Last week I felt under the weather. I was tired and listless, cranky, and my gut flared up. And I just had this feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach.
I’m pretty sure that the physical symptoms were actually a visceral reaction to stress I was feeling about the business.
The issues causing that stress are still there, but after a weekend of being in nature with my family and a conscious effort to switch off, I’m feeling much more like myself.
Why I'm writing about my personal experience with stress
This is quite a personal post – I don’t normally write about this stuff as I get that you’re probably mainly here for the good smells.
But as it’s Stress Awareness Month, I wanted to write about why self care is so important to me, and why I think it should be for you too.
We all get stressed. Some of us are better at dealing with it and moving on than others. But when we do experience stress it can manifest itself through physical symptoms – an elevated heart rate, heart palpitations, sickness, gut issues and many more. Sometimes it can be hard to go about our day to day lives when we’re stressed. Stress can trigger depression and other serious conditions.
When stress is triggered by external occurrences it can be hard to know what do do about it. But what is certain is that we are much more able to deal with the stresses life throws at us when we’re feeling rested and our cup is full. And we can do this by taking care of ourselves.
Why self care is so important when you're stressed
Unfortunately the term self care is now so ubiquitous that it has lost its true meaning. No, applying a face mask isn’t going to solve all your life’s problems. But undertaking self care activities can help our brains switch off from worries, help us feel more relaxed and improve sleep. All of which can put us in a much better place to deal with those stresses.
When I feel stress is becoming overwhelming for me I like to:
- spend time with people who make me feel good and distract me from whatever subconscious worries I do have and;
- take care of myself by sleeping more, resting more, making sure I get my exercise in and indulging in selfcare activities like eating chocolate, taking a relaxing bath, reading a great novel, lighting a candle or two, just to name a few of my favourite things to do
Using essential oils to reduce stress and anxiety
Did you know that inhaling certain essential oils helps to reduce cortisol levels, the stress hormone? And reduce anxiety? These include lavender, vetiver, patchouli, cedarwood and bergamot.
Here are the best BALMY blends which help reduce stress and alleviate anxiety:
- patchouli, black pepper & bay (candles are back in stock!)
- lavender, bergamot & cedarwood
- fire gazing
Self care might not rid you of your stress, but it's definitely not going to make it any worse!