Wednesday, 2 November 2011

National Stress Awareness Day! 5 top tips.

Today is national Stress Awareness Day.  Let's face it, we all suffer from a bit of stress now and again, whether it's being held up on the way to work, going through a job interview, trying to budget food for the month, going through a break-up,  or one of life's many other stresses.

De stress!

In honour of today I thought I would share 5 tips I use to combat stress and help me relax;
  • Take a deep breath.  No, I mean a really deep one through your nose.  The kind that fills your lungs from the very bottom.  (If you do yoga then this will be usual territory).  Once your lungs are full, hold you breath for a slow count of 5 (or longer).  Now slowly exhale through your mouth, controlling the flow of air.  Feel the tension melt away?  You will feel revived through the oxygen and ready to face the world.
  • I try to make a daily agenda of the things I need to do.  I add tasks as they crop up.  I cross off tasks when completed, and carry over tasks to the next day.  Crossing items off feels so rewarding so I always make sure there are some silly tasks like 'put clean socks away', 'get out of bed in the morning'!  Also having an agenda means I am less likely to wake up at 2am suddenly remembering an important task I need to do that I might otherwise forget.  Just don't loose your agenda!
I'm sure my agenda is somewhere in this lot.. :/
  •  Keep things in routine places.  This way if you are very tired and running on auto-pilot, you should still end up putting things in their place.  Especially useful for keys, which can cause a lot of stress when the key-pixie's remove them!  Also important for documents such as passports, driver's licenses etc.  No-one wants to loose them!
Sometimes life can be an indoor rock-climbing wall (photographed on it's side).
  • Get exercising!  Make sure you get some weekly exercise.  Yoga is good for stressing and shutting out the world, but similarly a good cardio session will increase blood flow leading to more oxygen and nutrient distribution around the body.  The sweat also helps clean out pores!  You will have more energy to tackle life.

  • It's amazing how bad sleep can really affect our ability to cope with things rationally.  You can be unconscious, but still sleeping badly so don't think that bad sleep always means being awake.  For a good sleep, do not use computers and televisions 30 mins before bed.  The light tricks your brain into thinking it is daytime and therefore not time to sleep.  A drop of lavender oil under your pillow case can really help lull you into sleep.  Stretch gently before bed and try to leave the window open a smidgeon over night.  If you have time then a lovely bath will relax yout muscles, detoxify the body and leave you cool enough to sleep.

Some of my favorite stress-busting products.

For a relaxing...
Pomegranate and Strawberries
EAT! Pomegranate and Strawberries help detoxify the body.  They also help the body produce serotonin which helps you feel happier and relaxed.  Try avoiding refined sugars (white sugar, flour, milk chocolate) and instead head for dark chocolate, nuts (help keep cortisol levels low), honey, sorbet, blueberries, fish for omega oils (helps brain function!) for starters.  A personal hug-in-a-mug is a nice mug of hot chocolate.  Also to settle a stressed anxious tum, try peppermint tea.

SLEEP! Try a drop of Boot's Bontanic's Lavender Oil under your pillow case.  Currently on 3 for 2!  I love the 'Sleep Cycle' itunes app for iphone.  Instead of a nasty alarm clock, this application monitors your sleep cycles and wakes you up (with nice sounds) when you are least likely to be groggy.  It also allows you to view your sleep pattern and see how much 'deep' sleep you are getting.

I love a nice spiced mulled wine candle in winter!

HOUSE! Try a nice scented candle to make the room smell like a spa.  Next on my list is Daniel Sandler's JW collaboration candle In Love.  These candles are for upper budgets £30, but are quite big and last ages.  For a similar sized candle but for £10 I normally head to The Body Shop- 35 hours burn time makes these candles less than 30p per hour.  The Vanilla and Tonka Bean one makes the bathroom smell yummy although I will probably be picking up the Cranberry Joy Christmas one as I love the smell of spiced mulled fruit in the winter!

Lavender Lush! French Kiss!


BATH! There needs to be bubbles, oils and nourishing detoxifying skin.  A glass of wine and a good book is optional, but a nice bonus!  Try not to do paper work in the bath, as you need to switch off.  I love Lush bubble bars (in particular the comforter (1/5 of the bar normally does a good bath!) or the lavender scented French Kiss.  (I have just picked up the gingerbread house scented christmas bubble bar so I will let you know how I get on with that- but it smells and looks amazing!

For a nourishing, sensual bath then I turn to my Aromatherapy Associates products.  They contain essential oils which soak straight into my skin, and leave it feeling soft for days.  I particularly love their Revive range.  The smell is fantastic and it never fails to transport me mentally to a spa retreat setting.  As a treat I use Revive Body Gel afterwards to combat cellulite, lock in moisture and leave me drifting off to bed in a relaxed state.  Seeing as it is Stress Awareness Day I might have a look at their De-Stress range.


SPA!  My ultimate relaxing treatment has to be a massage- or specifically a Hot Stone Massage.  Yes it sounds weird, but heated stones are placed in strategic points on your body, and then used to penetrate tense muscles.  The heat acts to relax the tissues, and the smooth surfaces help remove knots.  I can't recommend this luxury enough.  If you do not have the time for that treatment (ranges from 45 minutes-90) then a good old back massage can do wonders.  Make sure you have a chat with your therapist and let them tailor the treatment for you (computer users- neck, shoulders, lower back!)

What are your best ways of de-stressing?  Can you recommend any relaxing treatments, foods, tips?  Do scents remind you of places e.g. a beauty spa?


**Just a tip off in case anyone is free this afternoon, but you can get a complimentary 15 minute stress busting massage at the Aromatherapy Associates flagship store in Montpelier Street London.  I would nip in, but I am busy.  However just thinking about it is making me relaxed (and slightly stressed that I can;t go now!)

All products mentioned products I have bought with my own money.

8 comments:

  1. Love all of these suggestions...definitely agree that exercise and a clean, good smelling home is key!

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  2. Great post, I think I have strawberries and pomegranate in my fridge right now, that's today's dessert for sure!

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  3. Great post hun! I do loooove a bit o' de-stressing :) try to do so as often as I can. Took the mumma for a spa day not too long ago that did wonders! And I do like to have a massage atleast once a month, sort of like a treat to myself! ;) lol! I really wanna try some Aromatherapy Associates products! Have heard so many good things :)

    Love Aysh xoxo

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  4. @Alpha Blonde Thank you! Any to add? xx

    @Rocaille Ooo Enjoy! Hope you feel more relaxed afterwards! xx

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  5. good tips, i really want to try the lavender french kiss :D

    www.missmathful.blogspot.com

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  6. Your tips are great! :) I de-stress by taking a nap, having a cigarette (yes naughty i know!), having a coffee & reading a good book or magazine, having a nice relaxing bath, painting my nails or having a glass of wine or two xoxo

    http://justtiffeny.blogspot.com/

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  7. MissMAthful Do- it smells so good! xx

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  8. @Tiffeny Thank you! Those are some great tips (apart from the smoking!) But stress is a killer, so reading and baths are a good idea! xx

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