Stress is one of the most common things that people suffer with and it causes so many other problems. Being a worrier myself, I have always been jealous of the eternal optimist. When planning for anything, I always cover every possible outcome and instead of automatically thinking, ‘it will work’ I am more of a ‘what do I do if it doesn’t work?’. There are cons and pros for this, yes it makes me a realist and hence organised, but equally I’m almost cursing myself that it won’t work. In terms of energy, being a pessimist does give out negative energy and you can have a defeatist mentality. I once had a friend who was the most optimistic person and I used to envy how relaxed and chilled she approached everything in life, she never worried about anything- be it a hand-in at uni, an exam, a break-up or bitchy girls. Then you had me on the other hand, practically having a mental breakdown and losing my shit. Two people that had so much in common, but handled things completely differently. I used to hate how I would get stressed about things, and I still do but, I have started to learn not to let irrelevant, non-important things get me stressed out. The point is, the only person suffering, is me. As a stress head, I have found five things in particular very helpful.
Recently, due to problems with my stomach I have been on a really strict diet, and one thing I have had to completely cut out for a while is coffee, fizzy drinks and anything with caffeine in. A few months ago, I was a self-confessed coffee junkie. Seven cups a day at least. Boy do I miss it. BUT, I will admit that moving over to herbal teas has not only been helping my stomach, it’s also been a calming influence. I have about five herbal teas a day and the one I find most relaxing is camomile. It’s strange because I always thought it was bullshit when people said tea can help you de-stress. An eye roll and a ‘yeah right’ was my response. However, having this in the morning specifically and before I go to bed a) I find it helps me sleep better and b) I genuinely do feel less stressed having it. Caffeine is known to be the opposite of a relaxant, and having too much like I was, was doing my general stress levels no good at all. Note to self: reduce your caffeine in take and switch to herbal tea.
I have been having reflexology recently and one thing my therapist told me to try was lavender oil. Every night I have been putting it on my pillow when getting into bed and it truly has been god-send. I will admit, I love the smell of lavender and I associate it with spas and relaxing health retreats. As soon as you step into a spa, that’s usually one of the first things you smell and it’s just a dream. Since putting it on my pillow I have found that I fall asleep so much quicker than I was previously and my sleep seems to be much better. Usually I wake up on and off all night, whereas the last six weeks I haven’t been waking up no where near as much. For £2.50 you really can’t go wrong. Another thing I have tried doing, is rubbing a little bit on my temples for 5 minutes every night and this has made me feel far less stressed and more grounded in general.
Meditation was a very ‘up in the air’ thing for me. While I wasn’t necessarily against it, I certainly wasn’t an advocate. There’s always been a bit of a question mark next to it in my mind. It wasn’t until about a month ago that I watched a video of Madeline Shaw on Youtube that I actually tried it for the first time. I didn’t realise that it focussed solely on breathing and relaxing your body and your mind. Immediately after trying it, I did find it effective. I instantly felt calmer and more at peace. It’s recommended that meditating every day for ten minutes gives your body some time to heal and relax and more importantly, it gives your mind a break from worrying. Sometimes I can get consumed by worrying about something that I can’t change anyway. Who’s time and energy am I wasting? My own. It’s so much easier said than done though. When you yourself are in a situation it’s so difficult to see outside of it and gain a different perspective. Trust me, I’m a nightmare myself with this. ‘Worry wart’ should be my middle name. But, if I am feeling anxious or worried, I put everything down and for ten minutes focus on my breathing and relaxing and I do feel a whole lot better afterwards so it’s definitely one to try.
Reflexology is an absolute dream. I have a lot of massages and treatments under my belt but out of all of them, I have found this one to be the most relaxing. I recommend anybody that is stressed out or anxious in any way to go and give it a try. It’s usually an hour session and varies from £30-£40. Granted it can break the piggy bank a little but at the end of the day, your health is one of the most important things and if you don’t have a healthy mind-set you don’t have a healthy body do you? All of your muscles and parts of your body are connected to your feet and by treating your feet it is believed that it can relax these parts of your body. Every time I go I am practically asleep and a dribbling mess at the end of it. I come out feeling so ‘zen’ and relaxed which is strange, as you wouldn’t think that by having your feet rubbed it would have such a strong effect- but it really does. Even if you have the treatment once a month, it can certainly help with de-stressing and brings a calming force.
5. Having down time
Usually I am the most social person and there’s nothing I love more than being surrounded by people. If I had the choice of going out or staying in I would have picked the going out a million times over. BUT, recently I have learnt that it’s so important to have some me time. Time to just relax and reload. As a blogger I struggle to put my phone and iPad down but the truth is, it wipes me out. Scrolling all day and all night isn’t exactly healthy. So, recently I have made the conscious effort to put everything away and just focus on relaxing – even if it’s just for an hour a day. Getting in bed with my candles on, has become a little bit of a ritual and in all honesty, I love it. A few nights a week I make sure I get in my pj’s and crawl into bed early. Down time is very important in helping you de-stress and I have found this to be effective.