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How to stop feeling stressed and start enjoying life again

How to stop feeling stressed and start enjoying life again

In order to find out how to stop feeling stressed we first need to look at what stress is and how it can negatively affect us if we have too much of it!

What do we mean by stress?

Stress is the feeling we have either when threatened or when experiencing extreme mental or emotional pressure. It causes the body to go into fight/ flight/freeze mode. This causes the body to release cortisol and adrenaline.

This in turn can produce a raft of physical and emotional symptoms including stomach upsets, sweaty palms, fast heart rate, changes in mood, inability to focus, poor decision making and feeling pessimistic.

If you find that you’re suddenly suffering from low energy, headaches, stomach upsets, aches, pains, mood changes or you start coming down with way more colds and flu than is normal for you chances are you are stressed. Stress can also affect your libido and cause problems in the bedroom.

What happens when we are too stressed?

Emotionally stress can leave you feeling worried, with racing thoughts, inability to focus, poor decision making and feeling pessimistic. As most of your thinking capacity is taken up by the fight, flight, freeze response you might find it hard to remember things and leave you feeling disorganised.

You might find yourself to be snappy and irritable with your family, or too exhausted to be able to think straight at work.

You might find that you start relying more heavily on ready-meals and quick fix food rather than making healthy, balanced food. You might find that your appetite changes, either making you under eat or over eat. 

You might also find yourself biting your nails, fidgeting, procrastinating or self-medicating with alcohol, nicotine or recreational drugs

In extreme cases, stress can lead to burnout, which is where you are physically and mentally unable to function effectively.

 

delegate

How can I stop feeling stressed?

Firstly concentrate mainly on what you need to do to get through each day. This could just mean having clean clothes or uniform to wear, food to eat for every meal and if at all possible a short walk to help settle the mind. Keeping yourself hydrated is key as dehydration will make you feel worse.

Delegate anything that does not need to be done by you. Cross anything that doesn’t need to be done at all off your list.

If something is beyond your control, don’t worry about it. Some things you can change and other things (like what is happening in the world around us) you can’t. If you can’t change it, don’t worry about it.  I’ve seen people getting stressed about the snow. We can’t make it not snow so the best thing we can do is to be as prepared as possible for snow and then let it get on with it.

green frog

Face the thing that most scares you. If you’re putting off making a phone call because you’re scared of the outcome, then make that call first, so at least you’re not having to worry about it all day. Then give yourself a reward, no matter how small.

Diarise yourself into your own diary. You matter too. Make sure you have some time in your day every day which is dedicated to your own self care. Block this time out for yourself and guard it with your life! To find out more about why you should prioritise your own self care please click here

Essential Oil blends for stress and anxiety

 

Essential Oils can help with calming stress and reducing anxiety. Here are some of my favourite Anti-stress and anti-anxiety blends that you can create for yourself at home.

Please ensure that you speak to a qualified Aromatherapist before using essential oils if you are taking any medication or are pregnant.

Some essential oils are best diffused in a diffuser and others work well blended with a carrier oil and massaged in.

what is reflexology

Take some time out for yourself. Relax with a Reflexology treatment

Having a regular Reflexology treatment can be beneficial for stress.  Reflexology is a gentle, non-invasive treatment which has an all over body effect, despite being delivered via the feet, hands or face! It helps restore balance to the body and is generally deeply relaxing. It can be good for calming down stress and reducing anxiety. Having a massage or reiki treatment can also be great for reducing stress as they all have a calming effect on the nervous system. It can also be very beneficial to take an hour off the stress that you’re facing and to be able to relax a while.

If you are in the Boroughbridge or Ripon area and would like to experience a Reflexology treatment for yourself in the comfort of your own home, please contact me and I’ll get you booked in.

If you’ve not experienced Reflexology before read my article ‘What is Reflexology’

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What is Reflexology?

What is Reflexology?

What is reflexology?

Reflexology is a gentle yet powerful complementary therapy which uses systematic pressure on specific points of the feet, face, hands or ears to bring the body back into balance. This is combined with a range of massage techniques to warm up the muscles and tissues and to help relax and restore you. It has an all-over-body effect yet doesn’t involve you taking any clothes off apart from your shoes and socks! 

It is thought that by pressing specific areas (the reflexes) the associated organ, bone, joint or tissue will be brought back into balance. If something is running a little too quickly, pressing the reflex should help to reset it back to normal. If it is running too slowly, again reflexology aims to bring it back into balance. If you’re feeling tired reflexology can help re-energise you and if you’re feeling like you need to slow down and relax it can help you do that too.

what is reflexology

Why should I have reflexology?

