Stress awareness month

We asked Consultant Clinical Aromatherapist to Summerdown, Shelley Baker, for some wise words on how to look after ourselves.

Shelley says "It’s fair to say life has become stressful over the past two years and when we are stressed our body goes into the so-called "fight or flight" or response. When we lived in caves this response was perfect. Adrenaline is released giving us the energy to help us either fight off predators or run away very fast! If we don’t allow ourselves time to relax and re-set we wallow about in a soup of stress hormones and may experience feeling tearful, irritable, struggling with headaches, poor sleep, feeling tight in areas of your body, noticing changes in appetite or upset stomachs.

The importance of exercise

How do we relax in times like this? Now more than ever, is the time to be kind to yourself, set boundaries and notice how you really feel. Exercise/physical activity releases endorphins and dopamine (feel good hormones) to re-balance the body. You don't need to be going to the gym or swimming pool, simply getting out for a walk, run or cycle will help. If you can't attend a group exercise or yoga class, try Joe Wick's (The Body Coach) home workouts or perhaps some 'at home' yoga - there are so many available online sessions, whether you're a complete beginner or a committed yogi.


Luckily, Aromatherapy and essential oils can come to our rescue in times of uncertainty and stress. Our sense of smell and memory systems are intrinsically linked. Choose happy essential oils to breathe in a sense of uplifting calm; citrus oils are really good as are the peppermint and lemongrass combination in Summerdown Mint’s home fragrance collection. Peppermint is really good for finding clarity and focus; don’t we all need a bit of that? It’s an oil I use a lot for concentration and to keep my head clear. Drinking peppermint tea has also been reported to help concentration and memory. Lemongrass, which you'll find in all Summerdown's body, bath and home collection, is excellent to refresh and uplift and helps our logical thoughts. Time out for yourself A 30 minute soak in the bath with the calming mint and lemongrass bath soak will help soothe muscles at the end of a tricky day - both Peppermint and Lemongrass may have pain relieving properties. Use the time to be mindful; use all your senses, smell the soap, feel the bubbly lather, really taste and savour your peppermint tea. My constant mantra is that “there is nothing selfish about self-care”. Finding ways to relax and giving yourself time are not luxuries, they are essential to building your own resilience and coming through this time."
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