How to de-stress this Stress Awareness Month

Category: News

April marks UK Stress Awareness Month and with the cost of living rising and the uncertainty caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, you may be feeling more stressed than usual.

While some physical responses to stress, like the release of adrenaline when the body’s “fight or flight” response kicks in, are positive, while others can be detrimental to our health.

Stress can lead to poor decision-making, feelings of anxiety and irritability, and emotional burnout.

Here are five ways to de-stress and some apps that might help.

1. Get enough rest with these sleep apps

The NHS confirms that there are both short- and long-term effects of insufficient sleep, ranging from irritability to a greater risk of heart disease and a decreased life expectancy.

Last year, we looked at why preparing your body for the perfect night’s sleep starts the moment you wake up and recommended the use of technology to help. Any number of apps can help combat insufficient or bad quality sleep and potentially reduce stress.

Start by trying these:

Sleep Cycle

This free app analyses your sleep patterns and wakes you up at the optimum time so that you begin the day feeling rested.


As well as being great for mindfulness (more on which later), Calm has a bank of aids to restful sleep. These include bedtime stories, calming music, and soundscapes designed to help you drift off.

2. Get enough fresh air and exercise

Couch to 5k

The NHS recommends the Couch to 5k app as a great way to:

  • Improve your heart and lung health
  • Help you lose weight
  • Potentially increase bone density and protect against diseases like osteoporosis
  • Improve mental health through boosting your confidence and self-belief
  • Relieve stress and even combat depression.

As well as the above, you’ll also have the benefit of fresh air and – dependent on where you live or where you travel to run – being out in nature too.

The app allows you to start slow, building up the distance you can run through three runs a week with rest days in between.

By week eight, you’ll be running 5k and all set to take on a ParkRun or set yourself a new fitness and stress-relieving challenge.

3. Use healthy eating apps to improve your diet

NHS Weight Loss Plan

Research suggests that a healthy and balanced diet can boost your wellbeing and reduce stress. The right balance of fats, vitamins, proteins, and minerals can help to regulate your mood. They also keep your brain working well, meaning you can think more clearly, feel more alert, and increase your attention span.

If you struggle to maintain healthy eating routines, consider the NHS’s Weight Loss Plan. The free app is designed to help you:

  • Set weight-loss goals
  • Plan your meals
  • Make healthier food choices.

You can also use the app’s in-built BMI calculator to customise your 12-week plan and record your progress.

4. Apps are a great way to introduce mindfulness into your routines

Insight Timer

For a free app to ease you into meditation and the art of de-stressing, you can’t go far wrong with Insight Timer.

A great app for helping with sleep, anxiety, and stress with more than 100,000 guided meditations, the app offers live sessions from meditation experts from Britain and the rest of the world.


As well as helping you to get a good night’s sleep, Calm also offers guided meditations and breathing exercises. You’ll also find classes to help improve confidence, fit mindfulness into your working day, and de-stress.

An annual subscription to Calm currently costs £28.99.


Another market leader, Headspace is particularly good for beginners and those looking to fit mindfulness into their busy lives.

For £9.99 a month or £49.99 for the year you’ll be able to access a huge bank of 10-minute meditation sessions to help you de-stress on the run.

5. Use productivity apps to set realistic goals

Goal-setting is great for ticking items off a mental checklist and feeling the positivity that comes from a task completed. Setting unrealistic goals, however, can lead to disappointment and stress.

If you find you’re not accomplishing your goals for any reason, start by re-examining those goals. Are they realistic and achievable?

If not, consider using these apps to help and then read five of the latest and best apps to help you organise your day for further inspiration.


RescueTime sits on your computer or laptop’s taskbar, tracking the time you spend on different tasks and then offering nudges when you get distracted.

You can also use the app’s “Focus Session” feature to block particularly distracting apps and functions, allowing you to focus without interruptions from social media or email.

The app has more than 2 million users worldwide.


Evernote is the electronic version of the post-it notes stuck to your monitor or the pad and paper on your desk.

Keep track of your thoughts by jotting down memos, copying and pasting shopping list items, or cropping direct from the web. The app will then help to organise your thoughts in a way that makes sense for you, helping you to declutter your brain, and hopefully, to relieve stress.