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OBW MAGAZINE

HOW A ROUTINE CAN HELP IN STRESSFUL TIMES

HOW A ROUTINE CAN HELP IN STRESSFUL TIMES

Finding time for yourself is a common issue, but this can be exacerbated even further when we’re under pressure. The irony is that those turbulent times are when we need more focus on routine. Because it allows us to maintain some equilibrium.

At one point or another, we've all felt out of control in the face of adversity. Often, we turn to props or coping mechanisms that wouldn’t feature as highly in your usual everyday life. As Kayti Christian, Editor at The Good Trade points out, “Habits and routines are so easily tossed out the window in times of stress. But what if we flipped the script? What if, instead of forgoing the practices that ground us during times of peace and ‘normality,’ we prioritise them amidst stress?”

Because that’s the thing. Routine can help us stay afloat when we’re stressed. By knowing that we have the power to invest in our own mental and physical wellbeing, we can keep some rhythm to our lives.  

Adding self-care to your routine

The term self-care has received a lot of attention, and billions of pounds of investment to boot, in recent years. While that is in no way bad, the sensibilities around what self-care means have become muddied in the process.

Self-care isn’t just about bubble baths and face masks, although they may well have their place for you. It’s about setting an appointment to indulge in whatever practices feel healthful. And the key is to make it part of your routine.

As this article points out, “something is grounding about those typical self-care things.” In this case, it’s a mini study into how sufferers of chronic illnesses use beauty routines to both insert a sense of control over their lives, but also feel and look good, regardless of what’s going on with their bodies.

Making more time for yourself

This rather limited view on self-care is important to debunk before you set off on your journey to define your routine. We especially love the idea of creating daily, weekly and monthly rituals to work towards a mindset of everyday self-care. These are something you can turn to any time, especially at difficult points in your life. Even better, they can be as uncomplicated as having a quiet morning coffee each day.

Meditation is another effective and accessible way to tackle stress. We love what best-selling author and TV star, Penn Jillette, has to say on his experience with Headspace. Because it shows that you don’t have to be “into” meditation to benefit from it. And it doesn’t need to take up hours of your day.

“I tried a few apps and finally ended up using one called Headspace. The guy has a hippie voice, but there’s no god, or Transcendental or Krishna in the app – it just helps calm and focus my mind. I don’t feel like there’s that much work to do.”

And the truth is sometimes it can be difficult to fit things like this in. Unprecedented events, illness, small children, variables like this can throw things off-kilter in an instant. So, it’s about doing what you can and trying not to pile the pressure onto the good things in life, like taking care of yourself.

At-home self-care inspo

There are other ways to work a regular gear shift into your life, without the need to leave your four walls. Unless you choose to, of course.

Here are a few ideas that can easily slot into your routine:

  • DIY facials – before you stock up on a million beauty products, remember, we have plenty of ingredients in our store cupboards that can be used in homemade beauty treatments.

As our recent chat to global makeup artist, Liz Pugh, revealed, “A cheap and efficient way to cleanse the skin is by melting coconut oil into the skin, this works well with a drier complexion.” Illustrating the point that armed with the right knowledge, we can pamper our skin without paying a fortune on products.

If you want to treat yourself to something from the experts, oils like Naya Everyday Face Oil are a perfect way to round off your treatment.

  • Create a home spa – a warm bath and a few homemade products can be a simple stress-busting solution.

If your bathroom cabinet is looking bare, or money is limited, try an at-home remedy of olive oil and salt, as recommended by beauty professional Beth Minardi: “The olive oil will maintain a very soft film on the skin and serve as a natural moisturiser.”

You just need to simply scrub it into your body as you stand in the tub, then settle into the warm water while gently exfoliating the mixture off slowly.   

  • Do some face yoga – there’s more than one way to apply facial moisturisers and oils. While they are hugely beneficial to your skin, the whole ritual of cleansing, toning and moisturising can be a powerful way of ushering in tranquillity.

Face yoga is a way of applying products like your favourite oil a little differently. As Beauty Lab Senior Chemist, Sabina Wizemann explains here: “Because facial ageing is due in part to muscle loss, if you can commit to a routine, exercise may strengthen those muscles, making the entire face look more firm and youthful.”

It’s little surprise then that face yoga improves circulation, nutrient flow, and relieves muscle tension among many other benefits. If you want to give it a go, our favourite oils to use include Skinirvana Pure Bliss Delicate Beauty Oil.

  • Schedule a walk – beauty treatments aren’t the only way to feel good from the inside out. Getting out and experiencing nature is one of the best morning rituals.

If you’re feeling confined or out of control, a short daily walk can help you reset and feel at one with the world again. As Alex Pedley, creator of wellness programme The MOVEMENT Method explains: “Looking after our mental and physical wellbeing is more than just working out and eating well. We need to integrate regular practices into our day where we can reset and recharge. Taking short walks is our secret weapon, keeping us physically active and mentally sharp.”

And if this is too difficult due to circumstances, some time in your garden can have the same nurturing effect.

  • Time to read – in a world powered by technology, there’s many an article on the benefits of detoxing from blue screens. Something as simple as unwinding with a few pages of your book before you settle down for the night can be hugely beneficial.  

As Dr Paula Byrne, author and founder of charity ReLit points out, “Books can take you to a different place. They can relax you and calm you, and they can offer wisdom, or humour, or both.”

It’s personal

It can be easy to fall into the trap of overcomplicating your routine. But the truth is, we all have our favourite ways of reconnecting, relaxing, and taking time for ourselves. That part, in some ways, if you remove all the hype around “self-care” as modern-day lingo, is simple to define.

The difficulty is sticking to these routines when the going gets tough. It’s common to be lured off track, indulging in things that give us momentary release but in the long run, don’t nourish us in the same way. Or, they may even make us feel more out of control.

Just as it’s important to remember that everyone is different, and individual practices will appeal to us all, it’s worth emphasising that stressful periods mean we must be kind to ourselves.

Being flexible is the key. As Kayti Christian at The Good Trade rounds off here: ”Routines are guidelines; they are not rules for perfection. Let us be kind to ourselves and gracious with others—in this season and in future ones. May we find peace and joy in life’s simple offerings and the present moment.”

 By Clio Pope 

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