Stress Awareness Month
Stress Awareness Month has been held every April since 1992, to increase public awareness. According to the Mental Health Foundation (source www.stress.org.uk ) 74% of UK Adults have felt so stressed at some point over the last year, they felt overwhelmed or unable to cope… x
More than ever, we all have reasons to feel the effects of stress-related situations. Problems with sleep, financial insecurities, job losses, illness, loss of contact with loved ones, anxiety about the virus, worries for the future, delayed medical treatments, and loss of control over our individual situation/s to name but a few. Add to these the worry about our kids education and mental health, and that of all our friends and families (and ourselves) can put a huge strain on us, our relationships and our lives in general, and make us feel extremely stressed.
A low level of stress can be helpful – it can be the thing that gets us up and out of bed in the morning. It can give us the drive and motivation to get things done, and thus builds our self-esteem, as it makes us feel productive and positive about our day. Too much stress though is harmful, and can cause both mental and physical illness, if it is at a high level, for a prolonged period of time.
What can we do to help ourselves?
Much as with my last blog on Mental Health in March (do look at this, where I go into more detail in each section), we need to try our best to relax before bedtime to get a good nights sleep. Eating a healthy, balanced range of food is a positive thing to do, and we can also use exercise and mindfulness to calm us, give ourselves time to concentrate, releasing the happy hormones, and allowing ourselves to hear and feel our breath.
We need to make time for our hobbies, for the things that bring us joy – even a few minutes a day can make all the difference. Checking in with friends and family can help us feel more supported and connected – which has been a huge problem during the pandemic. We must also reach out if we need help – that’s not an easy thing for any of us to do, but sometimes it is absolutely necessary when our stress levels are high. People that love us want to help, and sometimes we need to admit we are struggling, and allow them to be there.
Sometimes writing things down can help – wellbeing journals or diaries are a great way to get things out of our heads and down on paper. This can be useful in times of stress. Setting realistic expectations of ourselves is also important…letting go of the ‘I shoulds’ is crucial to reducing our stress levels. Do what you can when you can, but also let things go sometimes. It doesn’t matter if the house isn’t always tidy, or if you don’t have a healthy meal every single night, or if you don’t get everything done on your ‘to do’ list. Occasionally we are allowed to just rest and recuperate, or take the decision that gives us an easier, more manageable and less stressful day! Be kind to others, but also to yourself. You can’t pour from an empty cup. You can’t give if you have no energy within.
I listed loads of organisations in last months blog on Mental Health support – so if your stresses are getting the better of you, do take a look and reach out if you need to. The website: www.stress.org.uk is also a fabulous site for extra help too.
Essential Oils for De-Stressing...
Many Essential Oils are perfect for use in a massage blend, facial blend, or in the bath or with a diffuser, to help create a more relaxing environment, and to stimulate the senses and aid deep relaxation. I list a few examples below that work particularly strongly on our Nervous System, to help ease stress and tension.
Bergamot (Citrus Aurantium Subspecies Bergamia)
Bergamot Essential Oil is one of my favourite Citrus oils. It is fantastic for getting rid of emotional tension and feelings of frustration and irritability, and wonderful in times of stress, worry and anxiety. It soothes the nervous system with it’s light fragrance, and is also a good lymphatic decongestant and digestive tonic. There is an important safety note for this oil though – you should always use a Bergamot FCF Essential Oil – this means it is free of Bergapten, which can be phototoxic.
Frankincense (Boswellia Carteri)
This oil is probably the one I would take with me to a desert island if I was only allowed to choose one! It is one of the safest oils we have, and one of the best for dealing with stress-related conditions. It is rejuvenating, healing, wonderful for emotional support, and is calming and centering. It is also lovely for elderly people (probably why I like it so much!) and is useful when dealing with bereavement and trauma.
Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia)
Lavender Essential Oil is under-valued in my opinion! It is truly an incredible oil, being an adaptogenic, it can relax or stimulate depending what you mix it with. It is a wonderful balancer, and one of the absolute best oils for all stress-related conditions. It is healing, soothing and sedative, but it can also uplift us out of a rut, and help us to adapt to new situations. Being non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising, it is also one of the safest oils used in Aromatherapy, and it suitable for just about everyone, young and old alike.
Neroli (Citrus Aurantium Var. Amara Flos)
Neroli Essential Oil is simply beautiful, and one of my absolute favourites. It is a classic stress remedy and is calming and relaxing, dealing well with states of anxiety, fear and worry. It can help before tests or exams, and in cases of depression and apathy. It is a euphoric oil, reduces obsessive thought and is also wonderful for the skin. It is non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising, so is generally safe for everyone. The heady floral aroma may cause headaches though, in those with hypersensitivity, so it should be used with caution for those individuals.
Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum Nobile)
This oil is a soothing, calming, classic stress remedy. It is also an effective sedative, and useful for everything associated with the Nervous System. Headaches, migraines, insomnia, irritability, anxiety, depression, agitation and emotional stress can all be eased with this fantastic oil. It is also safe for everyone, including babies, as it is one of the safest oils used in Aromatherapy.
Sweet Orange (Citrus Sinensis)
Sweet Orange Essential Oil is one of my absolute favourites too. It is a wonderful nerve tonic, so fabulous at dealing with stress and anxiety (being relaxing and calming), whilst also being an uplifting, refreshing Essential Oil. It is great for those who are exhausted and full of worry, as well as for those feeling stressed, irritated or frustrated with life. Non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising, so again safe for just about everyone.
A beautiful Essential Oil Blend of these, for a healthy adult that I would recommend, would be 30ml of whatever Base/Carrier oil is your preference – I use Sweet Almond – then the following drops of Essential Oils: Bergamot (4 drops), Frankincense (3 drops), Lavender (3 drops) and Neroli (2 drops). Or if you can’t use them all, or would like to use different ones, then use a combination (up to a total of 12 drops) per 30ml of Base oil.
If you would like to discuss any ways in which my treatments or products might be able to help you, please do not hesitate to contact me on: 07710 173354 or email me at: email@example.com. I would really love to hear from you.
With all my love and hugs, please stay safe (and sane!) all. See you next month!