We are grateful to nutritionist and herbalist Nikki Hill, who took time out of her busy schedule to share her simple tips on how to create a stress-free and balanced lifestyle.
'...above all learning to say “no” to things you don’t want to do and creating time for yourself is one of the best self-care acts you can do!' - Nikki
February may be associated with hearts and hugs, even celebrating Random Acts of Kindness - but 'self-care' can often take a back seat. With this in mind, what simple acts of self-care or mindfulness can we bring into a stressful or busy week?
When we are really stressed and busy, we are running off our stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol - which is fine for our bodies short term, but long term can lead to hormonal havoc, anxiety, poor energy levels and burn out. Incorporating little moments of self care or mindfulness throughout the day or week will help offset this stress and calm our nervous system.
I recommend creating a cosy nook in your house or workspace where you can sit down for 5 minutes and enjoy a cup of tea mindfully, listen to relaxing music, read a book or light a candle.
Book something into your week that you’re looking forward to – a massage, facial, meeting a good friend for coffee etc. Swapping high impact exercise classes, which can add more stress to our body, for more relaxing exercises such as yoga or pilates; learning a new skill such as calligraphy/ sewing/ knitting/ drawing / new sport – which require our full attention, can help us stop thinking about day to day stress.
I love to have a shower or bath when I get home from work to wash away the day. But above all learning to say “no” to things you don’t want to do and creating time for yourself is one of the best self-care acts you can do!
Most of us find it hard to maintain energy levels in a healthy way.
How and what would you recommend?
Eating balanced meals will keep your blood sugar levels balanced throughout the day and this will help maintain your energy levels. I always recommend eating a protein (either a meat or veggie source) with a carbohydrate and good fat in every meal and avoiding sugary, processed meals.
Good quality sleep also helps with our energy levels, so if sleep is an issue, sorting this out is paramount. I recommend ceasing caffeine consumption after midday (ideally switching to herbal tea) as to not affect your sleep. And employ a sleep routine that you love. This could include having a bath or shower and then applying your favourite body oil, listening to relaxing music, journaling, reading a book, avoiding electronics an hour or two before you aim to sleep.
Managing stress can feel overwhelming.
What small changes can we make to ease this every day?
Getting outside in nature always helps. Nature immediately calms us and can make things feel less overwhelming. If you work at home or in an office, take a work call while walking around the block, eat lunch in a park, meet a friend for a walk rather than coffee (or do both!), exercise outside.
I also recommend cleaning up your workspace as a messy desk can make you feel more stressed! Bringing nature indoors can also help improve out stress levels – indoor plants are great for this - scatter them around your home/office!
Another thing I highly recommend is to turn off your phone notifications! We are so addicted to our phone and are easily distracted with notifications that can trigger anxiety and overwhelm. Turning these off can instantly help has feel less stressed throughout the day. Only look at your phone when needed and restrict your time on social media.
How do you spend your downtime at weekends or days off?
I love to go hiking with my family and dog in the Peak District or catching up with friends for brunch (my favourite meal of the day!). I need to get out of my house for quality downtime, otherwise I end up cleaning my house or working! I also enjoy treating myself to a facial or manicure.
We think clothing can be transformative to our mood.
How do the right clothes make you feel and why do clothes matter to you?
When you love what you’re wearing it can make you feel really confident. I love to wear clothes with a gorgeous soft texture that isn’t too restrictive and has an amazing cut or sleeve! I love Beaumont Organic for this reason, the craftsmanship is wonderful - as is the quality.