At Commonsense we generally like to focus on the positive but it has to be said that there's a lot that has the potential to stress us out at the moment. We're living in the midst of a global pandemic and our efforts to save the planet are not, at this point anyway, having a material impact.
And that's just what's affecting us all! Within this context, many of us are also dealing with personal pressures that are part of everyday life. Perhaps it's time to take stock and introduce some small ways in which we can restore balance to our pysche.
Jo Morrison is a Commonsense staff member and a trained nutritionist. She is passionate about ways to relieve anxiety and support wellbeing and has shared 10 ideas to help restore and revitalise yourself:
1. Eat Nourishing Food
If your body is stressed, your digestive system isn’t going to work very well, Jo says. In times of anxiety, it’s a good idea to eat grounding and nourishing food. “Choose wholesome comfort foods like soups, stews, bakes, and potatoes,” Jo says. “And make sure you use good quality sea salt or Himalayan salt for supporting the adrenals”.
What not to eat? Food that is difficult to digest, and refined sugar. Jo would suggest limiting too much raw food (raw salads, raw veg) and avoiding heavy foods (meats, meals high in fat), while refined sugar and the energy rollercoaster it puts you on can lead to symptoms of anxiety.
2. Essential Oil Foot Rub
Jo’s go-to for stress and anxiety? One drop lavender true and one drop marjoram essential oil, rubbed vigorously into the sole of each foot. Jo got this remedy from her mum, who is a trained Aromatherapist, and finds it a particularly good treatment just before bed.
“The lavender is like a great big supportive hug,” Jo says. And the marjoram is wonderful for balancing the nervous system.” She recommends using quality medicinal oils, like Lavender True and Marjoram from Absolute Essential.
3. Sleepy teas
It’s bad enough feeling stressed out. Even worse? Feeling super-stressed because you can’t sleep because of the stress.
When this happens to Jo, she turns to a strong brew of Artemis Deep Sleep Tea. “It knocks me out,” she says. "I would recommend this, in combination with the essential oils, to anyone who’s having a hard time sleeping because of stress."
4. Rescue Remedy
Good ol’ Rescue Remedy is always an excellent option, and because it’s a Bach Flower Remedy there’s no way you can overdose.
“In an acute circumstance you could definitely take Rescue Remedy every 10 minutes,” Jo says. “And in the days after a traumatic event you could take it every couple of hours for stress support.”
5. Magnesium, B Vitamins and Vitamin C
Taking vitamin and mineral supplements can be a great short-term support in times of stress. Magnesium is a great place to start as it contributes to over 300 different functions in the body, and a lot of people are deficient due to our modern busy lifestyles. “Magnesium is really the anti-stress mineral” Jo says.
Next up are B Vitamins as a complex for stress and Vitamin C for adrenal support. Always follow directions on the packaging, but it’s also a great idea to discuss your needs with our friendly Health Practitioners in store.
6. More Water Less Caffeine
Don’t ignore the basics. If you’re dehydrated, you can feel more inflamed, fatigued and irritable. Not helpful!
Avoid anything that may negatively affect your sleep patterns or promote symptoms of anxiety. Limit too much caffeine, “it’s like a whip to the adrenals!” Jo says. One latte won’t hurt you, “but maybe don’t have five cups.” Anything more, and your sleep – and anxiety – will suffer. Jo usually has a cup of coffee a day (and enjoys every last drop) but sometimes chooses to switch to decaf to give her nervous system a break. Even dark chocolate, with it's many pro-health constituents, can have an over-stimulating effect – so it’s a good idea to limit your intake in the evenings.
Your body is an entity of the present moment, unlike your mind which can get stuck ruminating on past experiences or future worries. Your body is an incredible tool for working through and clearing feelings of stress and anxiety, and that’s just the beginning. We’ve all heard of endorphins being released when we exercise, but our skeletal muscles also produce myokines, otherwise known as ‘hope molecules’. These molecules work on the structure of the brain to protect against trauma and and make us more resilient against stress. Best of all, any kind of movement counts, so crank up the music and get that living room dance-party on.
“Just engaging in simple movement like checking on your neighbours, preparing food or playing with your kids or animals will be beneficial” Jo says. "Anything that makes you feel productive and like you are participating and contributing positively to your situation."
8. Get Into Nature
There are so many studies showing that being in nature reduces inflammation, pain, anger, fear, stress, anxiety and depression. Here are a number of ways you can get the benefit:
- take your shoes and socks off and get your bare feet in contact with the earth
- when you’re out on your walk, bring your conscious awareness to the natural world around you to tune in to the greater rhythms of life
- get your feet in the sea if you can
- play nature sounds in the background when you’re working from home (yes this has a positive effect!).
9. Talk it out
Feeling frazzled and overwhelmed? The worst thing you could do would be to keep it to yourself, Jo says. Talking to people – and hopefully having a laugh - is a fantastic way to release tension. You’re not helping anyone if you’re keeping it inside. People want to help each other!
10. The Art Of Letting Go
Jo thinks this one is particularly good for parents trying work with young kids - cultivate the discipline of 'letting go' of overwhelm. Drop your standards of what you expect to get done in a day. Then drop them some more (and then just a little bit more!). Try to listen to what your body needs - if you have to choose between trying to get in 8hrs work plus all the school work and sanity, choose sanity every time.
Finally, please remember we are not suggesting that you ignore what is happening in the world and become introspective and self indulgent. The goal is to replenish your energy levels and restore you back to your normal kick-ass self - which is exactly the way the world needs you!