According to the latest ONS figures, anxiety levels have risen to their highest level since the peak of the pandemic last April. And since most of our stress reliever sanctuaries are closed for now, it can be difficult to relieve stress. It’s time to literally take matters into your own hands: From DIY Reiki to sorting out your own headache, these are the anxiety healing modalities you should know about.
Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses the power of plant extracts in the form of essential oils to promote a feeling of relaxation and calm. The best piece? It’s cheap and easy to do from home. “The scent is so strong because it stimulates the olfactory nerve. The short nerve between your nose and brain signals the limbic system, which is the part of your brain that controls the emotional stimuli. This is the only one of our senses that does this, ”says Emilie De Block, co-founder of Bio-Scents, which sells organic essential oils (bio-scents.com). “It’s also one of the biggest triggers of memory. Each smell and smell is associated with a specific experience, person, or length of time that is repeatedly paired. As a self-care ritual, scents can instantly bring back happiness, relaxation, and calm – many things that are needed in our lives today. “To ease anxiety and promote better sleep, look for pure (not prediluted or synthetic) essential oils in flavors like frankincense, ylang ylang, geranium, bergamot, and lavender, she suggests.
try it: The best way to reap the benefits of aromatherapy is by inhaling the oils, says De Block. This is the quickest way for the vapors to reach the limbic system via the olfactory nerve. To get more of a ritual, add three to four drops to a hot bath or oil burner while you meditate.
Relief of headaches and tension through self-acupressure
Acupressure is an ancient form of massage that has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years to treat pain, illness, and stress – and you can easily do it yourself. “The pressure sends a signal to the body to switch on its own self-healing mechanisms,” explain TCM practitioners Emilia Herting and Maeve O’Sullivan from Escapada Health. “In TCM, Qi ‘vital life energy’ circulates in the body through 14 natural paths, which are known as meridians. However, this qi can often become blocked due to imbalances in the body that are viewed as illness or pain. Acupressure helps correct these imbalances and restore flow to bring you back to a state of well-being. “
try it: The Hegu, which in Chinese medicine means “connect valley” and is located between the index finger and thumb at the highest point of the muscle, is the command point of the face, nose, jaw and mouth and one of the most important acupuncture points in the body. Apply firm pressure to this point for two to three minutes to relieve tension, stress, and headache relief. Take a deep breath as you massage the area to relax and let go of worries.
Commit to morning pages
Everyone took up journaling in Lockdown as many use it as a form of self-care to organize their thoughts and understand life in a pandemic. If you’re looking to get started, there is one particular journaling practice worth your time, and you’ve probably heard of Julia Cameron’s “Morning Pages” from her iconic self-help book, The Artist’s Way. First published in 1992 and sold more than five million copies, it was written as a 12-step program to help artists overcome creative blocks. However, many have adopted his writing practices as a ritual for healing and clearing the mind.
try it: The concept is simple: Write three pages of A4 paper in the morning. It’s a brain dump, a stream of consciousness, whatever comes into your head. There’s no wrong going – and if you don’t know what to write, just write that, says Cameron. Then put it aside and start your day – think about a morning meditation. Many say it’s a powerful way to check in to yourself on a daily basis.
Shake it out
Can’t you sit still Shake therapy, a form of shaking meditation or shaking yoga, might bring some relief. Steve Haines, a London-based specialist in TRE (Tension and Trauma Release Exercises, trecollege.com), also known as the Shaking Mechanism, explains that the method involves a simple set of seven exercises that involve stretching, grounding and fatigue muscles The legs and pelvis display natural tremor reflexes in the body that help relieve stress and tension in tense muscles. “The therapeutic tremors help reset the reflexes and habits in the central nervous system,” he says. “In trauma, old parts of the brain are fixed in defense strategies like fight-or-flight mode. Slow, gentle, natural tremors created by TRE stimulate the feeling of joy, lightness and connectedness and make you more flexible and less sensitive. “
try it: Download the TRE app (traumaprevention.com) to watch videos of the exercises, or opt for one-to-one tuition with a trained practitioner.
Treat yourself to a Reiki bath
Do you just feel a little flat? Treat yourself to a Reiki bath – it might sound a bit woo-woo, but you’ll feel charged and relaxed in no time. The Japanese healing system of Reiki was founded by Mikao Usui over 100 years ago and is another method to remove blockages and stagnations in the flow of energy in your body and to promote physical and emotional well-being. Goop-recognized Reiki Master Jasmin Harsono, founder of Emerald and Tiger, has written Self-Reiki (£ 9.99, emeraldandtiger.com), a book full of self-care rituals and mindfulness meditations that can help with everything from anxiety relief to promote better sleep. Harnessing the powers of the healing hands, a method by which one uses the palms of the hands to heal energy to oneself and others, is one of the key principles of the Reiki system.
try it: Take a warm bath, play soothing music, light candles and arrange some healing crystals (if any). Then indulge in a full body Reiki treatment by moving through the body’s seven chakras – starting at the crown, on top of your head, and ending with the root at the base of your spine. Place your palms on each energy center for about three minutes and use visualization techniques to imagine your body filling with healing white light. And breathe.