Stress these days is a widely used term and “stressed” has recently been my response when people ask how I am feeling. Not a great noun to describe my current state of mind. With building Silou London, teaching yoga and trying to stay sane, the responsibility and endless to-do lists have been taking their toll on my body, mind and overall outlook on life. Here are a few techniques, activities and mindset shifts that have helped me to feel more at ease in one of the busiest times of my life:
Moving my body each morning is a non-negotiable in my routine. No matter what the day holds, I always schedule a class or some time to practice yoga at home. Moving my body first thing sets me up for a productive day and it really lowers the stress in my life. I have been opting for slower yoga classes, long walks, or weight lifting classes to ensure my cortisol levels aren’t raised. My go to YIN yoga class is with Mona at Power Yoga Company. Just dreamy. I also teach an online YIN Therapy class each Sunday night at 6pm (GMT). Visit my yoga page for more information
Meditation has been such a great tool to help me cope with stress in my life. Whether it’s 20 minutes on the bus (with the aid of my noise cancelling headphones or a 5 minute short body scan in the morning, meditation has helped me stay grounded and connected to my centre. Focusing on my breath and sitting still has major effects on my body and mind and my overall disposition. I’m a much more nice human being when I meditate so I try to incorporate it into my daily routine. Head to my IGTV for various guided meditations help you come back to your centre.
The simplest tool we have for combating stress is our breath. Having a few breathing practices up your sleeve are great tools to have in your stress combat toolbox. The breath has a resounding connection to our sympathetic nervous system which can control the stress hormones levels in our bodies. Try this one at home its called the Box breathing. Inhale for 5 breaths, hold for fives breaths, exhale for five breaths, hold for five breaths. Start on a lower count to get use to the method and increase the amount of counts as you get more confident at holding your breath.
Sound baths, gong baths, or crystal bowl baths have been the biggest god send in the past few months for me for coping with stress. The healing effect on my body and mind and nervous system has been invaluable. Re:mind meditation Studio in Belgravia is right around the corner from my office and is literally heaven on earth. I am able to drop into a class throughout the week and have the teachers there transported me to magical places. Just a step and a throw from Victoria Station, Re:Mind studio offers a whole variety of meditation, sound baths and restorative yoga classes. My favourite so far is Josie’s Re:Heal session. Go check them out!
Another non-negotiable for combatting stress is getting my 8 hours of sleep. I love the “bedtime” function on my iPhone which allows me to calculate the time to go to sleep based on the amount of hours I want to get in. It also gives me a 30 minute reminder before I need to get into bed. Without a solid good night’s sleep, my stress levels can rise involuntarily. I also take some magnesium supplements before I go to bed to help my body recover and it works a treat.
And if you’re struggling to get to sleep (I have found myself way too wired from a busy day in London), I have been taking 2-3 drops of Cannabidiol oil. Better known as CBD, Cannabidiol is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments. it is one of the 104 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids found in the cannabis or marijuana plant (however totally legal in the UK). My favourite brand is Pure Hemp Plus which I’ve been using for the past month. A few drops can take away a pain in my neck, calm my nerves after a long day and help me fall to sleep and stay asleep longer.
I’m a big believer if you’re are grateful for things in your life, you are less likely to complain and stress about the small things. Writing down 3 things each night that I am grateful for before I go to sleep really helps me to shift my perspective and create a positive attitude.
Honestly, there are days where I don’t get 8 hours sleep, I haven’t meditated or moved my body and I still manage to stay alive. Just. The above list might sound a bit indulgent to you, but my view is: if I don’t look after my body and mind, who will? I need to make sure my bucket is full before I keep giving out to others in my team, my yoga students and to my relationships. Self care is SO important to me and my stress combatting techniques have played a big role in keeping my stress levels at bay.
What are your favourite tips for coping with stress?