Ten surprising tricks the well-being gurus roll-out to calm themselves down when life gets manic – all guaranteed stress-proof!
ALSO SEE: 13 Ways To De-stress & Regain Calm
It’s hard to imagine a well-being expert getting stressed, tense or anxious, but take it from us – they do! We might rush to find a supplement, but they would rather indulge in a soothing handmade ritual that fixes things surprisingly fast. Feeling a bit overwhelmed yourself? Choose from their stay-calm menu…
Relax with a mask
Capitalising on that direct route to the brain via the nose can raise a scented beauty mask to a mindsoothing therapy. Pharmacist and homeopath Margo Marrone has a gem.
Margo’s secret: “I have a lot of de-stressing tactics, but my favourite is to cleanse my skin, then slather on a deeply nourishing honey and jasmine face mask, and pop on an eye mask,” says Margo.
“I then focus on my breath for 10 minutes, and allow thoughts to come and go. The eye mask stops me using my phone, and the beauty mask not only calms and uplifts me (jasmine is a natural de-stressor), but it’s also pampering.”
Margo’s mask: Mix together 1tbsp of Greek-style yoghurt, 1tsp honey and 2 drops of jasmine essential oil.
Fresh air is nature’s own Prozac, and well-being experts are first out the door when stress mounts.
Tipper’s secret: “Recreate the scent of the outdoors with essential oils.” Tipper blends 6 drops bergamot, 4 drops pine, 3 drops rosemary and 1 drop vetiver in a diffuser for a soothing and hydrating ‘forest’ mist.
ALSO SEE: Take Time To Relax – Naturally
Press your stress away
Acupuncture is a sure-fire tension reliever, but when you need an on-the-spot fix, acupressure – based on the same principles as acupuncture by stimulating the body’s energy flow, without needles – is the way to go.
Colleen’s secret: A couple of wonderfully simple techniques.
Soothe your mind
“Apply gentle but firm pressure in a clockwise motion to the middle of the underside of the wrist, at the natural crease. By stimulating this point, you’ll calm the mind while softly grounding your thoughts,” says Colleen.
“A great second point is ‘joining the valleys’, a go to for calming when life is manic,” says Colleen.
“It’s on the web between your thumb and index finger. Gently squeeze it by pressing your thumb against the base of the index finger to relieve tension.”
“Use a mindful blend of spearmint and lemongrass essential oils. These aromas combine to help our bodies release endorphins, while also grounding us,” says Colleen. Mix a few drops of each into a soothing bath.
ALSO SEE: 6 Ways To Create A Calm, Happy Home
Touch away tension
Touch has magical properties, helping to release tension where it gathers.
“A lot of tension and stress manifest in the body’s most powerful joint – the jaw,” says Bowen Technique expert Nikke Ariff, “reflecting the physical and emotional states we’re experiencing.”
Nikke’s secret: “The fastest way to restore calm, stay grounded and banish muscular tension is to…
“Rest your index fingers behind your ears and allow the other fingers to rest on the sides of the face with your middle finger touching where the top of the ear joins the face.”
“Slowly move your hands up and down, with light strokes, all the way down to the edge of the jaw.”
“Repeat about eight times, until a wave of calm cascades through you. Repeat as often as needed,” says Nikke. Find a Bowen Technique therapist near you by visiting bowensa.com
Stretch to sleep
“When I’m trying to get to sleep and my mind is hyperactive, the best way to calm it is with yoga stretches,” says Lisa.
“About 80% of the nerve messaging between the body and brain is the body telling the brain how to interpret its posture and surroundings. I make sure those messages are ‘calm’ and ‘safe’ using grounding stretches.”
Lisa’s secret: Lying in her stretches to open the heart and lungs. Like to try? Watch the video below for her free before-bedtime 16-minute Yoga for Sleep sequence.
Lisa also likes to…
- Turn down the lights at least 30 minutes before bed.
- Wash feet in warm water and apply a calming oil. We like Seed Oil Relax Massage Oil, R52 for 100ml, Faithful to Nature.
