No matter your age or life stage, juggling work commitments, balancing family schedules, and fitting in some kind a social life, your brain is probably at capacity at the end of most days.
You may not even realise the signs, but you’re probably quite stressed. Actually, chances are high that you are – it’s sadly a hazard of the day and age we live in. And, no surprises, stress is no good for you.
According to Adriana Cortazzo, Intuitive Yogi from The Intuitive Room, “the biggest impact of stress is that people’s bodies start to compress. People don’t stand tall as they are feeling compounded by their situation and that has an overall effect on their mood, their anatomy and their spirit.”
And beyond that, it can affect your health.
“Our perception can charge huge amounts of cortisol and adrenalin into our nervous system, which wreaks havoc. Lowered immunity, greater risk of heart disease, a battered digestive system, a lack of clarity and impacts to our sleep are some of the results of too much cortisol and adrenalin,” says Jacqui Lewis , Founder and teacher at The Broad Place.
So here are three ways destress while finding some sanity and calm during busy times.
If you want to up the ante on your at-home yoga practice, Cortazza recommends starting off by seeking advice from a teacher so that you can work within a framework that is going to suit you and the time you have.
Giving your body a good stretch and helping it decompress can go a long way to improving your mindset.
“Getting beyond stress is targeting the mind. We get to the mind through moving the body and opening the breath with awareness and with depth. Yoga is an excellent tool for bringing us back to who we are,” says Cortazzo.
And you don’t need to book into an hour-long class to clear your mind.
Cortazzo suggests the following for a ‘quick fix’:
“Stand up and simply start to bend forward. Let your head and hands simply hang without any tension in them. If there is some ache in your lower back, bend your knees and just hang there. The rush of blood to your head will refresh your mind and the curved spine will lengthen the nerves of your spine, and the overall feeling when you come back upright is that you feel released. Couple this move with some belly breathing and it will only take a few minutes to feel renewed.”
“[This type of meditation is] a profound practice as it releases stress, tension and fatigue from the body every day. Most meditation was designed for monastic living, but Vedic meditation was created for busy people with busy minds. We teach this at The Broad Place and it's the fastest way to reduce old stress from the body and become like Teflon to situations that cause stress, ” explains Lewis.
So what does vedic meditation entail?
“It's a mantra-based practice that is practiced sitting, eyes closed, absolutely anywhere for 20 minutes. It's not about feeling relaxed while practicing, it's a practice that enables the meditator to feel more clarity, creativity and resilience outside of their meditation practice.”
Lewis recommends starting by partaking in a few sessions over a few days with a teacher, and then you can move onto independently practicing it yourself twice a day for 20 minutes.
While meditation is an eyes-closed practice that should be done seated, mindfulness can be done anywhere, in any position. The main goal is to increase your awareness to the present moment, which can go a long way to dealing with stress.
By focusing on the present Lewis explains, “We can't imagine future stressful scenarios or place our attention on when things went wrong in the past. Over time it brings immense perspective and appreciation for what is actually going on, instead of ideas around what we think might happen, or angst around ideas on what happened.”
The great thing about practicing mindfulness is that it doesn’t need to occupy a lot of your time or require a specific space. Lewis suggests it’s as easy as being aware of your surroundings when walking to get a coffee – take note of the street, the trees, the sounds. When you’re in the shower, be aware of the steam, the temperature, how your soap smells. Focus on the details of what’s going on in front of you, rather than letting your mind wander.
In a nutshell, being mindful is trying to take in your surroundings and not letting your mind drift off to the emails you need to answer, the deadlines you missed and the meetings you have on tomorrow. It’s about taking 10 or 15 minutes to think of your present, and just be in the moment (which isn’t as easy as it sounds!)
Carli is BEAUTYcrew’s Editor and has been since the site launched in 2016. She is currently on a quest to find the perfect medium-coverage foundation for combination skin, is trying to narrow down her mascara collection to just three, and is embracing the power of AHAs. You can find her words right here on BEAUTYcrew, and previously on beautyheaven.