Wellbeing In Times of Stress
It's the season of good will to all. Time off work. Presents. Relaxation and celebration, what could possibly go wrong?
If you're already feeling like you need a holiday to get over the stress you're not alone.
So much so, one study even suggests that the festive season can actually give you a heart attack. Yup, very scary and it's actually true.
For many women, this time of year feels like a whole pile of pressure piled on top of a load of existing stress, work, the kids, the boss and the fact you last glimpsed the sun about 3 months ago.
The ultimate irony is that it's the time of year when we have idyllic snow dusted scenes of family joy paraded in front of our eyes in a never ending Christmas movie show reel, while the reality is sometimes closer to a family disaster movie.
A survey by the American Psychological Association shows that women feel the stress far more so than men, which lets be honest defeats the whole purpose of Christmas.
At any time of high stress, there are coping strategies that will stop you turning into the Wicked Witch of the West and keep you sane.
Sleep is your friend
I'm not necessarily advocating crawling into bed right now with a glass/bottle of wine, though if the kids are really driving you mad, now might be the time to call on the in laws pleading an impending nervous breakdown.
Good quality sleep can make a huge difference to how you feel (and look). Studies have shown it has multiple health benefits, it boosts your immune system, improves wellbeing and can help keep you slim.
As we sleep, growth and repair hormones are released regenerating skin cells, while sleep renews our bodies, reduces stress and anxiety and soothes the mind.
Ditch the tech, switch your phone off and prioritise those ZZZZs. Establish a routine as far as possible, allowing time to wind down before bed. The more regular the time pattern you follow the better.
If you find you can't sleep or you suffer from insomnia don't beat yourself up about it. Enjoy being warm and comfortable and relaxed in bed, and if you want to get up and do something quiet while you have time that is just for you, do it.
Ditch the Guilt
This is not a reason to feel guilty, it's being smart. Take whatever time you can get for yourself whenever you can.
Talking of feeling guilty, just don't. Time for you matters. There will never be enough time, and you're never going to please everyone, so stop trying.
That secret knowledge that comes from spending time just for yourself is powerful, it allows you to recognise you have the means to change and direct your life, to set boundaries and say no.
Aromatherapy & Stress
Your sense of smell can help beat your stress.
Sounds odd I know. But true. And proven.
Studies have shown that aromatherapy oils can have a stimulating and sedative effect on the nervous system and immune system. It is thought that the fragrant essential oils positively impact the part of our brain called the limbic system which helps control our emotions and behaviour.
An aroma activates your olfactory nerves and goes directly into your body, lungs and bloodstream.
Studies have shown that essential oils in particular lavender promote relaxation and help reduce anxiousness and can depress activation of the nervous system response, which usually result in a racing heart or sweaty palms.
This is exactly why we add a generous slug of pure lavender to our natural wax, aromatherapy candle No 5 blend, Peace.
Not a candle person, or not safe with the family around?
My De-Stress Aromatherapy Roller Ball with Juniper & Grapefruit is a portable stress busting tool on the go, hand bag sized and ready to go. A quick stripe over wrists, pulse points, or cupped hands (you choose), a couple of deep breaths and you're good to go.
Wellbeing on tap - bathing
Don't overlook the power of bathing.
Who'd argue with taking a hot bath as the ultimate mood enhancer.
The hot steamy water, essential oils, a flickering candle and you're good to go. No fancy gadgets, no sign up fees, instead instant spa gratification.
I've designed Bath Oils with 3 award winning aromatherapy essential oil blends, the hardest decision is picking which one to use; Soothing, Calming or De-Stress.
And if you have any of those little bottles of essential oils hanging about, 5 drops of lavender oil in your bath is a great all rounder, relaxing, invigorating and indulgent.
Beat stress by eating cake.
OK actually by baking.
A 2015 survey ahead of the Great Comic Relief Bake Off found that baking helps relieve stress levels. Of course it’s your responsibility to eat the cakes after baking them, which to my mind can only help with improving stress levels :)
There's no magic bullet to ditching the stress, especially at busy times of the year, but by carving out time for you and ensuring you do feature in that long to do list, you can give yourself the power to win. Take control, and don't feel guilty.