Last year we interviewed 523 people about stress… and the results surprised even us:
- 46% said they felt stressed during their morning routine
- 61% were stressed during their commute
- 73% feel stressed during their work day
- 92% feel stressed before they go to sleep
- 64% wake at least once in the night due to stress
- 47% don’t spend time to create calm
- 53% are more stressed now than they were five years ago
We all experience stress at some point. But, looking at the figures above, it’s no longer an infrequent occurrence but instead a way of daily life – in fact, we’re often quite accepting of it. But it’s not healthy… for our minds, bodies or skin.
“It’s so easy to feel bogged down with what society tells you is important, or even the pressure from yourself on the things you feel you need to achieve,” says Nicola Baillie, our Senior Trainer.
“More often than not, we find our hands pulled in different directions by daily stressors and strains. It’s time to pull our hand back, place it on our heart and say ‘no, this is what is important’.”
April is Stress Awareness Month, so we’ve asked Nicola for her expert advice on how we can regain inner calm across our daily life. Part One of this blog series concentrates on improving how we start our day…
First and foremost, tackling stress will feel more achievable and manageable in the long term if done in small chunks. Don’t try and take everything on at the same time… instead have these smaller, simple methods ready in a metaphorical ‘wellness toolkit’ to help you succeed one area at a time.
Beat the morning rush
Because we often go to bed so late, we wake tired, are late out of bed and therefore rush against the clock all day. Commit to trying to get up a little earlier than the rest of the house. Whether 15 minutes or half an hour, use the time to get in tune with your body and determine what it needs for the day. It may simply be a case of appreciating the quiet, enjoying some headspace, sitting with a cup of tea and planning your day. Put this into action and, by the time you reach your desk at 9am, you’ll feel much calmer.
If however you need a little more support in the morning, see how you get on with these techniques:
- Wake stressed? Breathe | Sit up, close your eyes and breathe… slowly in for seven, hold for one, exhale for seven, hold for one. Feel your abdomen fill and empty. Repeat three or four times to fully slow and deepen your breath.
If you’d like to help rouse your senses, warm a few drops of one of our body oils in the palms of your hands, cup them over your nose and inhale the aromas with each breath.
- Wake sluggish? Energise | Use your extra 20 minutes to take a bath. As it fills, dry brush your skin from toes to shoulders – this will really awaken both your skin and your mind. Once your bath is ready, add a capful or two of Detoxifying Bath Oil – the Cypress, Juniper and Grapefruit Essential Oils will really uplift your senses while cleansing your body.
- Wake off-colour? Support | Make a ginger shot – juice one organic apple and a 2cm piece of fresh ginger and drink. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory qualities are great if you feel under the weather, while also waking up your digestive system.
Get value out of your commute
Long commutes can feel wasteful in our already time-poor lives, adding anxiety to the day. If you usually spend a train journey with your laptop open, checking emails or starting work early, this can add to your daily stress by making your working day much longer.
Though everyone is different, I don’t believe that working on the commute good for stress levels and would advocate trying something positive instead. Whether on the train or in the car, listen to an audio book or your favourite music, learn a language… focussing your mind in areas like these will reap rewards for inner calm.
Try these techniques too, to help relieve stress on your way to work:
- Feeling overloaded? Write it down | Don’t spend your commute worrying what you may forget that day. Write priorities down, taking that worry out of your mind, and use the remaining travel time for something more positive, like my suggestions above.
- Struggling to think? De-clutter | Whether it’s just before you dash out of the door, or once you get a seat on the bus or train, massage Muscle Rescue Balm or Energising Body Oil into the pulse points on your wrists and temples. Both contain Peppermint and Rosemary Essential Oils, which are renowned for helping clear your mind and getting it focussed on the day ahead.