Don’t let everyday stress, work pressures, and headaches get to you! We’ve got a fast and natural remedy for every problem that threatens to get between you and a happy, tranquil state of being. Take time to relax, now.
Feeling tense? Avoid that stress headache
Tension headaches have a nasty way of cropping up just when we least want them, and those deadline pressures at work are just the thing to bring them on.
Pharmacist and stress expert Shabir Daya is particularly keen on magnesium supplementation, which may help counteract the buildup of low-level stress before it gets to headache level.
“When we have low magnesium levels, we get tired more quickly,” explains Shabir.
“Many studies indicate that there is a relationship between headaches, migraines, and low levels of magnesium in the bloodstream. Magnesium’s benefits appear to be related to its muscle- and nerve-relaxing properties.”
Step back to soothe anxiety
“Underneath all the stress, we are thinking thoughts like: ‘I don’t want to fail; I don’t want to be rejected; I don’t want everything to go wrong.’ We become a bit like a deer in the headlights when these thoughts start up.
Instead of rationalising these things – it’s just a work project; we always get it done – we go to that place of fear and begin to panic. Also, when we are stressed, our natural tendency is to go faster.
Really, we need to step back, take time to pause, see what’s going on and get things in perspective.
You could do this by simply going for a five-minute walk on your own or having a long relaxing bath.
Gain that perspective and you will start to see that a lot of the hecticness you are feeling is of your own making.”
We love Universal Vision Himalayan Salt Bath Crystals, which you pop in the bath. This calming, detoxing experience will give you a taste of bliss as you lie back and de-stress. It will leave you feeling replenished and energised while it eases aching muscles and joints. R45 for 1kg, faithful-to-nature.co.za
Keep your body boosted
Feeling a bit under the weather can add to tiredness and stress levels.
Supplements to add energy
You need plenty of B vitamins (found in wholegrains, beans, peanuts and eggs) to keep up your energy levels. But what would a nutritionist choose by way of a supplement? Nutrition therapist Ian Marber says taking a supplement without caffeine will give you a short-term boost that won’t make you feel ‘buzzy’ or overexcited.
Try Turbovite Decaf Capsules, R63 for 30, nativa.co.za , which contain vitamin B1, B2, B6 and B12.
…And boost immunity
Try these remedies to get through winter cold-free:
Echinacea has long been used to help prevent a cold. Try A. Vogel Echinaforce Echinacea Drops, R94,95 for 30ml, wellnesswarehouse.com
Vitamin C is believed to shorten the duration of a cold if taken in sufficient amounts. Try Vitaforce Ultra Vitamin A-Z, R153 for 60 tablets, clicks.co.za
Sevenpointfive Silvermax is an effective colloidal-silver antibiotic and general immune-system booster. R239 for 150ml, sevenpointfive.com
Coping with difficult people
Learn from that acquaintance or family member who drives you mad, says life coach Jacqueline Hurst:
1. Remember that how you think creates how you feel. If someone is annoying you, see what you can learn about yourself. Do you want them to be different? Are you not accepting who they are? If so, change your thoughts to more positive ones and, in turn, your feelings will change.
2. Life is short. One day, you’ll look back on this time in your life as a memory. Make it one of fun, laughter and tolerance.
3. Don’t expect others to act as you do. Accept people for who they are and let go of any stress they’re causing you.
Bend your head forward slightly and place the middle fingers of both hands in the grooves on both sides of your neck vertebrae, at the base of your skull. Don’t apply pressure, just breathe deeply and feel the connection between your fingers and your neck.
Gradually apply pressure into both grooves using your fingers. While pressing, bring your neck upright so that you press into a deeper layer of muscle.
Maintain the pressure and make five circles with your fingers, breathing slowly. Release the pressure gradually, move your fingers slightly apart then apply pressure again. Make another round of five slow, precise circles.