There is something deeply nurturing about putting your feet up and allowing someone else to hold space just for you for that hour. In my practice I use hot towels whenever I can. Just taking the weight off your feet, having them refreshed with hot towels, having your feet wrapped in a towel to keep warm. Being tucked up under a blanket (if you like) all contribute to a sense of being safe, warm, nurtured and cared for. A place where you can really unwind and be yourself. 

Sometimes we find that we hold everything together for other people and reflexology allows us to take some time out for ourselves where we’re not having to hold space for anyone else. We’re not having to work out what’s for dinner or how we’re going to pay the electric bill. We  just have our feet wrapped up in a towel, there may be some soft music playing in the background (you get to choose whether you’d like this or not, some people welcome silence) you’re warm, you’re nurtured, all you need to do is let go and relax.

wrapped up in a blanket

What is Reflexology good for?

As reflexology is usually deeply relaxing, it can help the body start to unwind. Releasing tense muscles, lifting low mood and calming busy minds. It can allow you to take a little time out from your daily life. It is good for helping improve your sense of wellbeing and can be helpful in restoring good sleep patterns. It is also great for relieving stress. 

Stress has a massive impact on the body and mind, having many potentially negative effects from raising blood sugar levels to increasing blood pressure, increasing your chances of having a heart attack, a stroke or for you to need to take time off work. 

Foot Reflexology with Sarah Cooper in Boroughbridge

How often should I have reflexology?

Essentially it is up to you, however reflexology does have a cumulative effect. To see the best results and to maximise the effectiveness of your treatments it would be advantageous to book yourself in regularly.

If you have a specific issue that you would like some help with, it may be beneficial for you to initially have a series of 4 or 6 treatments spaced weekly to make maximum impact. These could be followed up with a fortnightly or monthly maintenance treatment. 

Ideally if you have no specific issues and just need a maintenance treatment you’d have a treatment every 3-4 weeks.

I offer a package where you can buy 6 treatments and save £20 which can help with budgeting. 

reflexology may be covered by your health insurance plan

Check your health insurance, some companies include Reflexology!

If you have health insurance either privately or as a benefit through your work It is worth noting that some health insurance providers offer cash-back on Reflexology treatments but please double check this before booking your appointment as I will need paying on the day of the treatment (you then send the insurance company the receipt and they pay you back) Imagine being able to have regular reflexology treatments at no extra cost! 

 

If you would like Further Information or to Book an Appointment  please use the buttons below

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Top 3 Essential Oil Blends for Stress and Anxiety

Top 3 Essential Oil Blends for Stress and Anxiety

Top 3 Essential Oil Blends for Stress and Anxiety

If you are suffering from stress and anxiety there are essential oil blends that you can create for yourself at home to help with this. 

A word of caution before we start

If you have any medical conditions, are pregnant, are taking any medications, (including chemotherapy)using any homeopathic remedies are under 18 or elderly please seek advice from a qualified Aromatherapist before use. Essential oils should not be used internally (do NOT eat or drink them) and should not be used neat on skin as a general rule.

For more essential oil safety tips please click here

Introduction to stress and anxiety-busting essential oils

There are several great essential oils that will help with stress and anxiety, so first I’d like to introduce some of them. 

bergamot

Bergamot Essential Oil. 

Bergamot essential oil comes from the peel of bergamot fruit. Bergamot is a similar shape to a pear, but with skin that has the texture of oranges. If you’re familiar with Earl Grey tea, that is what it smells like (because Earl Grey is flavoured with Bergamot!) 

It has a fresh, citrusy, uplifting fragrance and is perfect when you need to feel calm, without being sleepy. It works well in a diffuser or oil burner and is also good in baths and massage oils. It blends well with other citrus fruits as well as eucalyptus, geranium and lavender.

geranium

Geranium Essential Oil

Geranium has a floral smell, and is great for helping to balance the hormones, especially in women. It is thought to help regulate and normalise periods and lift menopause symptoms such as low mood. As it has an effect on the hormones, care should be taken if using HRT.

lavender essential oil

Lavender Essential Oil 

Lavender is a very popular essential oil, great for relaxing and calming frayed nerves. Useful in small doses, especially at night time to help you get restful sleep.

Orange Essential oil

Orange essential oil is a wonderfully uplifting oil. It is like a ray of sunshine in a bottle. It’s great when you need a boost during the day. Diffuse in your diffuser or add to a blend and use for massage or in the bath

Vetiver Essential Oil

On its own vetiver can be quite woody and dark but when it’s added to blends it can  help aid restful sleep and is often used in bedtime blends or for relaxing baths.

neroli essential oil

Neroli Essential Oil 

Neroli is made using the delicate blossom of the orange tree. It is calming and relaxing and great for relieving stress and tension. 

