Our in-house Naturopath and Medical Herbalist Rebecca Baylis shares six easy ways to stay balanced and care for yourself when things are a bit ‘up in the air’.
With all the changes to our daily routines, sometimes our wellbeing falls off the top of our list. We’ve all been there – it just happens when life has unexpected changes. Doing something for ourselves every day keeps us on the right track to stay balanced. Simple self-care tips that you can easily (and enjoyably!) welcome into your day are key.
Being unsure about what will happen can switch us into ‘stress mode’. In times like this, intentional self-care is key to make sure it doesn't impact our health or lead to burn out. For me, the unknown can create some underlying tension, so staying calm and keeping my nervous system in check is more important than ever, so that I can feel emotionally resilient and relaxed. These are some of the holistic ways I kick into ‘rest and digest’ mode to help keep stress at bay.
They’re focused on keeping it easy, with plenty of options to suit all personalities – choose a couple that complement your life.
Being in and around water
Research shows that being in and around water combats stress and induces relaxation. Water in the ocean, a swimming pool or even a bathtub switches your nervous system into ‘chill-out mode’. Scientists describe it as ‘soft fascination’ because water holds your attention but not in an information-rich way. Plus, in the essence of staying safe at home no need to drive there either. Even pretend water will do it – pictures of water or water sounds, try a rain or babbling brook playlist. And there’s a good reason you love those short but soothing showers. A 2020 study in Frontiers in Psychology found as little as 10 minutes is enough to induce the ‘blue health’ calming benefits of water.
Staying with the water theme, most of us shower daily, so this is an easy addition. Mindfulness has health benefits that are proven and measurable. Practicing mindfulness means staying in the present and focusing on what’s happening right now, at this very moment. We can use our five senses to make mindfulness easier. The physical sensation of water in the shower helps bring us into ‘the now’. Focus on the sound of the water, the scent of your soap. Keep bringing yourself back to the present and don’t judge yourself when your mind wanders off – after all, that it’s just what the brain naturally does. The positive effects of mindfulness are huge – heart health, gut health, mental health, stress relief and sleep - to name just a few.
Having a laugh
Laughing relieves stress and improves resilience – it’s proven. It releases endorphins, our feel-good chemicals that boost relaxation. No joke, it’s so beneficial that ‘laughter therapy’ is now a thing. Share a laugh – spend time over the phone or video chat with people who make you laugh. Mock yourself – having a laugh at your own expense means you can make fun without the risk of insulting someone accidentally. So, put on a funny movie, podcast, or ask someone for their best/worst ‘dad joke’ – even faking a laugh can give similar health benefits. Fake laughing is so ridiculous it often turns into real laughter too. So that whole ‘laughter is the best medicine’ thing really is true.
Swapping wine for a walk
Try switching your regular wine for a walk. This easy swap gives double benefit, exercise is proven to help your body deal with stress, plus you’re reducing alcohol intake. Alcohol can feel relaxing initially, but it’s short-lived because it can disrupt your sleep and overall wellbeing. So, grab your walking shoes and a jacket. Bonus, if your walk is near a pond, or water- you just added ‘blue health’ benefits too.
Easing tension and stress
If you find yourself feeling some extra tension – it’s worth considering a stress supplement. BioBalance Ashwagandha Adrenal Restore supports the body to cope with change and extra demands. It supports healthy resilience, balanced mood and relaxed outlook. It’s a scientifically formulated blend of Ashwagandha and the patented extract Relora combined with key nutrients needed by the body during times of stress – B vitamins, Inositol, and Choline. It gives your body what it needs to help you feel better quickly and respond. Ideal if you’re feeling wired but tired-his was formulated with a holistic approach to relieving the effects of stress at the root cause – by supporting healthy ‘in-range’ levels of cortisol, which can be elevated during stress and uncertainty. If you need extra support, this is a great option to soothe frazzled nerves and support healthy energy levels at the same time.
Prioritising sleep and rest
We all know that sleep is important for wellness – stacks of research show its benefits. But knowing it and putting it into action can be two different things. Sometimes we don’t prioritise it – it slips down the list and lands at the bottom. I find that reminding myself about the benefits of sleep is a useful prompt, it helps me stay motivated to keep it a priority. Here’s a list to help with this. Maybe put your favourite (or all of them) onto a post-it for your fridge.
4 great reasons to prioritise sleep
Keep these in mind when you’re tempted to get less than the recommended 7-8 hours.
- Clarity and focus
Lots of studies show that proper sleep optimises brain function, this includes retention and decision making. We’ve all noticed our brains are quicker when our sleep is good.
- Weight management
It seems unrelated, but research has linked short sleep duration, or not enough sleep with weight gain. Plenty of studies show that getting the recommended amount of sleep helps with healthy weight management.
- Happy and calm mood
Sleep and mood are intrinsically linked. Our overall mental health is also tied in with getting enough sleep, including feeling relaxed and happy.
- Healthy Skin ageing
Studies show that people have less visible signs of ageing and are also happier with their appearance when they’ve slept better. So, getting enough sleep helps us look more youthful and feel more confident, which is pretty compelling.
Sleep Cycle Restore
If your sleep hasn’t been ideal lately, a supplement that supports a good night’s sleep could be just the ticket. Unexpected disruptions to our lives can affect our natural sleep cycles. Normally our circadian rhythm tells us when it’s time to be alert and wakeful and when it’s sleepy time. But stress can disrupt this in-built system and leave our sleep cycle a bit mixed up. BioBalance Sleep Cycle Restore is a wholefood supplement that offers support for the many causes of poor sleep, especially stress. It supports falling asleep, and staying asleep – or as scientists call it, sleep onset and sleep quality. If you’re dealing with mind chatter when you need to sleep and feeling shattered during the day, this helps switch off a busy mind so you can rest easy.
For the night owl
If you’re a ‘night owl’ who comes alive at night, how about a ‘bed-time soon’ alarm on your phone? Set it for 30 mins to 1 hour before sleep time, it’s useful to signal wind-down time. For me, I often find it conveniently sounds just as I’m tempted to watch another episode of a series or start a house plant re-shuffle.
It’s super important to keep wellbeing at the top of our list during this time. I’ve found when self-care is easy and fun, I’m more likely to stay on track with it. Simple things can make a huge difference for our overall wellness. Choose what works for you and keep your body ahead of stress, before it has a chance to catch up with you.
Always read the label and use as directed. If symptoms persist see your healthcare professional.