How 8 Women In Wellness Manage Their Stress Levels
How 8 Women In Wellness Manage Their Stress Levels

How 8 Women In Wellness Manage Their Stress Levels

The pervasiveness of stress and how best to deal with it remains a hot topic in the wellness world, with studies showing excessive cortisol levels are linked to sexual dysfunction, acne, depression, hair loss, insomnia and IBS. Here, we asked eight women at the top of their game to share the rituals they turn to when stress levels peak.
By Tor West
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Image: PEXELS/ COTTONBRO STUDIO

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Joan Abebe

Nutritionist & Holistic Health Coach

“I’ve learnt to recognise when stress is taking root in my body. A lack of appetite, persistent headaches and an inability to focus are my internal alarm system telling me to take time out. The first ritual I turn to is deep breathing. Inhaling for a count of four and exhaling for four, repeating a few times, makes all the difference, especially when paired with visualisations of a place I associate with happy times. Ashwagandha – an adaptogen known for its stress-relieving properties – is also a game-changer. When I have time, nothing clears the head better than a walk. I’ll listen to a meditation on the Superhuman app, which was founded by Mimi Bouchard – she’s big on meditation and manifestation. Sometimes I prefer to be on a walk with my own thoughts, but the app is great when you want to challenge your brain.”

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Selda Goodwin

Healing Practitioner

“My first indication of stress in the body is inflammation, which appears as a bloated tummy and water retention, as well as difficulty falling asleep, fatigue, cravings and problems with my cycle. If stress is high, my cycle is guaranteed to be more challenging. When I’m overwhelmed, I take a ten-minute daytime catnap with my feet elevated to regulate the nervous system. Doing this sends signals to the brain to calm and relax. Cutting the caffeine and having less screen time also make a difference. Supplements keep me on track and build stress resilience. I take Wild Nutrition’s menopause complex and recently started taking evening primrose oil to balance my hormones. Cymbiotika’s elderberry capsules are also a must as autumn approaches.”

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Sophie Belle

Breathwork Coach

“Stress sends the body into panic mode. We gravitate towards short, sharp breaths, which only fuel the stress response and keep us in survival mode. The key is to breathe in and out through your nose and into your diaphragm, ensuring your shoulders are relaxed. I take at least ten minutes daily to do a breathwork sequence. This keeps me grounded, gives me more energy so I can focus better, and means I get a better night’s sleep, which in itself plays a central role to stress. The 4/7/8 practice is my go-to for anxiety as it builds resilience to stress in the long term. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for seven and then exhale for eight counts, repeating either ten times or for three minutes. I end the day with five minutes relaxing with my legs up against the wall – this is a simple way to reset the nervous system. My belief is that if you can create ‘pockets’ of peace and joy daily, you won’t need a total reset every few months – try using a weighted blanket in the evening, quality bath salts when you have time for a soak or invest in a silk eye mask to ensure deep sleep.”

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Nichola Henderson

Holistic Life Coach

“I recommend my clients curate their own stress toolbox – a collection of anything that makes you feel positive, relaxed, calm and at peace. For some, this may be something active, like sport or yoga, while for others this could be meditation or connecting with friends. If you’re not sure where to start, use your environment. What’s around you, and what’s within a reasonable travel distance that could help you feel good – a beach, a lake, a park? Also consider movement – using your body in a positive way can make you feel up to 85% better, it’s your most powerful tool. If all else fails, practise a time-travel visualisation technique. Jump one or two years into the future and ask yourself if your situation will be as stressful and important then. This is a simple way to direct your focus and attention from where you are now.”

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Dr Kirren Schnack

Clinical Psychologist & Author Of Ten Times Calmer

“I swear by mindful grounding. In this practice, I actively engage my senses by identifying five things I can see; four things I can touch; three things I hear; two things I can smell; and one thing I can taste. This technique may sound simple, but it tethers you to the present moment and redirects your focus from unproductive thoughts. Positive affirmations also hold a significant place in my stress relief toolkit. Repeating phrases like ‘I’m capable of handling challenges’ contributes to a more positive and peaceful mindset. Reading is also a powerful way to reduce stress – the escapism that comes from getting lost in a story helps me detach from the stressors of daily life. Magnesium is at the top of my supplements list. It helps regulate neurotransmitters that impact mood and stress responses, like serotonin, and contributes to a sense of calm.”

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Holly Fivian

Co-Founder Of Club Kokoro & PT

“Self-care for me starts with a 60-minute workout in my studio. Nothing deals with stress better than challenging yourself with heavy weights. I follow this with a nutrient-dense meal and a hot bath using Temple Spa Oils, followed by a cold shower, a small glass of red and a podcast. Alternatively, I’ll jump into an ice tub – just two minutes will leave you feeling alive, invigorated and back in control. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is my go-to book when I’m feeling overwhelmed. I’ve read it so many times it’s falling apart at the seams. I can open it at any page, read a couple of lines and be instantly brought back to the present moment. I also take Terra Nova Beauty Complex, which helps control the painful breakouts I experience when I’m stressed. I take them daily and up the dose when my skin starts to play up.”

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Maeve O’Sullivan

Acupuncturist & TCM Practitioner

“I know I’m stressed when anxiety starts to creep in. I feel tingles in my throat and stomach, and my head whirs with thoughts and to-do lists. Getting outside and taking a breath is the first step of repair mode. If I can, I’ll get outside on my own, away from stimulation – even talking can keep our nervous system on high alert. Spending time in nature always helps. I’m lucky to have a garden and a polytunnel, and spending time here helps me unwind and process the day. I also love sea swimming, especially in the winter – it completely resets my system. My nightly gua-sha routine is non-negotiable; it helps me unwind in the most nourishing way.”

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Emilia Herting

Herbalist & TCM Practitioner

“When I am very stressed, I can hear a ringing in the ear, which is, from a Chinese medicine perspective, a clear sign of too much yang competing against a lack of yin. One of the most effective acupressure points for stress relief is called ‘yintang’, which is located between the eyebrows. Applying steady pressure here with circular motions for around two minutes actively releases tension. I also have regular acupuncture to boost energy and regulate the nervous system – just 25 minutes is enough – and love the soothing sound of crystal bowls to induce a meditative state. According to Chinese medicine, ginseng can help the body adapt to stress – I use it often in herbal formulas with clients.”

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DISCLAIMER: Features published by SheerLuxe are not intended to treat, diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek the advice of your GP or another qualified healthcare provider for any questions you have regarding a medical condition, and before undertaking any diet, exercise or other health-related programme.

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