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense has a spiritual feel to it and is often used in churches. Great for mature skin, the respiratory system, for calming anxiety and reducing stress. It smells like the sort of incense you find burned in churches. For more information about Frankincense Essential oil please read my blog post on the subject

Patchouli Essential Oil

A deep, heady fragrance, often associated with new age shops and hippies! It is great for helping to soothe stress and anxiety as well as being good for detoxification and for the skin. It is thought to help tighten loose skin.

Blends to help with stress and anxiety

massage oil blend for stress and anxiety

Blend 1: Rebalancing Massage Blend

Take 15 mls (3 teaspoonsful) of base oil, I use sweet almond but if you’re allergic to nuts grapeseed or sunflower are good alternatives.

Add 2 drops of bergamot essential oil, 2 drops of geranium essential oil and 3 drops of lavender essential oil. Stir gently. Use for massage. 

Blend 2: Calm down handbag blend

This is a really lovely blend to keep in a rollerball bottle in your handbag so you can use it when you’re out and about and need a little moment of calm.

Use a 10 ml glass roller bottle (blue or amber are best)

Add 2 drops of neroli essential oil, 2  drops of sweet orange essential oil and 1 drop of patchouli.

Top up with massage oil of your choice, I use sweet almond, but if you’re allergic to nuts use grapeseed or sunflower instead.

Replace the roller mechanism and the cap and gently roll the roller bottle between your hands to disperse the essential oil. The roller is then ready for use.

Apply to the pulse points on your wrists.

diffuser

Blend 3: Stress Relief Diffuser Blend

Add 2 drops of Neroli, 1 drop of Frankincense and 1 drop of Bergamot to the water in your diffuser and diffuse.

For best results diffuse intermittently throughout the day.

As the effects of diffusers on pets is still up in debate, it would be sensible not to diffuse any essential oils in the presence of pets. 

Riding the Rollercoaster of life

Riding the Rollercoaster of life

Do you feel like you’re Riding the Rollercoaster of life?

 Like one minute you’re doing just fine and enjoying the ride and the next minute you just want to get off? You’re not alone. Let me ask you something

How are you doing? I mean really, how are you doing? 

The more people I’ve asked this of recently, the more I’m hearing that people feel like they’re riding a bit of an emotional rollercoaster at the moment. Like some of the time they’re ok and feeling like they’re coping well, and then suddenly there’s a lurch or a twist and they’re wanting to retreat to the sofa or the garden. I’ve felt the same. 

There’s been days when I’ve been able to tackle things and other days when chosing which colour nail varnish to wear has been about all I can manage. On really bad days I’ve not been able to manage  even that. So if you’re feeling a similar feeling I just wanted to say that you’re by no means alone. 

There’s been a lot of cliches being thrown around like ‘we’re all in the same boat’ (thankfully we’re not all in the same boat or it would a) have to be a pretty big boat and b) it would probably sink! 

We’ve all been given a similar thing to deal with but as we’re not coming from exactly the same place, we don’t have the same resources available to us. 

For some people staying at home will be completely normal, I know some people have life-limiting conditions that prevent them from going out or going out often. For others it will be a complelety new experience. For some people it will be welcomed. I know that before the lockdown happened I was tired to my bone and so when I was told to stay home for a while I embraced that as there was so little time in my life when I was able to do that. 

Facing new challenges

Staying at home brought new challenges. I was used to leaving the house frequently, I was used to seeing my lovely clients, I was used to just popping out and getting a coffee or meeting friends at a restaurant for a meal. Or just nipping to the library to get a new book. Or to go for a swim.

So to stay at home, felt on the one hand really good but then again it also felt weird. I ended up feeling a bit like Shroedinger. I wanted to stay home but go out at the same time. It made no sense! 

At first I found I needed to fill my days with things. I completed a very short Psychology course, I created a cooking website, I attended online networking meetings, looked online for Yoga classes, I tried an online Belly Dance class (which was great fun). I even started listening to a French Radio Station to improve my rather rusty French. But then, after a while,  I found I was tired. Physically, emotionally, mentally tired.

Every time I looked on the internet someone seemed to be shouting at me to do this, do that, do something else. I felt like I had every single item of electrical equipment in the whole house, on all at the same time. 

