How I Cope With Stress

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There are times in life when what’s going on threatens to send someone off the top of the stress-o-meter, and this has been one of them for me. I’ve a ‘fragrant’ new venture launching mid-May (Gill will be keeping you informed about that one!), which threatens to have me running on empty if I’m not careful. (So I have to be.) Throw into that the loss of two people I held very dear, adding grief to the mix – and well, I’d be forgiven for crumpling into a pile in the corner. But over the years I’ve learned a ‘regime’ which can give me inner strength (more of which anon), and keep me going through tough times. I’m pretty sure it would work for most of you, too, so here goes.

I’m OK if I’m sleeping. Which of course doesn’t come automatically, at times like this. There’s the not-being-able-to-get-to-sleep type of insomnia (that’s the bereavements), and the waking-up-at-2 -a.m.-mind-whirring type of insomnia, with the risk of lying there feeling overwhelmed at all that still has to be done before my project launch. Without wanting to sound like a stuck CD here, Aromatherapy Associates Relax Deep Bath & Shower Oil has always been my staple for nudging me sleep-wards – but some time ago I explained to Aromatherapy Associates founder Geraldine Howard that I don’t always bathe before bedtime, and so can’t always experience the knock-out effect (literally) of the oils. So she very kindly came up with Aromatherapy Associates Relax Body Oil, packed with the same vetiver and chamomile essential oils, which I can massage into skin when I get into bed – it seems to work particular well on the chest (I can really smell the oils there), and somehow when I anoint my feet with it, too. On bath nights, I’ve been alternating between the Relax Deep (above) and Inner Strength, which was specially formulated by Geraldine when she was having her own very tough time. For good measure, I squirt a massive splosh of Magnesium Gel, which I have found really works to relax and soothe, and as it’s unscented, doesn’t clash with the scent of the oils.

A sleep ‘app’ has made a huge difference. I downloaded an app from the iTunes store from a company called Banzai, called ‘Brainwave’. It does, literally, work on brainwaves, helping mine to fall into synch with the waves being emitted through the pulsing from the app itself, which are specially calibrated to trigger different effects. You can also choose a background noise (I for some reason like thunder, finding it very soothing!), and it’s especially good for helping me get back to sleep in the middle of the night.

I don’t know where I’d be without Daily Energy and Sibergin. Gill got me taking these a few years ago and I swear they’re the reason I keep going like the Duracell bunny. Daily Energy delivers just that: pure get-up-and-go, with its blend of vitamin B, magnesium, ginseng, black pepper, ashwaghanda and more. When I know I’m going to be putting in seriously long hours at the coalface (like right now), then I add in Sibergin, for a couple of weeks, which works like a turbo-booster.

My Nutribullet has changed my morning energy levels. Everything under the sun goes into this in the morning: banana, soya milk, peanut butter, spirulina, wheatgrass powder, frozen mulberries from our garden (makes for an interesting mauve breakfast!) I’ve weaned myself off somewhat sugary (albeit delish) granola and muesli and I swear this is helping me power through.

I make sure I glug plenty of water. Stress makes me feel dehydrated. (You know how your mouth dries up when you have to speak in public, for instance? That’s happening in the brain, too.) I invested in a seriously ‘bling’ vacuum flask jug when in Dubai on holiday, and keep it topped up with cool water. Sometimes I put cucumber slices in there as somehow, it seems to make the water even more thirst-quenching. I sip out of a lovely old Victorian water glass, which catches my eye at various points in the day, on my desk, and reminds me to drink.

If I can get to Yoga, I can do anything. Ah, yoga. Where would I be without it? How would I get anything done at all, really? I long ago learned that if I can get a yoga class in, it’s not stealing an hour from my day – it’s giving me at least a couple of hours back, in terms of enhanced focus and a feeling of being ‘centred’. The very first thing it gets me doing when I get to my desk after an early-morning yoga class is makes me want to clear and tidy it – which is also great. I’ve found when I’m busy or upset, in particular, I need everything to be organized around me, or that disorganisation somehow gets inside my head, and affects my focus.

So this is what works for me. We all have different strategies, but above all I think it’s good for every single one of us to be able to identify what we can turn to at tough times, to help us get through them. I hope this helps you identify one for yourself…

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