Mindfulness & Wellbeing

10th September 19

Quick fire techniques to keep stress levels low when you need it most!

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Mindfulness. It’s 2019 people and we still aren’t looking after ourselves properly. This week we had a visit from the incredible Katie Palmer (Haven Wellbeing Hub - https://www.havenwellbeinghub.co.uk) - who gave us an overview of the types of stresses we carry on a daily and longer term basis, and how we can get around them. Her summary on our Facebook page is below (modified for formatting):

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1. Move - When we move our body, it can help to ease and release built-up tension. This doesn't have to be anything too strenuous, even if its just eye, neck & shoulder rolls. The exercises I went through were; 3 eye rolls c/ac (clockwise and anticlockwise), 3 neck rolls c/ac, 3 shoulder rolls forward and backwards, hip rotation c/ac, each leg 3 rotations from the hip, knee and ankle c/ac, then finish with 3 roll downs - slowly going down to touch the floor as though your back is against a wall then slowly coming back up, an excellent stretch for the lower back, bum and legs.

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2. Limit Phone Time, especially on Social Media - Your phone, as you're all aware, is a great time-waster, but it can also make you feel more isolated and anxious. Instead of endless scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, use your phone to play podcasts of inspiring and uplifting people or watch YouTube video's like TEDx and TedTalks, or guided meditation. Some videos you can listen to in the background while doing other things. Also, step away from WhatsApp groups that you don't have time to reply to or that make you feel negative. You won't be judged if you don't respond, some people have more time than others, and it's okay to turn notifications off.

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Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. Buddha

3. Connect - Use your phone to speak to someone! (I know how weird is that) We text and chat on messenger or WhatsApp, but we very rarely use the phone to call, apart from maybe close family. Set up a buddy system where you'll phone and check in with someone once a week; be honest, everyone feels crap sometimes, limit it to a 5 minutes vent or offload and let the other person do the same. Getting out to groups like this is excellent too but once a month maybe not enough contact for some of you.

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4. Essential Oils - Using essential oils around your home and while out and about can really help to ease stress and calm you. You can use the oils in their natural state, in candles, room sprays, diffusers and rollers. When using in your bath, add to a tablespoon of milk, so the oil disperses in the water. Always check contraindications of each oil, and buy from a reputable source.

  1. Lavender Essential Oil - This popular scent can help ease anxiety and stress. So much so that Royal Berks Hospital uses it on patients in the intensive care unit. Several studies have shown that it can be hugely beneficial to patients who are sleep deprived.
  2. Geranium Essential Oil - A great smelling oil that helps to balance hormones, emotions and uplift your mood.
  3. Grapefruit Essential Oil - It is a wonderful oil to lift the spirit and provide support in stress-related conditions, fatigue, depression and nervous exhaustion. Use in a diffuser or oil burner.
  4. Rose Essential Oil - This oil is extracted from rose petals, and its scent is renowned for soothing emotions, headaches, and balancing hormones. Rose is known for strengthening the heart in periods of high stress, grief, and depression. Use in a warm bath or in a roller with a base oil on the skin to help with mood swings, hormones and emotions.
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5. Breathe - The final thing we went through, and the most important, was how to breathe. Something that sounds really simple but which most of us forget to do effectively. We spend much of our day shallow breathing and only filling the top of our chest with air. When we focus on our breath, by counting in for 4 and out for 4, 6-8 times it switches on our parasympathetic nervous system, allowing our body to go from fight or flight to rest and digest. This is something we can do anywhere and anytime, and will instantly help you calm down.

Whether it’s 5 minutes, an hour or whatever you can afford yourself, take a moment to centre and focus if you’re feeling a little strained. You’ll absolutely feel better for it.

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