7 tips for easing anxiety and stress
As a solo mum and business owner, I totally understand the feeling of being over- busy, overwhelm and the affects that stress and anxiety can have on our lives and the lives of our family and people we love.
As technology evolves and in general, life is speeding up, we need to find practices and activities to bring us into balance. We need to “nourish" ourselves, calm our nervous systems and fill up our own cup.
I believe self care practices are essential, now more than ever.
Stress and anxiety have become one of the leading contributors to many illness’s as well as our mental and emotional health.
For many years, I’ve been practicing many forms if restorative practices as way to manage stress, and feel comfortable in my body. I love stretching my body and using deep full breaths to release tension.
As an experienced yoga teacher, massage therapist, business owner, workshop facilitator, mum and women's group leader, I’ve picked up many tools along way and these are a few of my favourites that I’d love to share with you.
1. Legs up the wall
Otherwise known as Viparita Karani in yoga, legs up the wall really works for me.
I love this one because it’s easy to do at home, it works to both energise you when you’re tired, clear your head and calm and soothe your soul.
- Find a wall…
- Move your bum up to the edge
- Lie down and put your legs up the wall.
- Close your eyes and continue breathing deeply and drawing the breath down into the belly.
- With every out breath, consciously let go of any stress, tiredness and toxic energy.
When you put your legs up the wall, lymph and other fluids that can lead to swollen ankles, tired knees, painful tired legs get released. It kickstarts your circulatory system moving fresh oxygenated blood towards to the upper body, and to your brain cells to refresh and revitalise your mind for clarity and focus.This posture is totally restorative when feeling heavy, fatigued or stressed. I have suffered from lower back pain for the past 10 years and this is one of the practices that I find most soothing and relieving.
We often feel we have to work hard for results, run fast, bust out intensity to achieve, but this is actually a beautiful practice of receptivity.
Let go, and practice doing less, and allow it all to happen as you just be.
Want to add something extra?
Lavender is a wonderful relaxant and a great addition to this restorative practice.
- Place 3 drops of lavender in your hands
- Rub together
- Cup over your mouth and nose
- Close your eyes and take 5 long deep breathes.
- Alleviates headaches
- Boosts energy
- Soothes menstrual cramps (some yoga traditions advice against doing Viparita Karani during menstruation)
- Relieves lower-back pain
2. Deep Belly Breathing
This one’s great - you can do it anywhere.
So many of us are unaware that we are breathing shallow. When we’re holding tension, often our chest and shoulders are tight and we’re only taking little sips of air .
Simply lie down, or sit somewhere comfortably. Close your eyes, put your hands on your belly. Inhale through your nose and take slow, conscious breaths deeply into your belly. Feel your belly rise and take the breath all the way up to your chest filling your lungs. Then exhale and release making a sigh.. AHHHH as you release, letting go of all the tension and stale air in the lungs.
- Do this slowly 6 times.
- To evolve this a little more..
- Try taking the breath in slowly as you count 5. Then hold you breathe for 1 count
- Release your breath slowly to the count of 8
- Notice when you extend your exhale a little by counting to 8 you encourage a little more release and relax.
- Bring all of you attention to your breath and notice any changes unfolding.
3. Use Essential Oils
Essential oils are potent and powerful, yet gentle and when you use a high quality therapeutic essential oil they can be very effective for easing anxiety, calming the nervous system and uplifting your moods.
Essential oils are pure extracts from plants. Their role is to protect the plant from bacteria, fungus, deter insects and slow decay - WOW Natures Defence Force!
They are composed of tiny molecules that are small enough to penetrate the blood brain barrier which to you means that using them actually produces healing benefits that many modern day pharmaceuticals cannot.
EO’s are 50-70 times more powerful than herbs - 1 drop of peppermint = 28 cups of peppermint tea. They are highly concentrated so a little goes a very long way
To extract the essential oil, plant material is distilled at exact temperature and pressure. The resulting essential oil contains powerful properties that are easily absorbed into the body.
Essential oils are a safe, effective, affordable, and an alternative to many synthetic products/remedies.
Suggested essential oils for emotional healing
Lavender, lemon, orange, geranium, bergamot, ylang ylang, jasmine, frankincense and patchouli are all good choices when feeling anxious or depressed.
Another great oil I would recommend is doTERRA Elevation Blend. This oil is has been carefully and intelligently blended as natures anti-depressant. Try using on a regular basis, it's important to be consistent.
- Add a few drops to your hands
- Rub them together
- Hold over your mouth and nose
- Take 5 slow, long deep breaths.
See if you can notice any changes within yourself.
Using a diffuser in your house is great way to get the benefits of essential oils while you go about your day
Simply add 6 - 8 drops of essential oil in your diffuser and have it going in your home. A good quality diffuser should give you at least 8 hours of operating time.
4. Guided Meditation
Really, what our soul is yearning for most of all is guide us to turn within. Our distractions and constant pull to focus all of our attention on our external reality, our things, our drama, our digital world cause us stress and exhaustion.
