In today’s fast-moving world, the number of people suffering from mental health issues due to stress is continually on the rise. Not only is it bad for your health, but it can leave you with that icky feeling long after you’ve gone to bed. In a bid to bring a little more peace to our lives, we spoke to Dr Saliha Afridi, Clinical Psychologist and Managing Director of The Lighthouse to get some expert tips on how to switch off.
1. We’ll start with the simplest one - do nothing
Even relaxing has become a ‘to-do’ on our list and that creates pressure. Just be. This can be done by looking out of windows, staring at a candle flame, sitting on the beach and watching the waves.
2. Turn off your phone every now and again
Energetically we seem to be more and more intertwined with our phones. Whether it’s before you go to bed or when you’ve just sat down to your latest box set, take some time to switch off your phone for an hour or so. Parts of your mind that seem active will turn off and you create mental space as you turn off your device.
3. Try out some aromatherapy
The fastest way to get into a relaxed state is to breathe in essential oils. Having a diffuser or a natural candle with essential oils like lavender, patchouli, bergamot, or ylang ylang will immediately destress the body and relax the mind.
4. Use lamps with yellow light
The white light can be very harsh for the eyes and mind and we are constantly on our screens which emit a white light. While it keeps people alert, too much white light exposure can result in pressure behind the eyes and disrupted sleep. Instead of overhead lights, use lamps with yellow light bulbs, dim the lights, or use candles to light your room.
5. Take a yoga class
Our body’s natural response to stress is to tense up. Most of us have muscles that have been shortened due to sitting in front of screens and lack of activity. Attending a regular yoga class will help open up the body, lengthen the muscles and release the tense and negative energy that you’re storing. You may not feel relaxed while you stretch, but after the fact you will certainly feel lighter and more energized.
6. Don’t forget to breathe
Most people are not breathing properly. Shallow breaths from your chest do not allow the body or its organs to get enough oxygen. This results in your body constantly being in a ‘fight or flight’ mode. By doing deep breathing exercises you turn on the body’s natural ‘rest and digest’ system.