Stress is a part of life for most people. Having spent over 20 years treating stress, I still find that the best way to not feel overwhelmed by stress is to include some mini relaxation rituals into your life and to have and do some things that are designed to make you feel indulged!
These are the things I've found have helped me the most:
1. Start the day with a few minutes for yourself. I know how difficult this can be if you have a young family and are rushing around like crazy to get out the door but it can make a huge difference to how you feel. It also sets an intention to start the day with a little bit of calm. When my children were little - I'd always try and spend a few minutes to myself having a cup of coffee either in bed or I'd just step outside into garden and into the fresh air. This was 'my time'.
2. Spoil yourself in little ways - even if money is tight - splurging on little things that are indulgent and special sends a signal that you are looking after yourself. Might be a luxurious chocolate that you keep all to yourself or a beautiful cup and saucer that only you use for your cup of tea or coffee - it can be as simple as picking a flower from the garden and putting it on your desk, bedside table. The idea is to find out what it is that you love and include that in your life. It's amazing how when you start doing little things like this for yourself, others follow.
3. Invest in an essential oil that you love or an essential oil blend - you can think of this as your 'therapy in a bottle' and use a few drops in your morning shower to create a spa treatment for yourself, pop a drop on a tissue and carry it around with you and inhale deeply whenever you need to or use in a luxurious aromatic bath once or twice a week. I love citrus oils (mandarin, lemon, grapefruit) for their uplifting and mood boosting properties.
4. Give yourself a DIY massage - this is something I've done almost every single day for the past 20 years. It has enormous benefits and you can also add essential oils to your massage blend to give you an energy or mood boost or to help you relax or feel more confident depending on what you choose. The biggest benefit though is that every single day you are spending 2-3minutes getting to know your body and getting comfortable with yourself. I keep a beautiful small bowl for this purpose and pour approximately 5 mls of a carrier oil (grapeseed, sunflower are good and inexpensive choices) and add 2-3 drops of an essential oil. Using long flowing strokes, I start at my feet, working up my legs, abdomen, breasts and chest. I then take the remaining amount and massage over my arms and as cover as much as my back as possible. Using a lightweight oil means that it will absorb quickly so that you can then dress.
5. Aromatic bathing - I do think this is an amazing at home spa treatment and the next best thing to a massage. If you can lock yourself away in the bathroom once or twice a week for approx 20 minutes you will feel completely recharged and rejuvenated. Fill up the bath with warm water and then add approximately 6-8 drops of essential oils of your choice into a tsp of Jojoba or the Audra James Nourish Body Oil and then step in. The trick is to have a comfortable pillow behind your neck so you can relax and then inhale the aromatic vapours while you do that. Play some music that makes you feel happy - and grab a glass of wine or a cup of herbal tea at the same time. After about 15 minutes step out, pat yourself gently dry and apply a natural body oil while skin is still damp to seal in moisture.
6. Mini meditation - who really has the time to meditate for hours? Yet a few minutes of meditation daily has numerous health benefits - it also means that when stressful things happen you can literally stop, take a breath and feel calm before you carry on. It's not complicated and there is no right or wrong way. For me, it's sitting in a quiet space, closing my eyes and then I just focus on my breathing for a few minutes. If my mind wanders (as it does) I just bring it back t my breathing.
7. Facial massage - one of the reasons I incorporate so much of this into my treatments is that we tend to hold a lot of tension in the facial muscles and around the jaw area - a few minutes of facial massage helps to relieve that tension which means we not only feel more relaxed but it also means fewer wrinkles! Start by applying a facial oil or cream and apply over face - avoiding the eye area - then starting at the chin, using the pads of fingers just massage from the centre outwards - and work upwards repeating this. Once you reach the forehead you can then finish with sweeping strokes using your fingers. Finish by stroking along the eyebrows from the centre outwards and then gently massage the temples 2-3 times. If you are using a facial oil with relaxing essential oils - apply a small amount onto the upper chest and massage slowly for 2-3 minutes - this works especially well for women who tend to hold 'emotions' in that area.