Woman doing yoga in her home

WAY members share tips for Stress Awareness Month

As part of Stress Awareness Month our Full Circle partners at the peer support charity WAY Widowed and Young have some advice from their members about how they manage their stress:

The biggest challenge is that you lose your biggest support when you lose your spouse so having some WAY (or other) chums you can vent to when you need to is one of my ways to manage stress. I also focus on nature and walking to help me decompress when I need to.

Caro, WAY Member

Getting outside every day and going for a walk. Even if it’s raining and cold, I do it. I notice a huge difference when I don’t get out.

Theresa, WAY Member

Exercise – going to the gym has certainly provided a safe space where I can concentrate on getting stronger. And making it part of a routine means I don’t even have to think about it.

Caroline, WAY Member

Definitely getting out into the fresh air – whether that’s sitting at a beautiful spot watching nature with a cuppa in hand or walking (I’m no runner!). I always feel better having been outside.

Becky, WAY Member

Useful Apps

I use Audible [which has audiobooks and podcasts and other forms of spoken word content], which helps me a lot.

Sarah, WAY Member

I use the Headspace app. I’ve found the sleepcasts great for helping me to get a good night’s sleep and their quick calming sessions good for sudden, unexpected pangs of anxiety.

Claire, WAY Member

Meditation apps such as Headspace or Calm I’ve found to be really helpful.  The sleep stories help quieten the mind ready for sleep, Calm have some great emergency meditation / breathing exercises. Meditation is a work in progress. I have a busy mind and quieting the ‘noise’ is challenging but that’s OK.

Laura, WAY Member

Audiobooks are fab! So is gardening and going for walks/talks with friends. Also, remembering to keep it simple. And be gentle.

Sheila, WAY Member

Playing music you can sing along to, depending on mood can be a tear jerker or something that gets you dancing and laughing.

Charlie, WAY Member

Practising Self Care

My little girls’ school is very good at teaching the kids about “brain brakes” – ie early introduction to meditation (she’s only 4). Meditation works very well for me but if extremely hard to factor in when solo parenting a tiny child. We have started trying to do some of these at home together; eg. Watching the glitter fall when you upturn a bottle of coloured water, or playing a note on the piano/keyboard and listening quietly until we can’t hear it anymore. Not the easiest thing to remember to do when firefighting all the time but I’m enjoying learning / re-learning simple and cost-free techniques like this for acts of self care.

Orlanda, WAY Member

I have so many! But my main ones are, yoga can prep the body by releasing tightness and tension – a few slow mindful stretches will help. Guided meditation helps fantastically. Walking during the day – in nature, if possible. Journaling to empty the thoughts that are worrying you – about an hour before you intend to sleep so they don’t stay on your mind.

Orla, WAY Member

Early on I struggled to fall sleep as my brain was constantly racing and causing me anxiety. I found that reading in bed before sleep (usually some sort of pulp novel) really helped calm my mind. It redirected my thoughts away from death/grief/loss.

Anna, WAY Member

I have learned to really listen to my inner self because my body knows what it needs. If I’m compelled to spend a day lounging on the sofa, it’s not because I’m being lazy or indulgent. Usually, it’s a sign of feeling overwhelmed, or needing to preserve energy for an upcoming event/anniversary etc. Recognising this has made a huge difference to my stress levels. I don’t keep on pushing through anymore. If I need some down time, I take it – even if the whole house is a tip!

Nikki, WAY Member

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About WAY

The WAY Widowed and Young community offers a safe space to talk to other people (both with and without children) who understand how it feels to be widowed at a young age.

Find out how WAY can support you at www.widowedandyoung.org.uk

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