Do you find it hard to meditate? The busier we get in our life the harder it feels. If this is you, then try a guided meditation. Start with something for 10 minutes to begin. There are so many wonderful options to choose from like Lou Hay, Deepak Chopra and Oprah Winfrey. When we start turning out focus inward we find we have all of the answers we are looking for. We are our own guru. Trust yourself, and notice how you feel your nervous system unravel and new burst of life force energy return.
5. Get Back To Nature
When you’re feeling flat , tired and lazy often the last thing you want to do is move or go outside.
Sometimes the best thing to do is curl up on the couch or in bed if you really need the rest but sometimes its really movement and the fresh healing oxygenated cleansing air that we need to fill our lungs and shift stagnant energy from systems.
Our connection to mother earth and nature is vital to our health and wellbeing.
When was the last time you walked barefoot on the earth?
We are energetic beings and with the fast paced lifestyles that we lead including the rapid advances in technology, we are struggling to process and ground with so much information coming at us all the time.
Go to the park or the beach or anywhere you feel pulled to and walk on the grass or if you live near the beach walk on the sand. Take off your shoes and connect with the earth. Walk though trees or walk through the water feeling the sand crunch between your toes. Take some deep breaths and let go of the stale toxins and old energy in your lungs..
Create endorphins and allow the flow of fresh oxygenated blood to re-ignite your life force energy. Take some moments just to be..
Here's something interesting I've taken from barefoothealing.com.au
It has recently been discovered that when our bare feet make contact with the Earth’s surface our body’s uptake a natural and subtle energy in the form of electrons that have a negative charge – we call this vitamin G. This could be the difference between feeling good and not so good, of having little or a lot of energy, sleeping well or not so well, looking vibrant or looking tired and old, suffering from an auto-immune disease or having a strong immune system.
The earth’s surface is negatively charged, full of free electrons ready and waiting for us. As human beings living in today’s world every single one of us is bursting full of destructive positively charged free radicals that cause inflammation and damage to our bodies. Many of us have become electron deficient and unbalanced with a positive charge.
6. Hug a tree
When I was a little girl my nan used to take us for walks and we always had to stop and hug a tree. Even though we thought this was silly… we always did it. My nan was a very wise woman and an adventurer..still travelling solo to CHINA in her 70’s.. We loved her dearly and respected the things she shared with us.
I’ve now also shared this with my son… Its beautiful and grounding and connects him to nature..for all of the same reasons as mentioned above in tip number #5. Our connection to nature is vital and an easy way to transmute our overwhelmed and overactive energy centres.
Close your eyes and wrap your arms around the tree that you like. Just use your intuition and choose one that you feel pulled to.
Imagine ( or visualise ) any negative energies draining out of you. Take some full deep breaths and connect to the strength and balanced grounded energy of the tree. As we respectfully connect with them, they connect us to both our highest connection plus the core of mother earth, giving us a both a calming and uplifting effect to our energy centres.
To deepen your experience try using some grounding essential oil blend like doTERRA's Balance Essential oil.
Its a blend of frankincense, Blue Tansy, Spruce and Rosewood. All tree oils that draw all the nervous energy down from the head into the body. Encouraging you to relax, calm your mind and ease any tension.
Rub some on the soles of you feet, on the tops of your shoulders and rub your hands together and inhale deeply 5 times.
Then connect with your Tree -
Hug it like you love it madly.
7. Self atonement - Ho'oponopono - Hawain Healing Prayer
Hoʻoponopono (ho-o-pono-pono) is an ancient Hawaiian practice of reconciliation and forgiveness. Similar forgiveness practices were performed on islands throughout the South Pacific, including Samoa, Tahiti and New Zealand. Traditionally hoʻoponopono is practiced by healing priests or kahuna lapaʻau among family members of a person who is physically ill. Modern versions are performed within the family by a family elder, or by the individual alone. - wikipedia
I use this prayer often and I’ve also shared this with my 9 year old son who also uses it regularly whenever he is feeling worried or sad.
Ho'oponopono is a tool for atonement, for healing past hurts and issues, erasing the effects of past actions and memories that cause havoc and grief in our lives, and get stored in the body as tension and stress. The energetic shifts we create also pass on to the lives of others as well as mother nature as a whole.
I use this prayer often and I’ve also shared this with my 9 year old son who also uses it regularly.
If I’m just feeling flat and sad or apathetic, I say it to myself over and over and speak directly to myself focussing on creating the genuine feeling of love and compassion for myself when I speak the words.
If I've noticed that Im being hard on myself, self critical or in judgement, I'll direct this to a younger version of myself. I imagine I am talking to the 5 year old me. I see myself holding my younger self in my arms, cradling her while speaking the prayer to her gently and lovingly.
If I’m worried about another person or having an issue or argument with another, I send my intentions to them, holding them in my awareness whilst saying the prayer. I feel softness in my heart and send all of my love, sincerity and compassion.
A kit that I suggest that will offer you some support and assistance when dealing with emotions or stress is the doTERRA Mood Management Kit.