Finding Calm Amidst Uncertainty
During unprecedented times of challenge and uncertainty, it is so easy to be overwhelmed by feelings of stress, anxiety and fear. With our mental health so closely connected to our physical health, it is important to take time to care for our own mental wellbeing. With that said, here are a few practices we can all do at home to stay strong in mind and body.
Take a breath
When it feels like you have 101 thoughts swirling around your head, or you feel unable to keep up with what’s in front of you, taking just a couple of minutes to press pause on the situation can make a world of difference. If possible, take yourself off to a quiet space, sit down and breathe deeply while focussing on each breath. Take as long as you need and notice how tension in your body shifts. Your mind will begin to slow, and you may see a new perspective on things.
Many of us have heard it before, but finding just one thing to be grateful for each day can boost our wellbeing. And it can be the smallest of things; gratitude for small acts of kindness, the food that we eat, or the people we’re with. The aim is not to make us feel guilty for not being grateful for these things before, or for perpetually reminding ourselves that others have it worse; it’s simply to give us something to smile about each day.
Connect with nature
Spending time outdoors can have an incredible effect on our overall wellbeing. If you have a garden, take time each day to enjoy it. Eat your lunch outside, read a book on your lawn, take a closer look at the plants you have growing, or simply listen to the sounds around you. If you don’t have access to your own outdoor space, open your window and feel the breeze in your room. Bring nature indoors by growing potted culinary herbs (like basil, mint or rosemary) on your windowsill to add to your cooking.
Use essential oils
You don’t have to be an aromatherapist to harness the benefits of essential oils. They can be a brilliant way of easing stress, focussing the mind and lifting the spirits. Many people like to use oils in a diffuser or oil burner, but you can also add a few drops to your pillow, a tissue or the tips of your hair. If you want to add them to your skin, just make sure you dilute them in a carrier oil first (such as sweet almond oil, grapeseed oil or even olive oil) and ensure that the total essential oil content is no more than 3%. There are some essential oils that shouldn’t go on the skin even if they’re diluted.
Here are some of our favourite essential oils to use:
For calming and de-stressing: lavender, rose, frankincense, geranium, ylang-ylang, orange, roman chamomile
For uplifting: grapefruit, spearmint, lemon, bergamot, lime
For focus: rosemary, sage, basil, peppermint, vetiver, cedarwood
When in doubt, drink tea
The time-honoured tradition of taking time out for a cup of tea is just as relevant today. Herbal teas in particular can help us unwind and aid relaxation, as well as offering some additional nutrients to our diets. Chamomile, passionflower, lemon balm, peppermint, valerian and green tea are traditionally used to ease stress and anxiety and promote calmness. Meanwhile nettle, dandelion, rosehip and hibiscus teas can give you an added nutritional boost.
Taking just a few moments each day to unwind can be the first step to promoting mental wellbeing. It’s okay to not feel okay, but it is important we all take the time to look after our minds as well as our bodies.