Can you imagine what it felt like? Imagine having all the radios on playing different stations, the microwave binging in the corner, all the tvs on full blast, the washer on spin cycle. A power drill buzzing. That’s how it felt when I looked at the internet with all that noise. So then I realised that maybe this wasn’t what I needed to do. I didn’t need to listen to all the noise from the internet, I didn’t need people telling me what I needed to do, because only I knew what I needed to do.

What I did need to do was to go with the flow of how I was feeling day to day. I didn’t need to feel like I had to be doing something constantly. Eventually I figured out that it was ok to do nothing sometimes. Some days I needed two naps and I realised that that was fine too. Things feel better now that I’ve realised (as someone put it the other day somewhere on the internet!) that this is a ‘pandemic not a productivity contest’ Now that I’ve realised that actually no matter how I’m feeling day to day, this too shall pass, things are feeling a lot calmer. 

Over to you!

I’d love to hear how you’re coping, what your experiences have been and what has worked for you. 

Please feel free to email me at info@sarahcooper.co.uk it will go straight to my inbox and be completely confidential.

How to remain grounded during times of stress

How to remain grounded during times of stress

How do you remain grounded at times of stress?

When faced with a time of stress it can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t need to be that way. Here are some tips to help you remain grounded during times of stress.

Remember this too will pass

Thinking back to every other storm, stressful situation or crisis that we’ve suffered during our lifetimes we can see that eventually things start to calm down, the tricky situation gets resolved and the stress goes away.  

Things will get back to normal, eventually, and calm will be restored. This madness cannot last forever. So for now, the best thing would be to find a way to positively embrace it or at least try not to fight against it. It’s like we have to become surfers for a while, and just simply surf the wave that life has thrown at us…

in every crisis there is an opportunity

There is an opportunity in every crisis

Sometimes it can help to actively look for the good things amongst the bad things.

Stressful times can bring about the opportunity for connection and compassion, for reaching out to others in our area. It may give an opportunity to take a step back and reflect on what is working well in life right now and what things could be changed.

It can also give an opportunity to just rest and take some time out for other things. If you’re a front-line worker and having to work all hours the opportunity may be to reach out for support rather than to rest and relax right now. 
image of woman starting a project

Finish up, start or ditch projects

At times like these, it can be a great opportunity to either start new projects, finish old projects or decide, finally, that you really are never going to finish off making that rag rug you started in 1990 and ditch it completely. If you aren’t going to finish it, someone else may be able to, so consider asking around to see if anyone wants to take it off your hands.

Stay grounded in times of stress by learning something new

Learn something new!

There is also a wealth of courses available online, some of which are free. There are also ebooks, emagazines and audio books available for download via your local library’s website. 

What have you always fancied learning to do but never found time to do? From online Yoga classes, Theatre classes, French lessons, Online Free Open University Courses there are things out there to pique your interest. If you suddenly find yourself in the role of Headteacher of your own two pupil school, there are also lots of free resources available for you too. 

woman stretching as she performs her morning routine

Create a routine and a structure

If you’re not going to work/uni/school/college for a while it can be tempting to turn off your alarm clock and see what time you wake up. It can however be helpful to get up at a usual time (or create a new getting up time) and to stick to this throughout the week.

Sleep patterns can easily be distrupted if we don’t impose some kind of routine, even if it’s just a vague one. Without some sense of routine it is easy to fall into that terrible ‘Chrimbo-Limbo’ feeling people get in the time between Christmas and the 2nd of January, where no one knows what day it is and suddenly the most logical thing to do seems to be having Baileys on your shreddies for Breakfast…

Structure your day

It can also help making a list of things you want to acheive each day, it doesn’t need to be a long list, maybe one or two things towards your business if you have one, one or two simple tasks towards keeping your house ticking over and then one or two treats for self-care.

Having a set bedtime routine can also be helpful. If you would like more tips about having a good nights sleep please click here

Woman with her feet up after reflexology in Boroughbridge

Be kind to yourself

Any new way of life or big change to the way you do things can be difficult and for some will cause anxiety. If you find yourself feeling anxious check out my article on anxiety

Write any worries you might have on a piece of paper and write underneath them any actions you can take to help each situation.

Sit with your feet on the floor, imagine yourself rooted to the earth by a thick sturdy chain and above you there is a column of beautiful white light. You are safe and connected.

Drink Plenty of Water, maybe with a slice of lemon, lime or orange if you’re not allergic, obviously! 

Have a hot shower, and imagine worries being washed away down the plughole. Visualise a shower of golden light washing all your worries away.

Carry a smoky quartz crystal in your pocket, or haematite or red jasper as these crystals help you feel rooted and grounded.

Eat a healthy diet, avoid caffeine and try to take a little light exercise every day. 

You can do this! 

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