Stress. It’s something we all have a little bit of, some of us have a lot of and many of us find hard to deal with. With this in mind, The Samaritans have launched Feel Good Friday, a day dedicated to raising awareness of stress, it’s effects and what you can do to manage your own stress levels.
Sometimes it seems as if the media and the world at large is conspiring to make you feel quite miserable. The news always seems to concentrate on what’s wrong in the world, disasters, impending financial collapse and everything we’d rather not think about. If watching the news is starting to get you down, my advice is STOP watching it! Even if it’s just for one day. Turn off your Twitter feeds. Don’t look at current affairs websites. Watch a DVD or yet another repeat of The Big Bang Theory instead of the news. It doesn’t have to be forever but we could all do with a rest from the doom and gloom occasionally. I don’t know about you, but hearing all the misery on the news does raise my stress levels. Especially when I start shouting at the TV…
Aromatherapy is a great way to beat stress – that’s why bath oils and bubbles are always infused with such delicious fragrances. It’s great to treat yourself to a soak in a hot tub, and whether you choose to take a good book and a glass of wine with you is of course up to you.
Aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years, and the therapeutic properties of essential oils can soothe a frazzled mind and calm a stressed-out body. There are pathways between our nose and our brain that affect our mood and our emotions, and it doesn’t just work with a little potion in a bottle either. If you’re sceptical, think about how smells in everyday life affect your mood and can transport you back in time…a favourite dinner from childhood, the smell of wet grass, the sea air, can all evoke feelings and memories.
The classic calm-down aromatherapy oil is Lavender. Lavender is one of the gentlest essential oils, perfect for a calming bath or burned in a diffuser. The smell of Lavender takes me back to the garden of a family friend and I adore the scent of fresh, warm blooming Lavender, so I’m always drawn in by this oil. It’s beautifully calming, and also great if you’re having trouble sleeping, a few drops of Lavender oil on your pillow should shoot right through to the part of your brain that sends you off to sleep in no time.
Another deliciously relaxing and uplifting oil is Neroli, which is used by those in the know as a scented anti-depressant! It comes from the leaves of the bitter orange tree and can be one of the more expensive oils to buy, but smells heavenly and you can also add it to a base cream and use it as part of a dry/sensitive skincare regime.
Patchouli oil is the favourite of ‘alternative’ shops all over the country and it does have quite a distinctive smell, but stick with it because Patchouli is also an anti-depressant with similar qualities to Lavender and Neroli. It’s helpful for skin conditions like eczema as well as being a great tonic for stress and anxiety – and some people swear by it as an aphrodisiac too.
There are loads of ways that you can make yourself feel good – why not make a point of looking after number one this Friday? For more information about the day, fundraising events and ideas, the official website is: http://www.feelgoodfriday.org/
Let me know how you get on?