I don’t know about you, but sometimes, I need permission to stop. We tend to go hell for leather and while lockdown may have given you the opportunity to step back and have more time, for many it’s been even busier. When it comes to managing stress levels, I find there are a few different things that help me out.
As women, we are renowned for the ability to multi-task, however, it’s not something that always serves us well, as we pick up new jobs and responsibilities while still doing other things. The Catherine Tate “I can do that” character is a perfect example of how we sometimes just keep taking more on, without necessarily considering our own wellbeing. It sounds counter-intuitive but when my head is full, I clean. Having something to focus on that also feels productive helps my “back office” have a bit of a shuffle and sort out. Malcolm Gladwell’s book, ‘Blink’, talks a lot about the power of our subconscious and the necessity of giving is space to work its magic. Cleaning is great for that! Annually, I buy a big box of It Works cleaning blocks and find that they are excellent for skirting boards and walls, a very satisfying job to do when life is feeling a bit much!
The other thing is walking. Many of us have reconnected with the power of nature during lockdown and it’s something I really don’t want to lose. I find that going for a walk has the ability to help me reconnect with myself, not in a weird way, just in a quiet, natural and peaceful way. It’s interesting that the more I connect with nature and practice switching off, the more likely I am to reconnect with myself. We are no good as parents and partners when we run on empty. How on earth can we expect to connect with anyone else if we aren’t connected with ourselves? In this picture, I’m wearing the Skechers Bobs trainers, which are currently on a a special feature price. As well as walking regularly, I’ve started going to the gym this week and they have been wonderful! I’m wearing them in the picture at the top too, freshly back from the gym, also wrapped up with the Centigrade cardigan that I live in. Mine is about three years old now, but this is the latest version.
The other thing I love is 20 minutes on the Homedics yoga mat. I bought this earlier in the year, having seen it a number of times on air. We had a sample to try in our dressing rooms and I’d switched off the light and given it a go after a long shift one day and was amazed at how relaxed it made me feel. It’s hard to stretch and relax when the stress is coursing through your body, isn’t it? That’s why this is such a great idea, and you don’t have to go anywhere either. Just switch it on and switch off, letting it do all the work for you.
I find it hard to indulge in pampering myself until I’m in that place of peace. Once there, there are so many ways I can enjoy our beauty products. Candles are an immediate source of peace for me and the fragrance blends of the Neom range are particularly beautiful. If no one else is watching TV in the evening, I’ll light one on the coffee table and curl up with a book. I find that such a luxury, which back when the children were younger was completely absent from my life. Now they are older, they either do their own thing, or join in with me doing mine and vice versa, it’s lovely.
The ultimate way to relax is to close the door on life and enjoy a warm bath and the fragrance of essential oils that have the ability to instantly effect how we feel. I’m such a huge fan of lime as a de-stressor oil that I will put in my Neom diffuser, with any bubble bath from L’Occitane and if I’m feeling ultra indulgent, I might even do a Gatineau Gommage (exfoliator) and mask, or a rescue mask such as this one from Eve Lom (we have many other options across the board). If, like me, you have hair that gets in the way, a hair turban is a must. I love this one from Percy & Reed, as if you know me well, you’ll know their Wonderbalm is my number one hair product.
Finally, I think the best antidote to stress is having as much routine as we can put in place. Our bodies are built on circadian rhythm and naturally respond best to routine and balance, sun up to sun down. As we see nature being cyclical, in many ways we are designed to function that way too. I am convinced that solid routines and good self-care is the ultimate way forwards, as they say, “prevention is better than cure”.
Life is going to be undeniably different in many ways going forwards and there will be an element of grief that we may feel as we step into life with Covid. I think we may have a few ups and downs along the way, so having some good practices that help us nurture ourselves so we can support each other are going to be essential.
Take care and enjoy the summer sunshine.
Love as always,