Prescription-Free Stress Relief: Our Top 5 Tips!

Natural Stress Relievers Without A Prescription

The 4th-8th November 2019 is International Stress Awareness Week, so what better time to remind ourselves of the importance of stress management in our day to day lives? We treat our skin with 5-step routines, take time for dental hygiene morning and night, but how many of us are just as diligent with looking after our mental wellbeing?

Gallup’s most recent annual poll of over 150,000 people around the world suggests that Americans are among the most stressed individuals on Earth [1]. It found that 55% of U.S. participants had experienced ‘a lot of stress’ in the day prior to being surveyed, compared to just 35% globally.

Such shocking statistics are a damning indictment of the crippling pressures felt by so many of us in today’s society.

But what’s even more surprising is the way we choose to treat and tackle stress, given the options available to us. Despite the expense, considerable side-effects and even the potential for addiction in some cases, prescription drugs, ranging from sedatives to antidepressants and beta-blockers, are often used to help people cope with stress in the 21st century.

Whilst we at Organica applaud the miracles of modern medicine, it’s clear that care should be taken when prescribing medicine for stress relief. 

It’s important to recognize that stress, or burnout, is a state of nervous pressure and tension brought about by external circumstances. As a result, many of the symptoms experienced by those placed under such mental strain can, and perhaps should, be eased by making adjustments to external factors first, before reaching for the prescription pad.

In particular, we’d like to put a spotlight on mental health care that uses natural solutions to relieve stress and anxiety, as part of our campaign for a Natural November. These methods can be much more cost-effective and safer than their synthetic counterparts, coming without the nasty side effects.

So, What Can We Do To Look After Our Minds?

1. Exercise

If you’re in the midst of a stressful period, the last thing you’ll want is another task to add to your to-do list. Nonetheless, exercise has to top the list as the most effective natural stress reliever out there. Its mental health benefits have a proven neurochemical basis: exercise reduces levels of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, whilst stimulating the production of endorphins - the ‘happy hormones’.

That said, we recognize it can feel stressful to begin exercising when you’ve neglected your physical health due to a busy lifestyle. The good news is, just 15 to 20 minutes of daily vigorous exercise will be enough for you to reap the benefits of stress relief. If you need to work up to this, then you can just add 30 to 40 minutes of moderate exercise into your day instead, which could be easily achieved by simply taking a walk during your lunch hour (added bonus: getting outdoors gives your Vitamin D levels a much-needed boost).

2. Establish Clear Boundaries

Whether it’s a heavy workload or the chaotic commitments of family life placing stress on your shoulders (or perhaps both?), finding balance is key to restoring your sense of mental wellbeing. For many of us, technology blurs the line between work and home, purely because we are connected at all times to the office. 

Try enforcing a strict cut off time, after which you turn off notifications on your mobile phone or laptop, and don’t check or respond to emails. Of course, there will always be busy periods where this is not possible, but it’s a good habit to establish early on in your career. Likewise, if your family calendar is chock-full of kids’ parties, sports matches and PTA meetings, ring-fence some time for yourself once a month to help you unwind - after all, you can’t be there for your family if you’re facing burnout.

3. Reset Your Sleep Schedule

Stress can seriously affect your sleep schedule, causing you to stay up late, preoccupied with a mind running on overdrive, and before you know it you’ve missed your target 8 hours of shut-eye. The quality of your sleep itself can also lead to symptoms of fatigue and feeling run-down; light sleep without sufficient periods of REM or deep sleep does not allow your body to recuperate adequately.

That sleepy brain-fog state will only lead to further stress as you struggle to perform at your usual standard, so what can be done to reset your routine? Firstly, we recommend banning digital devices with a screen (including TVs) from your bedroom or setting a cut-off point at which you stop using them before bed. These devices emit blue light, which tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daylight and stops it from producing the sleep hormone melatonin; ideally, you want to give yourself an hour screen-free before sleep.

Secondly, try taking a warm bath or shower before bed, as the resulting rise in core body temperature prepares your body for sleep. Follow your nightly cleanse with the mindful application of a night cream; by breathing in the natural scents of Lavender, Cedarwood and Bergamot oils in our Dream Lotion as you moisturize, you’ll be triggering the production of melatonin and relaxation hormones, and slip seamlessly into a restful, stress-free slumber.

4. Find A Creative Outlet

For those who’ve ever attempted a Pinterest-inspired arts and crafts project, only to find it looking more like a Kindergarten creation, this one doesn’t need to fill you with dread. Creativity is the soothing balm of a stressed-out mind, as long as you take away the pressure of the end result and just enjoy the process of making something. 

There are countless options for those looking for a way to distract and unwind, even if you’re short on time or funds. Joining a singing or other musical group, taking up knitting, calligraphy, creative writing or even just simple adult coloring books are all great ways to take your mind off the source of your stress for a little while each week. This month happens to be ‘NaNoWriMo’ (National Novel Writing Month), so if you love to write why not have a go at starting a new creative habit?

5. Refine Your Time-Management Strategies

Do you ever feel like you’re constantly trying to squeeze more out of the 24 hours you’re given, but still can’t seem to get everything crossed off of your to-do list? It may be time to look at your process and priorities, and whether these align sufficiently to serve what’s important in your life.

Begin by writing down your goals and values, the bigger picture of what you want from life. From there, establish a set of short-term and medium-term goals that align with your personal priorities, to give you a trajectory for your daily to-do lists to follow.

When we write to-do lists, many of us focus on trying to get every single work and household task complete on a daily basis - perfection being the ultimate aim. However, this rigid approach leaves us open to the changing, unpredictable nature of daily life, and the disappointment of not having lived up to our high expectations.

Instead, try to see your to-do list as a rolling agenda, numbered in terms of how important each item is to achieving your personal values, with a degree of balance between work and home. Write your list on a large post-it note that can be transferred from one day’s planner page to the next, or keep it as a notes page on your mobile phone. This way, you haven’t failed each day by not completing the list you set for yourself, you’ve made great progress towards the ongoing agenda of your week.

Another piece of advice for managing your workday is to practice the ‘4 Ds’ when it comes to your email inbox:

  • Delete: don’t let yourself be distracted by irrelevant information
  • Do: if the email is urgent or can be completed quickly
  • Delegate: if the email can be better dealt with by someone else
  • Defer: set aside time on your to-do list later on for emails that will take longer to deal with

But most importantly, the best piece of advice we can give regarding stress is to remind yourself of how well you are currently coping with the demands of daily life, and be gentle with yourself, especially if you often compare yourself to others. Remember: your best is good enough.


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