All I want for Christmas is……less stress, loads of energy, moments of calm and some serious fun – and that’s just for starters!
It’s true, the things we really long for every festive season don’t necessarily come beautifully wrapped or even as a gift. No, they come courtesy of a tiny bit of effort and some smart ideas from the wellbeing gurus.
Let’s zip through your wish list and make sure that festive season stress doesn’t happen!
Christmas cranks stress up a notch or two. We have ways to soothe you…
Frustrated? Because things aren’t going according to plan? “Frustration is anger’s close cousin,” says thought field therapist Kevin Laye. “Keep things under control by tapping the following points six to 10 times each: inside the little finger, inside the middle finger and either one of the collarbone points.” Now try to get angry!
Stressed? “When my nerves are shredded, I burn a calming blend of neroli and frankincense essential oils,” says organic skincare expert Dr Pauline Hili. “It’s a real bring-back-the-joy blend!”
Frantic? “Have a cup of lemon tea,” says natural health practitioner Susan Curtis. “We call it the ‘herbal hug’: It has a calming and strengthening effect on the nervous system.” Try Dilmah organic tropical lemon ceylon black tea.
Pressured? “A couple of bach original flower remedies are worth a try,” says expert Amy Fell. “Mimulus helps you feel calm and keep emotions in check, while white chestnut helps you switch off and relax.” Try Phyto Force Passion Flower, R78.95 for 50ml, Dis-Chem.
The experts know how to get a swift shot – and in some surprising ways get on the ball. “I love this tip from cranial osteopath Tamara De Bardi,” says skincare guru Liz Earle. “Put two tennis balls into a sock and knot tightly at the top. Lie flat on the floor for up to five minutes with the sock placed horizontally under the base of your skull. This helps ‘switch off’ the inner pulse of the cranium and rebalance it.”
Carry a smoothie We’re loving detox expert Margo Marrone’s version: whizz the juice of 1 lemon, 2 cups apple juice, 1tsp superfoods green shake (R96 for 200g, from www.greengoods.co.za), 6 to 7 grapes and 15 drops of phyto force herbal tinctures ashwagandha (R79 for 50ml, www.freshearth.co.za). Then, put it in a bottle and sip whenever you feel a dip.
Dive right in “I take a swim and switch off my brain while i do it,” says Dr Pauline Hili. “I then take a fizzy vitamin C tablet followed by a spirulina capsule – it puts back the spring for me.”
Eat watercress! “Ive tried every kind of energy booster, but believe me, watercress works best,” reckons therapist Emma Thomson. Throw it in a morning juice, with orange and carrot for a mega boost.
Go even greener! For an instant blast of energy, try the hip new supplement, concentrated chlorophyll. We like The Real Thing Chlorella, R182,10 for 500 tablets, from www.freshearth.co.za
Try a hot herbal Add a sprig of rosemary to hot water, advises acupuncturist and aromatherapy expert Annee De Mamiel.
Sit on it! Sit sideways on a couch, then bend your knees and place your feet flat on the seat. lean back over the arm as you stretch your arms out behind you and take 10 long, deep breaths. “Back bends helps energise and open up the lungs,” says yoga instructor Bridget Woods Kramer.
A moment of calm
“I always have a little bottle of rose essential oil to hand. it’s the most calming oil, but is also uplifting and it has a deeply feminine smell. if I have time, I add a few drops to a bath – or add to my pulse points, then I close my eyes and breathe” – Susan Curtis, natural health practitioner.
Some seriously relaxing sleep
Can’t drop off thanks to that to-do list repeating in your head? time for action…
Silence the critics When your racing mind stops you from sleeping, listen carefully to your internal critic – the voice that gives you a hard time about what you should have said or done during the day. Be aware of the voice, say thanks for looking out for me, then gently tone it down. “Remember, you control that inner critic – she works for you!” says Emma Thomson.
Dump your pillow Trying to stop your mind when it’s racing is the worst thing. So take a bath, pamper yourself with a new and really good pillow, and spray it with something lavendery. Now try a breathing meditation. “Focus on counting your breaths, in for four, then out for four,” says beauty expert Kathy Phillips.<
Turn to flowers Natura Rescue Drops (R68,90 for 25ml, Dis-Chem) is a homoeopathic remedy with flower essences – great for insomnia that’s caused by racing thoughts. “Keep by the bedside and take as you need,” says Susan Curtis.
Don’t fight it Don’t try to clear your mind, just let the thoughts float around. “I do breathing tricks from my yoga teacher,” says Balm Balm creator Glenda Taylor. “These help take your focus away from the whirling, while relaxing your whole body.”
Glenda’s fave is ours too: Breathe in for one, out for two; in for two, out for four; in for three, out for six… up to in for six, out for 12, then backwards down to one. Don’t worry about getting to 12: count the outward breaths a little faster if you want. and breathe in and out through your nose – this helps to control the breath.
Why not use creativity as an outlet for stress? Follow our guideline on how to decorate a Christmas tree in glamorous gold: