Stress is part of life and it’s something we, as humans, have always had to deal with. Through the ages, the many causes of stress have evolved from escaping predators as cavemen, surviving the black plague, to world leaders that, who the very thought of being re-elected, sends us into a spin! If you need some unique ways to combat stress in your life then read on for our top stress-busting therapies.
We were first introduced to the benefits of cold therapy by Wim Hof, aka the IceMan (if you don’t know who Wim Hof is then definitely read our interview here) and cold showers are a part of our daily routine (apart from the days we indulge in a good soak in the bathtub!). According to the Wim Hof Method, you don’t need to visit a fancy cryo-chamber in order to benefit from cold therapy, you can do this via ice-cold showers as we stated above, or cold submersions, either in a tub or by plucking up the courage to try cold-water swimming. No, the Mediterranean in August doesn’t count! Wim says “Frequent exposure to cold is linked to a number of different health benefits. For example, scientists have found evidence that exposure to cold speeds up metabolism. Another benefit of exposing your body to cold is that it reduces inflammation, swelling and sore muscles. Therefore, many athletes use ice baths and other types of exposure to cold as a means to speed up recovery after physical exercise. Furthermore, cold body therapy is also linked to improved quality of sleep, more focus and even to improved immune response.” This is a great habit to ease yourself into over summer when you might need relief from the heat so after your shower, turn off the hot tap and embrace the cold for a couple of minutes before you get out! You’ll feel so energised, we promise!
Working from home generally means there are more hours in the day, which means most people have got used to a slower pace of life in lockdown (an hour extra in bed – yes please!). It’s also given us time to reflect on the modern-day stressors that can affect us in ‘normal’ life – commuting on a busy tube or train, queueing for your morning oat milk latte – looking to minimise these in the future or at least search for more calmness in our lives. Keeping down our stress levels and maintaining this ‘slowness’ will be key to transitioning smoothly into everyday life. Used for centuries as a source of wellbeing, Ashwagandha – a well-known adaptogen – could be nature’s answer to help lower our stress levels and bring about a sense of calm. Said to be used by the likes of Jennifer Anniston and Megan Markle, Ashwagandha’s restorative properties can help fight the stressors of modern life. Nutritionist Libby Limon is a big fan: “My number one go-to herb is ashwagandha, it has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine, but has also proven it’s worth in managing anxiety, stress and improving sleep quality in modern scientific studies. Ashwagandha reduces cortisol levels thus reducing the feelings of stress and increasing the overall ability to cope with it.”
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Sophrology isn’t new, but it’s becoming a popular tool used to de-stress in the modern age. Created by neuro-psychiatrist Professor Alfonso Caycedo during the civil war, it was designed to help rehabilitate traumatised soldiers with minimal use of medication. Lead by a sophrologist, you’re guided through breathing techniques, positive visualization, calming movement and body scans to help reduce stress, anxiety and even help promote sleep. It’s a unique form of meditation that helps bring the body into a deep state of relaxation. BeSophro Clinic offers online classes so you can practice this in the comfort of your home.
Art is such a great therapy to incorporate into your life if you’re feeling overcome with stress. Again, it’s sort of like meditation in the sense that it requires focus but it unleashes creativity which is something we should all tap into on a regular basis. Lockdown has seen this hobby soar in popularity as a productive way of passing time and easing corona-anxiety but we think painting and drawing are here to stay. It’s a step-up from the adult colouring book craze that caught on a couple of years ago but it requires imagination, a skill that we often lose as we become adults. If you’re wanting to don your home with some unique artwork then instead of spending money or someone else’s, why not create your own? It can be anything from painting a picture of a plant you’ve got sitting on your shelf, making it more abstract using colours that reflect your mood, or being inspired by your camera roll from a recent walk.