Ultimate Hell Week winner and former Irish and Munster rugby international Peter Stringer.

Ultimate Hell Week winner Peter Stringer gives his top tips for the winter months ahead

As society returns to normal and we will all be getting busier, it’s important to make sure we keep everyday stress levels in check and take care of our health and wellbeing.

Former professional rugby player Peter Stringer offers his advice on how to combat stress and navigate this period.

Stringer says, “We’ve all been through a difficult few months with various lockdowns but we need to take care of our health ahead of the busy months ahead too as society returns to normal.

"I’ve had to deal with everyday stress in many forms both on and off the pitch over the years and I know that it can have a negative effect on your mental and physical health. There’s a few things that I try to do regularly that helps me keep everyday stress at bay.”

Take things slowly

We’re all excited to get back out into the real world but you don’t need to say yes to every invitation.

Sometimes it’s okay to skip that dinner or night out and just relax in front of the TV. We all got used to a different pace of life during lockdown so switching to a jam-packed schedule might be a difficult adjustment for some.

It’s also important to note that if you feel things really are getting on top of you, you should contact your GP.

Exercise regularly

Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to reduce stress. I enjoy getting up early and getting a workout in before the rest of my day kicks off. It means you can go about your day feeling energised and you won’t be tempted to skip exercising if you feel tired in the evening. Try to get the whole family involved at the weekend too. When the weather is good, get outdoors and head for a walk or go for a swim. Spending time in nature is a great way to relieve stress.

Eat a balanced diet

Most people tend to overindulge during the summer months but for me it’s all about balance. Enjoy the barbecue and the few slices of cake occasionally but make sure to even it all out with some healthier options too. During the summer months, it’s easier to add more fruit and vegetables to the menu so try some lighter dishes and make sure to drink plenty of water too.

However you don’t have to stop this once the summer is over. Keep up the good work you may have started over the summer by adding more fruit and veg to your diet.

Take vitamins and supplements

Vitamins and supplements play an important role in keeping my body healthy. They help give me that much needed energy boost and keep me balanced. I take a natural supplement called Zenflore. It’s been shown in studies to help decrease stress and anxiety and I find it really helps keep me level, especially when life is quite hectic. Studies have also shown that one of the benefits of having good gut health is it can have positive effects on the brain.

Get enough sleep

This might sound like an obvious tip but we’re all guilty of burning the candle at both ends, especially during the summer. I always try to get a minimum of seven hours sleep each night, if I can. It makes all the difference in how I feel the next day. When I don’t have enough sleep, I find dealing with stressful situations all the more difficult. I know seven hours of sleep might not be possible for everyone but try to stick to a regular sleep schedule. Wake up and go to bed at the same time each day, even on the weekends. Having a regular sleep cycle helps keep stress levels at bay.