All of our lives look different, but they have one thing in common: stress. You may be stressed because you’ve got a lot of work to tie up before 2019 comes to a close. It could be that family pressures make the run-up to Christmas particularly tough. Whatever your reasons for being stressed, be sure to spend a little time unwinding in the evening to ensure you’re looking after yourself and feeling fully prepared to take on a new day tomorrow.
Yoga is great, because it is incredibly adaptable to your circumstances. Some people find joining a class a brilliant way to carve out some time for themselves during the week and a nice way to meet new people. For others, they slot a few gentle exercises in when they can with a mat that can be rolled up and stashed away when not in use.
If you haven’t tried yoga before, you might not realise its potential for beating stress. The practice helps to remove tension in the body and encourages you to focus on your breathing. This has a very calming effect and allows your mind to relax and let go of the thoughts that have been overwhelming your brain.
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Drawing a bath is a wonderful stress-boosting ritual, as it’s completely different from taking a shower. Instead of just getting clean, a bath is a time to stop, sink into the hot water and let it hold you while you slowly relax. If your mind is likely to wander, then pop the radio on or your favourite Christmas tunes for a little sing along.
Of course, no bath is complete without some indulgent products to soothe your skin, delight your senses and make you feel special. Try the Cherry Blossom Bath Melt and emerge from the tub with the most supple skin you’ve ever enjoyed. Alternatively, ramp up the bubbles with the Neroli & Rose Foam Bath. Close your eyes and you could be transported to a summer garden somewhere far away from your troubles.
If the thought of cosying up on the sofa in your fluffiest blanket reading a novel is enough to make you feel drowsy, reach for an audiobook instead. It’s a great way to cut down on screen time and soak up an engaging story without the effort of having to read the words yourself. And if you do happen to drift off, you can return to the last bit you remember next time.
For those who don’t know where to start, we recommend Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders. This tale of Abraham Lincoln’s relationship to his son is read by no fewer than 166 voices, including Julianne Moore, Lena Dunham and Don Cheadle. If you fancy listening to the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry, but are a little beyond Harry Potter, opt for Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Fry has recorded all four novels and five sets of short stories for your listening pleasure.
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It may sound counterproductive to add another task to your to do list if you’re feeling stressed, but it can be relaxing to give yourself time to do something well. Cooking a meal from start to finish and giving yourself the time to do it is the ultimate act of self care. You will feel nourished and looked after, as well as letting simple jobs like chopping onions calm your thoughts.
Opt for good old fashioned comfort food like hot pots, curries and pies. They will warm you through and make you feel fit for anything. Pop leftovers into the freezer and you’ll have a hearty ready meal all set for the next time you really don’t have time to cook.
When you’re feeling exhausted and overwhelmed exercise can be the best way to switch your mind into a different gear. It’s amazing how getting your heart rate going can help you to work through your frustrations and exercise often takes you out of your usual routine to give you a different perspective.
Exercise can take many forms and it’s important to choose what works for you. If you’re not into running, then you could try going for a swim instead. Even a brisk walk can be enough to help you work out your stressful thoughts if you don’t like hitting the gym.