Stress is a normal part of everyday life. It is omnipresent and inescapable. Whether you look for Jobs in Canada or Online Jobs from Home should know how to cope with them. Although it results from many different situations, from physical threats to financial concerns and relationship worries, the physiological response is the same in every case. Your breathing gets faster, your heart rate and blood pressure increase, you start to sweat, your body redirects the blood away from your stomach and to the muscles. All of this is designed to prepare your body for immediate physical action, in order to get yourself out of trouble – the ‘fight or flight response. Stress also changes the way you think, pushing your mind into ‘black and white or ‘all or nothing thinking – in order to cause you to make decisive choices to keep yourself safe.
Whilst these responses might be useful if you are under direct physical threat, in most stressful situations they are actually counter-productive. The reason for this is that stress is a one-size-fits-all measure. In our evolutionary history, most of the threats were physical. Now, they tend to be emotional and relational, but the response is the same. This can be harmful since stress can be distracting, unpleasant, and, in the long term, bad for your health.
Either way, most of the situations in which we experience stress are actually not helped by that stress response. These can be anything from relationship troubles, a bad commute, money worries, difficulties with colleagues, or simple overwork. Stress just makes the situation harder to deal with.
There are a number of ways of addressing stress. Of course, you can look at the trigger – the situation that causes it, like the commute or the amount of work. However, these are fixes that will either work or not – and you may not have the option of changing your job. Another is to address the symptoms of stress.
One way to do this is to recognize the effect that stress has on your body. Stress has a physical effect on you. However, the messages that your body sends to your brain also have an effect on your emotional state – it is a two-way system. This means that if you directly alter the physical effects of stress on you, it can relax you emotionally too.
Start by noting how stress changes you physically. It will probably speed your breathing; tense your muscles (particularly back, neck, and shoulders, which can be a major cause of headaches and other aches and pains); make you frown; clench your hands around the wheel if you are driving; hunch you over (as your stomach muscles tense); and so on.
Start by sitting up straight and breathing more deeply, relaxing your face and jaw (you might find it useful to smooth your forehead with a hand). You may not even realize how stress is affecting you until you do this. Adopt an open, more confident, and controlled posture. Relax your muscles – if you need to, do this by tensing them hard and then releasing them. Massage your neck and temples.
These relaxation techniques are really just quick fixes to stress, but the way the brain and body are linked means that they can provide temporary respite to the unwanted effects of a difficult situation.
Relaxation and Stress Reduction in the Kitchen with Aromatherapy
Is your kitchen a source of stress or relaxation? Essential oils can enhance the culinary environment bringing a whole new depth to a nice smelling kitchen.
For some families, meal preparation can be chaotic or downright unpleasant. Changing the way, the kitchen is viewed through relaxing and uplifting essential oils may be the first step to a new passion for feeding the family!
Essential oils used in therapeutic aromatherapy are quite different from synthetic scents and even flavoring extracts. Look for a quality supplier that provides detailed information on the true name of the oil, where it came from, and whether it has been tested for purity.
Favorite Essential Oils for a Wonderful Smelling Kitchen
First, you will need an aromatherapy diffuser for your kitchen, then come to the oils. Look for a ceramic burner with a tealight at the bottom and a water reservoir at the top, or try a battery-operated fan diffuser or plug-in diffuser specifically for essential oils. Commercial plug-in air freshener systems will not work here.
Essential oils to consider for the kitchen:
- Basil – smells like Grandma’s ragu! Blends nicely with other culinary herbs like rosemary, lavender and thyme.
- Bergamot – uplifting and relaxing bergamot is a nice choice when you’ve had a rough day and could use some soothing while that casserole goes in the oven.
- Cinnamon – a great companion on a baking day when the weather is cold and damp and you want something warm and familiar.
- Eucalyptus – on the third pot of chicken soup for an endless round of colds? Add some eucalyptus for its antiviral and decongestant properties, breathe.
- Grapefruit – all of the “natural” household cleaners are jumping on the grapefruit bandwagon! Praised for its fresh scent it is inspiring, energizing, cleansing and thought to be a slight euphoric. Yum!
- Lavender – this popular aroma has been overused in some households but for others it is a delight in the kitchen and the kids settle down nicely when this one’s going.
- Lemon – a delightfully uplifting scent this will leave your kitchen smelling fresh, clean and very light, perfect for warm months!
Bergamot Honey for Earl Grey Tea
To a 16 ounce (one pound) jar of honey add three drops of bergamot essential oil and stir with a spatula. Store in a cool, dry place and use a teaspoon of honey in a cup of your favorite Earl Grey tea. If honey crystallizes simply warm it in a tub of very hot water – do not microwave the honey!
Lavender Ice Cubes Recipe
Remove your ice cube trays and measure the amount of water required to fill them. In this water use a ratio of one cup of water to one heaping tablespoon of fresh or dried lavender buds. Fill the trays and return them to the freezer. Store ice cubes in a zip-top style freezer-safe bag for easy access.
Float a couple of lavender cubes in a glass of lemonade, wine spritzer, or another favorite summer drink. Put your feet up and relax.
Note on Essential Oil Safety
Handle essential oils with care and keep them safely out of the reach of children at all times. It is recommended to consult with a qualified aromatherapist to assist in the selection of essential oils that are safe for adults, children, and those with health concerns. Never apply undiluted oils to the skin and flush the affected area in the event of accidental spillage.