Help find your happy

As we all know, Christmas is a time for joy and celebration, but with that can come added pressures and a great deal of stress.

Stress is a process, and it can creep in from all different aspects of our lives. We experience stress when there is an imbalance between the demands being made on us and our resources to cope with those demands. The level and extent of stress a person may feel depends a great deal on their attitude to a situation; an event that may be extremely stressful for one person can be a mere hiccup in another person’s life.

Whatever the cause, if your stress is not dealt with appropriately, it can start chipping away at your mental and physical wellbeing and as stress increases and sets in, it is easy to develop habits which hinder rather than help your recovery.

Breaking bad habits and changing your life is hard, but it is achievable. Here are 5 small changes you can start working into your life.

  1. Move your body:
    Regular exercise is a great way to manage stress. Exercise makes you feel good because it releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin that improve your mood. It can also get you out in the world, help to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation, and put you in touch with other people. Exercise also helps improves your sleep, which is important in many ways.
  2. Get enough sleep:
    Stress often influences sleep which has a direct impact on how we live our lives. And not getting enough sleep can even make your stress worse. Sleep is a powerful stress reducer. Following a regular sleep routine calms and restores the body, improves concentration, regulates mood, and sharpens judgment and decision-making. You are a better problem solver and are better able to cope with stress when you’re well-rested.
  3. Press pause on processed foods and cook up a storm:
    Did you know that stress and nutrition go hand and hand? How balanced your diet is can affect how you handle stress. Stress can decrease nutrient absorption, increase nutrient excretion, affect how the body uses the nutrients, as well as increase nutrient requirements. When you are stressed you will probably find you crave sugary and high-fat foods and caffeine. Instead, cook yourself fresh, nourishing meals packed with as many fresh ingredients as you can to ensure you are getting a balanced diet with plenty of minerals, vitamins and nutrients.
  4. Breathe!:
    Take 10 minutes to breathe! Your breath is a powerful tool to ease stress and anxiety. Close your eyes, focus on your breath and acknowledge your thoughts without labelling or judging. Most people take short, shallow breaths into their chest, this can make you feel anxious and zap your energy.

    Practice deep breathing in a comfortable position- either in a sitting position or you can lie on your back in bed or on the floor with a pillow under your head and knees. Breathe in through your nose. Let your belly fill with air.

    • Breathe out through your nose.
    • Place one hand on your belly. Place the other hand on your chest.
    • As you breathe in, feel your belly rise. As you breathe out, feel your belly lower. The hand on your belly should move more than the one that's on your chest.
    • Take three more full, deep breaths. Breathe fully into your belly as it rises and falls with your breath.
  5. Have a massage:
    When you carry too much tension, it is natural that it can lead to muscle stiffness and pain. Stress can also be linked to headaches, fatigue, stomach problems, and difficulty sleeping. You will be doing your stressed-out body a favor if you receive a regular massage!

    Using aromatherapy is an easy way to manage stress-related symptoms and can be relieved by using essential oils via diffusion, inhalation, or topical application. When used topically essential oils must be blended with a carrier oil like coconut or sweet almond to reduce the risk of skin sensitivity.

    Lavender, Sweet orange, Ylang-ylang, Bergamot, Frankincense, Lemon balm and Vetiver are some of the best essential oils recommended for the quick relief of tension and stress.
    Recipe for “Find your Happy” bath salts (make a great Christmas present!)

    Ingredients
    1 cup of Epsom salts
    I cup of baking soda
    ¼ cup of coconut oil, avocado oil or sweet almond oil
    15 drops of lavender oil
    15 drop of sweet orange oil

    Instructions

    1. Combine the Epsom salts, baking soda, coconut oil (or substitute) and essential oil *
    2. Mix ingredients together
    3. Store in a glass container
    4. Add a ¼ cup to your bath and soak!

    * Any of the essential oils in this recipe can be switched out for essential oils of your choosing.

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