Stress Management through massage

It’s Stress Awareness Month!

Stress is becoming more and more widely discussed which is fantastic. As a HR professional, I see more people discussing it but sadly more cases come with this. At least there is more of an awareness about the sheer volume of us who suffer and actually how impactful it can be. It’s also a great thing that people are feeling more able to come forward in the workplace to talk about it and address their conditions openly with help from the business. However, it doesn’t stop here, there is still way too much stigma around mental health, including stress which needs to be addressed and avoided.

So, what is stress?!

Well, we wouldn’t have survived without it! Think about those days with the sabre toothed tigers… we HAD to feel stress to know to fight or run away; flight or fight. Through the release if hormones like adrenaline and cortisol, the rush of energy prepares us for said stressful situation. For example, in modern life, that could be dangerous or scary person in the street who is frankly scaring the shit out of you, you’d probably turn and walk quickly in the other direction towards a crowd of people. I know I would, sod that!!!

My heart would be pounding, as if I could genuinely hear it through my chest and I would notice a change in my breathing. To save myself, my body is warning me that it’s a situation I have to avoid. However, there are some situations where stress is more unwanted. The blood would rush to the required muscles for the situation and would leave the brain and us in vulnerable positions. This is where stress can be detrimental on us; that enhanced cortisol over time can affect our health to points where it’s too much to cope with and can develop into other mental health conditions.

So, shall we stop talking about it like it’s always a bad thing?!

YES! We should most definitely not always assume the worst. Some stress is good for us; before a big presentation, before a sporting event, before an interview. We can actually use it to our advantage.

How can we spot these signs in someone else and help them to cope with it?

  • Negative mood swings (outside of normal attitude, some of us can just be moody cows…)
  • Being aggressive or argumentative out of nowhere and maybe over something that you wouldn’t normally expect
  • Drinking too much (again, no judgements on those who just love a drink, but keep an eye out for changes in behaviour compared to normal)
  • Indecisiveness and dropping out of plans
  • Being forgetful

Some suggestions include:

  • Group exercise classes – take a friend to a boxing or HIIT class
  • Recommend a new album that you really enjoy and think they will like too
  • Suggest a coffee break and talk about positive things, you know makes them happy
  • Complete the 4:7 breathing technique; in for 4, out for 7
  • Make a list; post it notes ARE OUR FRIENDS
  • Go for a walk with a coffee and cake as a reward at the end, rather than a glass (bottle) of wine!

I’ve been pretty stressed over the past week and I have sometimes found it hard to cope. We all get it sometimes don’t we, but it is still hard. Being a HR professional, I do have to go through some negative things sometimes and it’s never easy to deal with, but it’s my job and I have to find ways to mitigate the stress to keep moving and stay positive.

This week I was treated to the max! I was lucky enough to have an Ayurvedic massage from the lovely Hass at The Leaning Tree Organics.

What is that?! I hear you ask…

“This technique was originally developed in India and benefits people physically, mentally and emotionally. By warming up and softening muscle tissues through an oil massage, AYM facilitates breathing and improves blood circulation within the body making it an effective way to release tension and bring us to a state of relaxation.” (The Leaning Tree Organics)

Hass came to my flat stocked up with their gorgeous organic cotton towels and oils (the coconut one was just unreal, I need it in my life!) Hass explained the process and completed the full body massage whilst regularly checking that I was comfortable. It was AMAZING. I felt so relaxed, chilled AND smelt phenomenal…!!

Photo: on Instagram

Throughout, I was taken through breathing exercises and stretches to reach those tight muscles. I was moved about comfortably to relieve the tension from the negative energy. I didn’t expect this but it was MORE than welcome. I felt so loosey goosey afterwards and so zen, like I was floating around my flat. I highly recommend having a look at these guys! They have beautiful products and their coconut oil is from their own ethically run farm in Sri Lanka! You HAVE to try 💝

Challenge for this week? Help continue to raise awareness of stress and contribute to someone’s stress management. Some of the tips above or from my previous post “Managing Daily Stress / Anxiety – from multiple perspectives”

Spread love dolls! Love from, Amber x

Please leave a comment with your thoughts!

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