I'm not sure what it is, but with every autumn comes transitions. Transitions towards longer workdays, less sleep and maybe even more broad life changes. I also find that during this time of year we try "to do it all" - for me that might mean getting to my yoga classes, maintaining some form of a social life, avoiding the seasonal cold or working on LPN when I can find the time. Now don't mistake this for complaining; I feel very blessed and grateful, but sometimes we just need to come back down to ourselves, reconnect and find some peace.
Stress is one of the biggest causes of pre-mature aging (up there with sun exposure). Wait, what? When you’re stressed out, blood begins to flow to your muscles and other extremities preparing you for “fight or flight” and is diverted away from key operations such as absorbing vitamins and minerals. When you’re stressed out, your B vitamins are depleted at far above normal rates and chronic stress depletes your beauty vitamin C as well as zinc and magnesium (all key components to beautiful skin). So, if your longevity and happiness aren't good enough reasons to start winding down, then at least, save your skin ;)
So with a lot on my mind, too little sleep and not enough "me time", I used the weekend slow down, reflect, nourish, move and connect. Given that I was practicing this self love, I was also inspired to share my Top 6 Ways to Destress Naturally. Apologies in advance for the lack of product recco's in this post - but a lot of this comes down to you and your core. <3
1. Movement & Yoga
Whether it is getting up off the couch and out for a walk, or putting yourself upside down to change up your view on things, movement is key in helping remove stress. We all know this, we've been hearing it for ages, but I have to admit, for me, yoga can be magic when I am stressed. It can be magic at recharging the batteries with both restorative poses and intense poses (while restorative can bring you back down to the earth, more intense poses can be invigorating and aid in getting your life force back up to its full capacity).
Today I did an intense hot Baptiste Power class - and despite feeling tired, run down and exhausted before going in, I came out feeling recharged emotionally and physically. So much so, that a friend and I played around with Fallen Angel Pose (my first time above) after the intense practice we had completed. Moving the body takes your mind off the stress, and awakens your energy. Don't underestimate its power.
Some recommended asanas for de-stressing? Check out my post here where I give some of my favourite simple stress-reducing poses.
When I got back to my apartment this evening, it was the perfect lead in to my second recommendation: rest.
Yes, sleep obviously, but what I'm talking about here is relaxation - conscious relaxation. When I'm feeling a little overwhelmed, making my space feel tranquil and peaceful is hugely important to me. What that means to you might be different, maybe it's as simple as lighting a candle or putting on wooly socks with a cup of tea, or maybe it's diffusing essential oils and listening to calming music. Regardless of what it is, it is all rooted in removing yourself from digital devices (and all that comes with that) and really just connecting.
Tonight I lit up my himalayan salt rock lamp and candle holder (pictured above, you can shop candle holders here on Amazon - 2 for $14.99 USD or the salt rock lamp here for $18.99). The light it gives off is calming and it also emits negative ions into the air. Why's that good? Well, positive ions are often created by electronic devices like computers, TVs & microwaves which can exacerbate stress and even give sleep trouble. Negative ions can neutralize positive ions (cf. grade school science) and help cleanse the air.
I also put on some calming music, made some tea, diffused some essential oils and played around with my Tibetan Singing Bowl.
3. Herbs & Essential Oils
When it comes to herbs, I love what they can do for our bodies naturally. Do keep in mind though, herbs can be powerful. Always check with your health care practitioner if you have any conditions that could be affected by the use of herbs - or if you are growing a little one in your belly.
Some of my favourite relaxation-based teas are below. Tonight I had Tulsi Sweet Rose - a blend of rose and Holy Basil (also known as Tulsi). This organic tea from Organic India is one of my favourites. Holy Basil is called the elixir of life and is used for relief of restlessness or nervousness. It also helps make you happy and balance your mood.
In addition to herbal teas, I also love flower essences. Two of my faves? Bach Flower's Rescue Remedy and Siddha Flower Essences' Stress Relief. I keep both of these remedies at my desk at the office and take them on an "as needed basis".
These herbal remedies are specially formulated for specific issues you're trying to treat. Bach's Rescue Remedy contains flower essences of Rock Rose for terror and panic, Impatiens for irritation and impatience, Clematis for inattentiveness, Star of Bethlehem for shock and Cherry Plum for irrational thoughts.
Siddha's Stress Relief contains flower essences of Beech for overly critical thoughts, Calc Phos for occasional anxiety; restlessness; fretfulness, Cherry Plum (as above), Impatiens (as above), Kali Phos for difficulty concentrating; restlessness; irritability or laziness, Mag Phos for inability to think clearly and White Chestnut for persistent unwanted thoughts.
Last, I love to diffuse essential oils to unwind. My favourite calming scent? It is definitely lavender - and my favourite brand at the moment? Bali Botanic's Lavender Essential Oil. It's a beautiful de-stressing plant and Bali Botanic has extracted some of the purest (and organic) essential oil, and then packaged it in the prettiest darn packaging I've seen on an essential oil yet. <3 Shop online at Bali Botanic.
Why lavender oil? Well, it is known for calming anxiety, helping promote restful sleep and easing the body when used in a warm bath or massaged on places that tend to harbour stress (think temples, forehead and neck). Lavender is known to promote: calmness, wellness, positivity, comfort, act as a natural insect repellent, ease menstrual cramps, aid headaches, insomnia, fever, heal insect bites and treat both sunburn as well as acne. How's that for multi-functional?
4. Nature & Meditation
Getting out in nature, grounding into the earth and connecting with your breath are powerful experiences when it comes to calming the mind and body. Something about getting out near the water, into the trees, or onto the grass that just helps you feel more aligned and at ease. After spending a long day in the office, try and place yourself in nature - even if it is for just a short period of time - and come into your breath.
Meditation doesn't necessarily mean you sit with your legs in lotus position and close your eyes, maybe meditation for you is running the trails, or walking around a garden (or in my case in the north, the snow). Whatever it is you do, take some moments to come into yourself - breathe, take notice of the breath, and if you can do it out in nature, all the better.
After a crazy week I spent some time by the ocean and just felt myself ground into the earth. There is no better way to naturally recharge your batteries.
Nourishing your body is huge when it comes to combatting stress. Feeding it with sugars, caffeine and refined foods can wreck havoc on your wellbeing - both physically and mentally. You're likely already living a healthy life, but do make a point of taking extra care of your body during stressful times.
In this juice, I added in the following stress-busting and immune boosting ingredients:
- Kale (green leafy veg contains folate, which produces dopamine, the pleasure-inducing brain chemical which helps you
- Swiss Chard (the magnesium helps balance the body's stress hormone - cortisol)
- Grapefruit & lemon (packed with Vitamin C which has been shown in clinical studies to positively impact stress levels)
- Apple (helps reduce oxidative stress on the skin)
- Carrot (Root vegetables are a good source of fibre and carbohydrates, which can help to boost serotonin production)
- Turmeric & Ginger (protect and strengthen your immune system, making sure your stress doesn't make you sick!)
Follow LPN on Instagram to get the odd recipe as I make them : )
Connection is so hugely important when it comes to stress. Yes, alone time is good, but hiding away from the world isn't always beneficial. That being said connection doesn't need to be with a person, heck it can be with your pet (my puppy back home has the most amazing way of taking away all the worry in the world), your parents, siblings, besties, or even yourself through journaling. What's important is that you reconnect yourself with love and realign with what's important. Often times what we are stressing over just needs a change of perspective and with that, we find less of a negative influence in our lives.
And with that my beauties, I leave you to the "rest of the weekend". <3
Lots of Love,