I love Christmas. But as well as being the most wonderful time of the year, it can be the most stressful. All that seasonal joy is great, but all the pressure on us to get the right presents, cook the perfect meal, decorate the perfect tree – well, it can all get a wee bit too much.
So, we asked Julia Haywood, Technical Director at Tisserand Aromatherapy to let us into her stress-busting secrets, to practice as well as using Tisserand’s De-Stress range of products. Unmanaged stress can lead to an increased risk of both mental and physical problems, such as infection, illness, diabetes, obesity, and heart disease, as well as depressive and anxiety disorders.
Julia’s Top Ten Stress-busting Tips
1.Listen to music: playing music has a positive effect on the brain and body, can lower blood pressure and reduce cortisol, a hormone linked to stress. Warning: best stay clear of Jingle Bells and anything by Slade.
2.Have a bath: immerse yourself in a warm bath and take advantage of this little therapeutic sanctuary in your home. Light some candles and add De-Stress Bath Oil from the Tisserand Wellbeing Collection (£10.95) for a relaxing, stress-relieving experience.
3.Sleep better: stress can cause you to lose sleep, yet lack of sleep is also a key cause of stress. This vicious cycle causes an imbalance of the brain and body and it only gets worse with time. Tisserand Sweet Dreams Roller Ball (£5.95) contain Lavender essential oil, known for its sedative and relaxant qualities. Fill the air in the bedroom with its aroma, place on pulse points or spray on your pillow for a good night’s sleep.
4.Eat right: stress levels and a proper diet are closely related. Avoid sugary, fatty snack foods as a pick-me-up and fill-up on fruits and vegetables. Fish contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to reduce the symptoms of stress.
5.Laugh it off: laughter releases endorphins that improve mood and decrease levels of the stress-causing hormones cortisol and adrenaline, while tricking your nervous system into making you happy.
6.Breathe: the advice “take a deep breath” may seem like a cliché, but it holds true when it comes to stress. Shallow breathing can cause stress, while deep breathing oxygenates your blood, helps centre your body and clears your mind. Use with Tisserand Head Clear Vaporsation Oil (£6.95) or Roller Ball ( £5.50) for an even greater result.
7.Tea: caffeine can cause a short-term spike in blood pressure, so instead of coffee, try green tea. It has less than half the caffeine and contains healthy antioxidants, as well as theanine, an amino acid that has a calming effect on the nervous system.
8.Get a massage: receiving a massage actually activates the body on an internal level to respond and correct the physiological imbalance caused by stress. If you don’t have time to visit a professional, ask a loved-one to perform a neck and shoulder massage using Tisserand De-stress or Muscle Ease Massage Oils (£9.95) for instant relaxation.
9.Be Mindful: Yoga, Tai Chi, meditation and Pilates incorporate physical and mental exercises that prevent stress from becoming a problem in the first place.
10.Exercise: A short walk or simply standing up to stretch can offer immediate relief in a stressful situation. Getting your blood moving releases endorphins and can improve your mood almost instantaneously.
Tisserand De-Stress range is available from tisserand.com