Release the tension! Tips to relieving that headache, knotted back or throbbing shoulder

Whether it’s work stress, money worries or a pandemic lockdown, tension can be painful and debilitating. You might be keeping it together and outwardly calm, but a roiling mass of nerves inside. Never mind headaches, you’re working towards an ulcer if you don’t do something about your tension.

Here are some things you can do to mitigate your condition.

Don’t bottle it up

When your head throbs and mind-loops keep you awake at night, it’s time to open up to someone. Often just saying your worries out loud is enough to relieve the tension.

Temporarily escape

You might need some temporary relief, but don’t reach for the whisky bottle! Try reading a good book or watching a movie. Binge-watch a comedy series and have a good laugh – those worries won’t go away, but you’ll feel better.

Set aside a regular time every day to meditate or practice mindfulness. If you haven’t done it before, learn how

Work it off

Physical activity, as strenuous as possible, is a great way to let off steam. Chop some wood, dig a ditch, mow the lawn with a push-mower, go for a run – do what you can to sweat that anger out.

Nothing is perfect – stop aiming for it

You might think that keeping a tight rein on things so everything is perfect will relieve your tension, but the opposite is true. Everything doesn’t need to be exactly like you had in your mind, so let go a little.

And if you’re a perfectionist, you may demand as much from other people as you do from yourself. First, forgive yourself for not being perfect. Then lighten up on other people too, and the general tension will ease.

Forget multi-tasking

Women aren’t better at multi-tasking than men, so you don’t need to compete. If work is demanding, or home looks too much like chaos, don’t try to multi-task – you’ll only do several jobs badly instead of one job well. Concentrate on one thing at a time and you’ll do a lot better, with less tension.

Take time out

These days, we live in a world of instant communication. Are your activities demanding attention 24/7? Turn off your phone, avoid checking emails, and go outside to smell the flowers and listen to the birds.

Take a walk, play soothing music or shut yourself away with a good book. Let the world carry on without you for a while.

Be kind to yourself

Tension strikes everyone occasionally, but if yours is giving you pain, do something about it. Talk to someone, do one job at a time, take time out, and don’t try to be perfect. Learn to meditate and you’ll sleep better, suffer less and be happier.