprising - a quick yoga stretch will help. Sit or stand up straight, raise one arm above your head and bend your elbow, so your hand reaches down behind your head and neck. With the other arm hanging down naturally, bend the elbow so that the hand is reaching upwards. Then try to get your fingers to touch (or if you're quite flexible, you could clasp your hands together). Enjoy the stretch through your shoulders, then switch arms.
Have a snooze If you've got half an hour to spare, a cat nap of between 15 and 30 minutes is enough to lower your blood pressure, making you feel more relaxed.
Pump up the volume It's a well-known idea that listening to music can help you chill out. Well, certain kinds of music, that is. But turning the volume up could help drown out the chatter in your head. Just don't turn it up too loud or you could damage your hearing.
Get moving You may have heard it before, but exercise really does help you de-stress, as it boosts your production of endorphins and lowers your blood pressure (both of which help you feel calmer). Just half an hour's activity will help.
Go green Not in the obvious way but by painting your main room a calming colour. Therapists who work with colour suggest green soothes the emotions, while turquoise calms tension.
If you try any of the above techniques, let us know if they worked for you. And if you have other tips for quick relaxation techniques, do let us know.
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