How to survive – and thrive – through challenging times
Whether it’s a toxic situation at work, a relationship breakdown, or even just the sheer amount of stuff you have to get done, we all experience stress, sadness and feel overwhelmed at one time or another. As humans, our emotions drive our actions – and our actions directly impact outcomes in our lives. So being in control of those emotions can really help you to live your best life. But, while having a therapist on speed dial is one way of managing your emotional wellness, there are a whole range of easy, accessible tools you can use that could have an immediate impact on how you’re feeling – and you can start using them today.
“Emotional stress can feel like a never-ending cycle – if we don’t have the time or energy to look after ourselves, we end up feeling more stressed, and on it goes. I call this the cycle of (un)wellness and, unfortunately, it’s becoming more and more common,” says Bex Spiller, TEDx speaker and expert in stress, burnout, and resilience. “Luckily, there are ways we can break the cycle without having to lock ourselves away at a silent retreat for days.”
Here are 6 ways to cope during times of high emotional demand…
1 Start with the basics
“When we’re struggling with stress and feeling overwhelmed, sometimes we need to just focus on the basics in order to bring back balance. These basics are sleep, nutrition and hydration,” says Bex, who is the founder of The Anti-Burnout Club, a wellness platform that improves physical and mental wellbeing with short, actionable classes and courses. “When we feel stressed, it can impact our sleep, make us crave junk food, and sometimes even forget proper hydration. Before trying to cram in a ton of self-care and potentially feeling more stressed, work on improving these areas first. They’re all linked and your number one starting place!”
2 Stay connected
We’re always told that being resilient is an important and powerful trait, and can help us navigate the challenges that come our way in life, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t lean on others in times of need – and talking is one of the best tools we have in our armour. “When I teach about resilience, people are surprised to learn that one of the traits of a resilient person is that they don’t just do everything on their own, they surround themselves with the right people, with who they feel comfortable being open and honest,” explains Bex. “This might come in the form of a community or group, it might be friends or family, it may be a therapist or counsellor, or it might even be work colleagues. What’s important is that you find ‘your people’ that you can lean on for support when you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Being able to talk things through can help us process difficult emotions and let them go.”
3 Try a natural flower essence
Flower essences are perfect for anyone looking to add something a bit more natural to their self-care routine and Dr Bach’s flower essences have been used since the 1930s to support during emotional and challenging times. Dr Bach is best known for creating RESCUE Remedy – a combination of five natural flower essences, ideal for anyone needing a helping hand during times of emotional demand. The RESCUE Night blend combines the original RESCUE flower essences with the White Chestnut Bach flower essence, to calm a racing mind so you can switch off at night time. Today it is used by millions worldwide and RESCUE is proud to be the UK’s No.1 Emotional Wellbeing brand*.
Bach Original Flower Remedies
For those looking for a more personalised approach to managing their emotions, there are 38 different flower remedies discovered by Dr Edward Bach (known as the Bach Original Flower Remedies) to choose from. Each of these clever essences relate to a different emotion or feeling that anyone may experience from time to time and you can create your own personal mix to reflect exactly how you feel.
The flower essences are made from wildflowers, plants and trees – and many of them are hand-picked from Dr Bach’s original gardens in Oxfordshire. The key to picking the right essence for you at any given time, is taking the time to recognise that particular emotion or feeling you may experience and matching it to the correct flower essence from their range. Take them directly on your tongue or in a drink of your choice. Alternatively you can create your own personal mix of up to 7 essences for however you feel.
Popular Bach flower essences include:
- Olive Essence – Restore your mental energy when you feel tired
- White Chestnut Essence – Find tranquillity when you struggle to switch off
- Larch Essence – Be confident when you lack belief in your own abilities
- Mimulus Essence – Have courage when you feel shy or fearful about something specific
So if you haven’t tried a flower essence yet, now might be the time to pick up your own little yellow bottle or create your own Bach flower mix.
4 Practice mindfulness
When we talk about staying connected, the first person you need to connect with is YOU. “Mindfulness allows us to be present in our thoughts, emotions and feelings, which can then help us build a better connection with ourselves. Think of it like a friend checking in and asking, “How are you really doing?” says Bex.
And you don’t need to set aside specific time (which, let’s face it, is always in short supply) because you can be mindful pretty much anywhere, any time. A great way to start is to pick one or two activities you do every day – such as brushing your teeth, riding the bus to work, or reading a book to your children at bedtime – and get in the habit of paying attention to what you’re doing. Your mind will wander, possibly within a few seconds, but don’t sweat it. Just bring your attention back to your teeth or the book.
5 Do breath work and yoga
Rhea Sheedy, the founder of Ballet Fusion, a fitness brand combining traditional ballet with yoga and Pilates, has developed a breath-work routine to help with anxiety-inducing situations.
She recommends alternate nostril breathing. “Nostril breathing is known in some yoga practices as ‘nadi shodhana’ which in sanskrit means ‘channel purification.’ It’s thought to help promote balance, clarity and relaxation. A great exercise to do before entering a crowded space, before a big meeting or presentation and lovely to calm you down before bed,” Rhea explains.
Practising yoga helps hugely with releasing and balancing your emotions and different poses can help directly with different feelings. Warrior 2, for example, helps with courage and confidence and helps with you find peace in difficult times, while Camel Pose helps to heal a heavy heart. This posture is a heart opener that encourages us to open up feelings of compassion, love, acceptance and forgiveness, some of which might be repressed. It can make people feel very emotional. Child’s pose, meanwhile, is a comforting pose, one your body naturally wants to do in response to tough emotions, and that helps with grief and sadness.
6 Write about it
Regular journalling is a wonderful tool and can be especially effective for people who struggle to talk about how they feel, and can encourage reaching out for support. Writing can release emotions and help you process them and understand them better, plus it can help to stop over-obsessing about a difficult situation or experience.
What’s more, you get to know yourself by revealing your most private fears, thoughts, and feelings. Look at your writing time as personal relaxation time. It’s a time when you can de-stress and wind down. Write in a place that’s relaxing and soothing, so you can look forward to your journalling time.
RESCUE® is the UK’s No. 1 Emotional Wellbeing Brand* with an array of sprays, droppers and pastilles available, for support day or night. Visit rescueremedy.com. All 38 Bach™ Original Flower Remedies can be used in conjunction with RESCUE Remedy® to create your own personalised mix. Visit bachremedies.co.uk for more information
*IRI value sales 52 weeks to w/e 19th March 2022. [email protected]