Monday, February 16, 2015

Five Ways To Have A Calmer Week

I am not sure if I totally believe in the effects of Mercury being in retrograde but my life has been just a little on the crazy side lately. My house got broken into, ( one of my biggest fears realized, don't worry we are all okay). There has been crazy overlapping blizzards where I live, My friend and I have been running into interesting commuting issues on our way to our first two weeks school together and just to put icing on the cake I took a topple down the stairs and landed right on my spine the other night ( major "ow!"

Besides the ache and possibly forming bruise on my lower back caused by falling. I am noticing the ache of stress. The ache it causes for the mind and also the body. The tension in the shoulders and neck, the nagging thoughts pushing you away from finding joy in the day to day, paranoia and emotion ruling your mind, teeth grinding, overeating or not eating enough, shorter tempers and shorter patience, inability to sleep, etc, etc, etc.
In short, stress is not good for the body or the mind. It happens, naturally to all of us. However, it is not healthy to let stress rule over you with an iron fist. 
It is not easy to rid of stress, often I find negative emotions need to run its course in order for us to move on which leads me to my first way of leading a calmer week. 

Acknowledge & Reflect On Why You Are Feeling Stressed 
It could be a giant homework or work assignment or a build up of little inconveniences in our day to day lives that make us feel stressed out. In our fast moving society we are expected to ignore these feelings and pretend to carry on normally which can lead to more stress and irritability. You may forget the reasons that lead you to feeling stressed but that does not mean that you are feeling better. Much like doctors make a prognosis based on symptoms, trace back in your own mind what exactly has made you feel stressed out or when did you start feeling the symptoms of stress? Acknowledge these feelings and reflect upon them. You can reflect privately in your mind or written down somewhere or verbally to a willing friend or family member. Bettering your self awareness often leads to a more positive outlook and opens up the mind towards new ideas and solutions that combat stress. 

The Breathing Technique 

Before I took my first flight by myself from Florida to Maine I was under high anxiety (i.e high stress) Was I mentally prepared to take this on? ( No way in hell) but in order to come home I had to. 
( Stressful situations happen, a lot of times it cannot be avoided). Before my departure, a relative of mine taught me how to breathe. Not just any breathing though because on a plane I find normal breathing quickly turns into hyperventilation. This is a practiced type of breathing called "square breathing". The first thing to note is that you cannot wait till the high stress occurs to start using this tool effectively. It is a practiced skill that should be done at home a bunch of times before actually doing it. Next, focus your breathing so that instead of breathing up where your chest is you are breathing so that you are "pooking" your stomach out for a count of a slow three, hold for a count of three, and then letting the breath out through your mouth for a count of three watching your stomach come back to rest. Before getting on the plane, I practiced this a bunch of times. Now, I will still pretty anxious sitting there on the plane before take off, but certainly during take off where my stress and anxiety is at its highest I closed my eyes and completed multiple sequences of the "square breathing technique" and felt that it helped enormously to calm me down and help get me through my high stress feelings. 

I am not an expert of aromatherapy, but I do know that I enjoy nice smelling things and have found that a nice smell can create a more calming atmosphere in what might be a stressful situation or a stressful time. It has been proven that the scent of lavender has calming properties. I personally carry around a lavender oil roller ball from Aveda in my purse which I find helps me feel calmer. However, scent is very personal. You may find the scent of "fresh grass" or "cinnamon and clove" very calming. Candles are always highly recommended or even reed diffusers if you cannot have a burning flame where you live. Incense is also becoming rather popular as well. Another option is your favorite perfume, spray this onto clothing that is close to you like a sleeve or a scarf so that while commuting you can breathe in the pleasing scent and be transported, mentally, into a better place. 

Make Tea & Drink Tea 
I am sure if you have ever come across any articles giving advice about de-stressing you will have likely to have come across the tip of drinking tea. All different types of tea have their benefits. Black tea has been known to assist with lowering heart pressure, green tea with its antioxidant boost and also an aid to weight loss. However, aside from that. The act of making tea and drinking it is an ancient and sacred art. 
In ancient Japan, the Samurai would dedicate time in a tea house for a tea ceremony (cha no yu) the traditional Japanese tea ceremony was more than just sitting around drinking tea; it was a spiritual experience that embodied harmony, respect, purity and tranquility. It was discouraged that any speaking happened during these ceremonies and the only speaking permitted should only be about their surroundings and not of the outside world. I bring this up because the act of making tea today, although not as much of an intensive and rigid process as a traditional Japanese tea ceremony provides a time to reflect and meditate. To help silence racing thoughts and slow down mentally and physically. Not only will that help with stress but the delightful taste and warmth is also good for the mind and body. My personal favorite is English Breakfast with a pinch of sugar and Coffeemate Hazelnut creamer ( No, not the healthiest but this combination also helps curb the occasional sugar binge craving I experience when stressed out). If you hate tea I also recommend hot water with some lemon or even hot chocolate. I discourage coffee because I find this does not slow down your brain or body and can over stimulate and might extenuate the stressful or anxious feelings. 

Plan It Out 
A lot of stress stems from not feeling organized, letting life get out of hand one way or another. After acknowledging and reflecting there is a point where you are calm enough to start making changes or improvements towards feeling better. I highly recommend a planner (digital or on paper) where you can write everything out. There are things we want or need to accomplish in a week but sometimes stress can rule over us so much that we feel as though we cannot do them. Write them down anyways seeing it all there will most likely look less daunting than trying to keep everything in your head (trust me). Once its there you can decide to move things around in your schedule and be in control. Make sure to schedule some time for fun activities to break up the mundane work or school week. Also, try and keep your schedule reasonable do not over schedule yourself because you also need time to rest and take care of yourself. 

So I hope these tips help you. There are plenty of other things you can do to de-stress. You can try some Exercise or Yoga, watching a movie, having a good talk with a close friend and hugs, ( hugs always good medicine for stress). Its all up to the individual. 

How do you deal with stress? Let me know in the comments below!

I hope you all have a great week! See you soon.

- A 


  1. Yikes! Sorry your house got broken into. That's scary. My week has been sooooo off, but who's to say because of Mercury retrograde? Make tea & drink tea sounds perfect. I will do that right now.
    :] // ▲ ▲

    1. It was a little unnerving yes, but with all things said and done I am happy with the safe turnout of the situation! I hope that your week gets better and that you enjoy that brew of tea, dove! xox

  2. This is an excellent summary, Allegra.

    1. Thank you very much <3 sending my love and thoughts over to you <3 xoxo

  3. Glad you're okay lovely <3 sending you positive vibes. I find stepping away for a while really helps, night time tea (amazing to calm) and sleep all make me feel better, plus lavender reeds - UH MAZING

    Lauren x
    Britton Loves | Lifestyle Food Fashion Beauty -

    1. Thank you dove! <3 Yes stepping away definietly helps! oh and yes sleeping also is wonderful for making things better :D

  4. I deal with stress by drinking tea and enjoying nature :)
    if you want to check out my blog:

    1. Enjoying nature is a wonderful way to reflect and "de-stress" :) Thanks for stopping by!
      - A


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