- Pop on some woolly or cotton socks, then jot thoughts and ideas down in a journal to clear the mind.
Love a foot rub
It can chill you out as much as a full-body massage. Aromatherapy guru Glenda Taylor does it with her favourite essential oil.
Glenda’s secret: “Camomile! It’s the calming royalty of aromatherapy. Just add 5 drops of camomile to 1tbsp of sweet almond oil.” Here’s her ritual..
Calming foot rub
“Feet are the mirror of the body,” says Glenda, “so massage the corresponding areas with the oil mix to soothe aches and relieve stress.”
- Base of the big toe reflects the base of the neck; giving this area a rub and a gentle rotation will ease a tense neck.
- Under the arch of the foot is the tummy. Massaging this area in a clockwise motion can be seriously comforting, working to calm the nerves.
Write off the pressure
Feeling a bit overwhelmed? You can lift yourself up without a pill or supplement. Aromatherapy expert Annee de Mamiel has a soothing trick that works in the gentlest way.
Annee’s secret: A great cup of chamomile tea. “I love it, but it has to be whole-flower bud tea. It’s pungent and wonderfully calming,” enthuses Annee.
“I also try to empty my head by writing down thoughts – I write every morning if I can. It’s very relaxing.”
At the other end of the day, she suggests using a mix of essential oils, including chamomile, geranium, snowbush and helichrysum. Pop a few drops on your pillow; it will encourage you to breathe deeply and calmly – this relaxes the whole nervous system, and it’s one of the best ways to give the body time to rebalance.
Soak away the stress
A bath can be as good as a spa for de-stressing. Kathy Phillips – health and beauty writer, and avid yogi – is an expert in calm…
Kathy’s secret: “Simple pleasures are my route to relaxation and calm,” she says.
First of all, silence… “I once spent a week in silence and it was bliss.”
Then a good cup of tea – it doesn’t even have to be herbal.
Crisp white sheets, plump pillows and a view of the garden.
A yoga class with its post-class glow, followed by a long bath with essential oils of lavender, valerian and camomile splashed in. Gathering together our own simple pleasures is an effortless way to create a ritual.
Enjoy a relaxing soak with Oh So Heavenly Beauty Sleep Collection Soothe Me Foam Bath, R56,99 for 750ml, Clicks.
Breathe out stress
We wouldn’t be doing our job if we didn’t mention breathing as a speedy route to calm. Myofascial release expert Lyn Breakwell knows its power.
Lyn’s secret: “If I’m over-wired, I remember to breathe fully into the lower abdomen, side ribs and chest. I then reverse it out from the chest and all the way back to the lower abdomen,” says Lyn. Here are her tricks…
- If you’re stressed Breathe in for a count of four and out for four through the nose. Repeat until you feel calm.
- If you’re panicked or hyper-tense do the same, but breathe out through pursed lips. We tried this and it’s brilliant – just like steam from a kettle!
Mix up a ‘calmtail’
OK, it’s tempting to rifle through the booze cabinet when you’re stressed out, but this is a well-being feature – don’t push it! Nutritional physiologist Rick Hay has a delicious mocktail that does the relaxing biz much better.
Rick’s secret: “When you fancy a drink to take the edge off a mind-frazzling day, try a mocktail version of a Long Island iced tea instead,” he says.
“It mixes like a cocktail, looks like a cocktail and, thanks to the theanine in the tea, will stimulate alpha brain waves and contribute towards a feeling of well-being.”
Long Island Iced Tea Mocktail
Into a jug, pour… 300ml filtered water, a whole lemon cut up, few sprigs of mint, small piece of ginger, 2 or 3 tea bags, ice cubes. Leave to infuse in the fridge until chilled, then strain into a tall glass. Add more mint and ice cubes.
The bonus? Along with the tea’s theanine, vitamin C from the lemon helps to support the adrenals, and ginger and mint are both nervous-system tonics.
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