I come from a highly stressed, anxious, » need to go at a million miles per hour« type of a family. Unconsciously, I had embedded these traits, habits and behaviours deep within myself. In fact, I’d made them such a huge part of myself and my life that in 2015 I was on the brink of a nervous breakdown. Consequently, my immune system decided to pack up and go on holidays… Needles to say, that that was quite of a wake-up call.
For the past two years I have had to work really hard at implementing new habits to live in a stress-free, calm, peaceful space. The truth is, usually stress isn’t warranted and can be avoided with some conscious awareness. Not to mention that people tend to think that they sound super important, if they say they have a lot of stress in their life (like what the f***? :) ).
Ask yourself: “What is making me feel stressed right now?”
Stress causes the release of two hormones – adrenaline and cortisol. This puts you into ‘fight or flight’ mode, preparing your body to respond to whatever triggered it. It’s an incredibly effective protective mechanism if you happen to encounter a death threat but it is not a state you want to exist in long term. While these stress hormones are an important and helpful part of the body’s response to danger, it’s even more important that the body’s relaxation response is active so that it can return to homeostasis following a stressful event.
However, in today’s high-stress culture, often your stress levels don’t have enough time to recover and get back to normal. The down side is that having high levels of stress hormones present for extended periods of time has been shown to be seriously detrimental to your immune system and your digestive tract. High stress levels cause negative reactions such as insomnia, inflammation and hormone imbalances, just to name a few. This is why, not only for our mental health but our physical health, we need to keep our stress levels down.
So here are some things I try to do to not let stress sneak in:
Yoga besets the body and the breath. So, it’s not only a great form of exercise, but it incorporates meditation to slow down and calm the body and the mind. Try to take yourself through a few sun salutations each morning and notice the diference. There are loads of yoga resources online, so no excuses here. Try to get to your favourite yoga class a few times a week or do it at home each morning to really get the benefits. Schedule it in your diary to make it happen.
Get In Touch With Nature
Take the time to connect with Mother Nature. Better yet then going to the park, take some time and go to the mountains once in a while! There is something so healing and meditative about the mountains. I think that just hiking around feels extremely revitalising and cleansing at the same time. My body and mind love me for that. It’s a perfect balance that I have in combination with city life which is still pretty essential for my general existence. Make the commitment to connect with nature at least once a day. You definitely have some parks in your hometown, so again – no excuses!
Continuing the previous paragraph, I want to expose that part of connecting with the nature even more. Kick off your shoes and walk barefoot in the park. Feel the sensation of the earth beneath your feet. Leave your iPod, phone, and watch at home. Or go a bit further and lie on the grass. Lying like a starfish on the grass is extremely grounding. Look up at the clouds and take loooong, slow, deep, belly breaths. Feel the earth beneath you supporting and grounding you.
Connect with yourself, try to incorporate some daily habits that will connect you with your body and your soul on the more profound level. For me the easiest way is to nurture my body with the best products I can choose. I recently found this amazing Aqua Réotier collection and fell in love straight away!
Make your apartment a happy place
I love to come home and know that this is the place where I can rewind and restore again. Although I work from my apartment, I always make sure that I to crawl myself out of bed first and take a cold shower afterwards (super nice to wakeup your body!). After that I’ll probably make myself a coffee and start working by the kitchen table. However, some days I just feel that I want to do long yoga sessions, eat chocolate, take long baths and enjoy giving in to idleness. On these days, I’ll try to clean my apartment as much as possible, because I love the feeling when everything is sorted. Then I’ll use some essential oils, because I feel that aromatherapy is suuuuper helpful when it comes to reconnecting with yourself. They say that aromatherapy can help reduce anxiety, induce sleep, strengthen your immune system and much more! It’s extremely important part when you want to create your little space of zen. Don’t know where to find the best diffuser and essential oils kit? Head to Bella Beat’s webpage and explore their product.
(again, quick disclaimer: Please know that I have not been paid to recommend this product, I worked with them as a model for their new Wellness campaign and fell in love with these products straight away. And the owner of the company is Urška as well, so I feel like I want to support little gang of Urškas who are doing amazing job out there :))).
Don’t take life too seriously. Oh my Gosh, I need to be conscious about that so much! Make sure you laugh every day. If you’re feeling stressed, call someone who will make you laugh. Or invite your besties over for a hilarious comedy marathon. Laughing also releases feel-good endorphins, so get giggling!
Important note: Whatever you do, don’t eat when you’re in a stressed state. When you’re in fight-or-flight mode, your body shunts blood flow away from your digestive system and into your muscles. You don’t want this when you’re trying to digest your food–you’ll end up getting very bloated and gassy. So, chew your food slowly and consciously in a calm and peaceful environment.
… nothing is worth sacrificing your health over. Stress is not good for us or anyone around us. So, let go of whatever is stressing you out and come back to the present moment where bliss and love hang out together.