Well, I can’t believe that Christmas is only weeks away. And, I don’t know about you, but my calendar is already being filled with end of year events, school assemblies, Christmas activities and, some where in all that, ensuring Santa visits our home this Christmas!
This is the time of the year where we are so busy that we don’t really have a chance to stop and breathe. And, this can be a time of much stress for many of us (even if we don’t admit it!) as we are pulled in so many directions during what is supposed to be a season of “joy”,”peace” and “good will to all”.
So, this really is a good time to remind ourselves how important it is to look after our emotional wellbeing and manage our stress levels.
Our emotional wellbeing is just as important, if not more important, than our physical wellbeing. And if we are emotionally not in a good place, then, let’s face it, our physical wellbeing suffers.
For anyone who knows me well will know that I have truly high expectations of myself, and those closest to me. And, being a perfectionist means that for many years I have put a lot of pressure on myself, causing myself much stress, and, as a consequence my health has suffered.
I have been on my own journey this year. A journey to become a healthier, happier, less stressed version of me.
And, until this year, I really did not understand or appreciate just how much chronic stress impacts on your hormones – do you?
[Check out this YouTube video by Naomi Judge where she explains the interaction between stress, your thyroid, blood sugar, progesterone and estrogen.]
So, this month, I really want to share with you 3 simple ways I have learnt to help look after my emotional wellbeing, particularly managing my stress that, as mums, we face every day…
1. Include Movement and Exercise In Your Life
In a recent article in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise it has been demonstrated that it is important to stay fit, particularly in relation to ones cardiovascular fitness, especially during periods of high stress.
The researchers demonstrated that the relationship between an individual’s perception of stress and cardiovascular risk factors is moderated by fitness.
When an individual is stressed, they also generally suffer from impaired mental well-being and an increase in depressive symptoms. Stress also raises the likelihood of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure and an unfavourable blood lipid profile.
Interestingly, it is generally during periods of high stress that individuals reduce the amount of time they participate in exercise. Sound familiar?
Therefore, being in good shape, and including some form of movement or exercise in our daily routines, especially during periods of high stress, is so important for our health, both our physical and emotional health.
2. Take Time To Be Mindful
Over this past year I have really become so very aware of just how powerful our mind, in particular, our thoughts, impact the way we feel every day.
And, more importantly, I have truly come to appreciate how we really do have a choice every day as to how we approach the day no matter what is going on. This might be obvious to many, but it’s taken me almost 39 years to really understand the power of the mind.
As part of this, I have learnt to enjoy more quiet time – whether it be through movement and exercise, yoga, meditation or a simple walk outdoors. And, I encourage you to do the same.
Meditation is a wonderful stress management tool to have in your emotional wellbeing toolbox. And, I have found, it is following these brief moments of being still and in the moment that I have more clarity and the answers to so many different issues become clear.
And, it is when you have clarity, you really do appreciate all that is good in your life and that there is a way forward, no matter what the situation.
However, if meditation is really not for you then just breathe, keep a gratitude journal, or find an activity where you can just be present in the moment, such as going for a walk and being aware of all the sights, sounds and smells.
3. Discover The Amazing Benefits Of Pure Essential Oils
The scent of smell is very powerful. It has been shown to have effects on mood, stress and feelings of anxiousness. Why? Well when we inhale scents and smells, they communicate with the olfactory system that then stimulates our limbic system, which is responsible for basic emotions and drives memories.
Therefore, when we diffuse or inhale pure essential oils, such as lavender and lemon, studies have shown, and from my own experience, theses scents can help to relieve stress and anxiety. They also help with relaxation and improve the ability to focus.
Learning the benefits of the many gorgeous pure essential oils available, and how blending them can provide support when your feeling stressed to relax and balance, or, if your mood is low, to uplift and energise, is a wonderful way to manage your stress and support your emotional wellbeing.
Please know – not all stress is bad. In fact, we do need some stress to ensure that we know how to act in the moment and fast if necessary.
However, excess amounts of stress, especially over a long period of time, can harm our health. And, in reality, no amount of nourishing food or supplements are going to make a difference if you do not learn to manage your stress. And if you do not include some form of regular stress management in your daily routine, you will simply be sabotaging your efforts with exercise as well. Believe me – I know!