Stress Awareness Month
As 2023 Stress Awareness Month comes to a close, we asked co-founder Penny Hamilton to reflect on her top three ways to help reduce the impact of stress in our everyday life.
- CREATE WELLBEING RITUALS
As humans we naturally crave predictability to make us feel safe. Rituals have been a way providing such structure since ancient times and are known to help reduce anxiety by providing our brain with the structure and familiarity it requires.
However, at times of stress we tend to adopt unhealthy rituals as we try to find something familiar to lean on, providing us with temporary comfort or a quick-fix.
To help prevent slipping into unhealthy habits, I now include regular, positive wellbeing rituals in my daily life. This means at times of stress I already have these to anchor me and am less likely to fall into that ‘quick fix’ mentality.
You don’t even have to necessarily add new things into your week to do this. Its about looking for an opportunity to make something everyday into something special.
For example a relaxing bath can be nice enough at the end of a long week. But it can be turned into more of a ritual by always adding in a fragranced candle, a face mask, a favourite treat to eat or drink and a podcast. Your weekend relaxing bath ritual can become something to really look forward to as a chance to reset and focus on your wellbeing.
- USE NATURAL RELAXATION
Magnesium is essential for our mind and body to relax. Not only does it help relax our muscles to reduce tension and stiffness, but it also is involved in reducing Cortisol (the stress hormone) and producing Melatonin (the sleep hormone).
With up to 80% of the population estimated to be deficient in Magnesium it’s a vital supplement which is easy to include in our wellbeing rituals by adding magnesium bath salts to your bath. Try introducing Magnesium Flakes to your bathing routine and see if you notice the instant relaxing effects on your mind and body. But remember – you need at least 1-2 cups for it to be effective.
Scent is a really quick and easy way to boost your mood, but it’s a lot more personal than you might think. Scent sends instant signals directly to the parts of your brain associated with memory and emotions. So your personal association with that scent can affect the emotional response it triggers. Studies in the UK and US during the 1960’s and 1970’s provide a perfect example of this. The studies included Wintergreen, which in the UK was used in medicine and so triggered a negative emotional response for the UK participants. However in the US Wintergreen was used exclusively in candy and so provided a positive, comforting emotional response for the US participants.
Try exploring which scents trigger those comforting, happy memories for you, and then actively use them as part of your daily wellbeing rituals. Be that from brewing a hot drink, applying a body lotion or relaxing in a fragrant bath. Use candles and mists too to create an instantly comforting environment around you too.
When I visited the Dead Sea in Jordan last year, I fell in love with their cardamom coffee. I now make my own each weekend, and the fragrance that’s released transports me straight back to the sunshine of Jordan, and the happiness I felt on that amazing trip.
- PRIORITISE HAPPINESS
When it comes to maintaining our health and wellbeing, we tend to see good diet and exercise as the main priorities, but an 80 year study from Harvard University shows that we also need to give the same level of attention to our relationships – be that family, friends or community:
“The surprising finding is that our relationships and how happy we are in our relationships has a powerful influence on our health,” said Robert Waldinger, director of the study, a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “Taking care of your body is important, but tending to your relationships is a form of self-care too. That, I think, is the revelation.”
Our friends over at the Rise of Happiness also know about the importance of prioritising happiness to help manage stress and improve our wellbeing. Their magazine is a free publication covering a range of topics to promote a healthier, happier life, so is definitely worth subscribing to.
Our top 3 wellness heroes:
Zen bath salts – magnesium bath salts infused with the comforting scents of Neroli (orange-blossom), calming Cedarwood and soothing Sage essential oil.
Sleep bath salts – to calm and de-stress mind and body at bedtime. Magnesium-rich Epsom salts relax your muscles, while relaxing Lavender, Jasmine and Valerian for the ultimate sleep soak.Magnesium Flakes – if you want to pair magnesium bath salts with your own favourite bath essence then magnesium flakes are the perfect addition to your bath. Just use alongside your favourite scented bubble bath or bath oil for a magnesium-rich de-stress bath.