Move your fingers sideways along the base of your skull to a new point, with your fingers just underneath the skull bone, and press into the muscles. Make five more slow, precise circles here, breathing regularly. Gradually release and move your fingers to the next point. Aim to change position five times, until you reach the corner of the bone just behind your ears. Each time you should be able to up the pressure as your neck muscles begin to release.
Essential oils that calm – fast!
“The good news is that stress is reversible,” says Annee de Mamiel, facialist and aromatherapist.
“The antidote to stress lies in our mind and behaviour. Deep breathing is one of the fastest and most effective ways to mitigate the effects of stress. Bringing oxygen to your brain helps you regain your focus and clarity. Take three deep breaths – in through the nose for a count of three – pause, then out through the mouth for a count of five. This slows the pulse and helps relax the body. You can use an essential oil for calming yourself down, too.”
Massage therapist Michelle Walter suggests placing a few drops in the palms of your hands and inhaling while you’re taking your deep breaths.
“Frankincense, geranium and lavender oils are my favourites for de-stressing,” she says. For a ready-made blend you can use as a soothing massage oil. We love Esoteric Essential Oil’s Relaxation Blend, R116,50, essentialoils.co.za. It helps calm the mind.
…rev yourself up
“Ensuring that you fit some movement into your schedule will help combat daily stresses,” says leading celebrity trainer Dalton Wong.
The next time you’re feeling stressed, put the kettle on for a calming cuppa and try some squats while it’s boiling.
“The main goal is to focus on the breathing with the movement and to squat as low as possible. The breathing will help reduce your stress levels and the squats will help make you feel better, tone your backside and burn up those excess winter puds,” explains Dalton.
Stand tall with good posture, with your feet shoulder-width apart.
Take a big, deep breath into your diaphragm and slowly descend into the squat, while slowly exhaling (take five seconds to do this) as you lower your body. Try to drop your bottom as low to the floor as possible, without straining.
As you rise up, inhale into your diaphragm until you’re standing. Repeat until the kettle has boiled.
ALSO SEE: 6 Exercise Ideas To Get Your Strength Up
…or make your mind less of a whirl
“It’s about learning to focus on one particular thing. We are usually stuck in a continuous cycle of thoughts, which is exhausting. The quickest way to ‘reset’ is to do something mindful that gets you out of your head and into your body, such as conscious breathing. Breathe in for a count of four and imagine that you are breathing in peace, and breathing out a grey smog of negativity. It will help bring you into the present and is a good way of checking in with yourself.”
Keep your tummy happy
Over-indulging in heavy winter stews and rich puds can down the hardiest of us.
“When you have an upset stomach, you’re likely to be losing minerals and probiotics,” says nutrition therapist Ian Marber.
“Replenishing those is essential. Magnesium and potassium, which are found in nuts and green leafy veg, are important. Steaming the veg will ensure you get a healthy dose of fibre, too, then top with crushed nuts and seeds.”
A probiotic supplement will help improve nutrient absorption. Try Ultima Probiotics Plus, twice a day. R109 for 60 capsules, ultima.co.za
And finally… relax yourself to sleep!
The more stress we’re under, the harder it becomes to stick to all the usual sleep advice; like keeping a regular bedtime, avoiding alcohol and caffeine, as well as not eating too late in the evening.
But here’s something that might just help: Oh So Heavenly Beauty Sleep Wish Upon a Star Pillow Mist, R31,99, clicks.co.za.
This light mist contains a fragrant aromatherapy blend of lavender, orange and patchouli oils. It will soothe your senses, relieve tension, and gently calm your mind. Spritz three to four times on your pillow or bed sheets before going to sleep and allow to dry.
Climb into your cosy bed and drift off to a wonderful, restful sleep. You will wake up feeling rejuvenated, with loads of energy. The mist won’t stain fabrics and can also be used as a refreshing body spritzer.
ALSO SEE: The Secrets To Super Sleep
Words Alice Hart-Davis. Additional words Laurelle Williams