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Top spa tips for stress management at home

stress-management

We all need a little help managing stress even without a global pandemic disrupting the world around us, but spas are experts at helping to alleviate stress and give us tools to help manage it at home as well. So we spoke to some of our favourite spas and got their top tips for stress management at home…

Be mindful of what you eat 

The body is designed to handle short bursts of stress, but long-term stress can be damaging and difficult to manage. Feelings of being ‘burnt-out’ and an inability to cope, especially amongst perfectionists, but looking after your diet can help to make a difference to stress management. Spas we spoke to, including Grayshott Spa in Surrey and Lifehouse Spa and Hotel in Essex, gave a few key pointers when it comes to what we eat and drink:

  • Caffeine can overstimulate the production of stress hormones and cause heart palpitations. Reduce coffee and black tea and replace with light green tea that contains much less caffeine. Green tea is full of potent antioxidants proven to lower blood pressure and counteract free radicals.
  • Reduce sugary snacks, cakes and biscuits to avoid over stimulating the adrenal glands.
  • Vitamin C is helpful to combat stress and can be found in rose hips, broccoli, salad greens, bell peppers, parsley, kiwi fruit, strawberries and citrus fruit.
  • B vitamins are used up in greater amounts during periods of stress so consider supplementing with a daily B-complex.
  • Fats are used by the body to produce adrenal hormones. Beneficial fats can be found in avocados, coconut oil, butter, flax seed, hemp seed oil and oily fish such as herring, mackerel and sardines.

Look after your gut for stress management 

Experts talk about the ‘gut-brain axis’.   It is a direct communication between the liver, gut and how brain chemistry is managed via the vagus nerve. There are studies proving that our gut bacteria has a direct impact on anxiety levels and stress resilience. This communication only happens however, when we’re not in stress mode. So what can you do to help?

  • Look after gut bacteria by including a range of fermented foods in your diet. These include sauerkraut, kefir, natural yoghurt and some mature cheeses.
  • Eat fibre: it is essential but we can’t break it down. Our gut bacteria breaks it down and the result is that they thrive and we’re healthier. Fibre is in vegetables, low sugar fruit (berries, kiwis, indigenous apples), nuts and seeds, beans and lentils. These are probiotics - fibre that feeds gut bacteria.

Fresh air and gentle exercise for stress management

  • Stress begins in our mind. It’s our perception. So as much as choosing different thoughts is a powerful strategy for avoiding stress, it’s important to move out of your head and into your body. Exercise; yoga, dance, anything to escape the tyranny of your mind will be helpful and the feel-good hormones that are released will help you to perceive your stress differently too.
  • Take gentle, regular exercise.  This can even be going out for a short walk at lunchtime.
  • Get a little fresh air every day. Try a short period of meditation first things in the morning for 10 minutes.

Use aromatherapy to help your mood

“It is believed that an astonishing 75% of the emotions we generate on a daily basis are affected by smell, and, because of this, it is believed we are 100 times more likely to remember something we smell over something we see, hear or touch.”

– Cassandra Cavanah and Beth McGroarty, Global Wellness Summit

Aromatherapy can have a strong impact on the way you feel. In Japanese factories they have been known to spray citrus scents into the room because lemon is very stimulating and increases productivity. On the other hand, rosemary is good for the memory and peppermint is good for brainstorming.

Aromatherapy Associates’ Global Director of Education, Christina Salcedas is passionate about how essential oils can help impact our mood, and certain ones can help manage stress. For example:

  • Frankincense is great for a slump in the middle of the day.  A lot of yoga instructors will use it as it relaxes your diaphragm and allows you to breathe more deeply. 
  • Lavender can help ease a headache, and at nighttime to help you sleep is also a good idea.
  • Rosemary is often used in massages as it’s brilliant for stimulating circulation.  It goes into your bloodstream and stimulates blood flow, clearing out toxins from the muscles.

Embrace colour to manage stress

Naturopath Sue Davis from Lifehouse Spa and Hotel takes the spa approach to energizing a situation, using colours and aromatherapy to boost the way you feel. Colour therapy, using chakra coloured bottles, works by choosing a colour to indicate what your mind and body need.

It’s very similar to aromatherapy that way, choosing an essential oil to boost your mind and body. For example, red shows a need for security and grounding, while purple is more spiritual and governs our clairvoyant insight and gut instinct.

“All colours have different meanings,” says Sue, so “if you want more energy you might wear red for the day, or green if you want to feel relaxed.”

DISCOVER MORE WAYS TO EAT TO REDUCE STRESS

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