The anti-stress programme at Kamalaya Wellness Sanctuary is one of the best around. Founder Karina Stewart explains why these programmes are so much needed. Plus, she offers her top 10 tips for stress.
Karina: “The pace of life today is incredible. We want to be reachable 24/7: by phone, email or social media. We are constantly ‘on’ and never switch off, even when we’re on holiday. Added to that, we are continually exposed to a huge amount of stimuli every day. This overloads our nervous system – and we’re paying the price for it.”
Irritable and despondent
“Stress has a huge impact on all aspects of our lives. It shows physically, emotionally and mentally. The high levels of cortisone in the blood disrupt the immune system, blood sugar levels start to swing, emotional resilience falls, leading us to become more and more reactive as opposed to proactive. The result? More irritation, less creativity, feeling despondent, desperate or even depressed.”
“Poor sleep is the first sign of stress. Stress keeps cortisol levels high, whereas they should fall at night. So stress causes you to sleep less, lighter and wake up not feeling refreshed. You’ll also notice that you’ll gain weight, especially around the waist or legs. Or lose weight, without changing your routine. If you notice these kinds of changes, then it’s high time to take a close look at your life and see how you can reduce the stress.”
Karina’s 10 anti-stress tips
1 SLEEP: Go to be before 22.00hrs. If you stay awake for longer, your body will interpret it as stress. Also important: turn off the TV, phone and tablet at least an hour before you go to bed.
2 FOOTBATH: Before you head to bed, take a footbath with lavender. Use as hot as water as possible and soak for 20 minutes. All the energy will sink to your feet, leaving your head calm.
3 SUPPLEMENTS: Rooibos is rich in minerals that calm the mind. Magnesium supplements are also good: 300 mg is enough to relax the body.
4 LESS COFFEE: Coffee stimulates the brain. So drink less of it or take a caffeine-free option. And preferably in the morning, not in the evening.
5 EXERCISE: Exercise releases endorphins, which help counter the negative effects of stress.
6 SLOW DOWN: You can’t always be in your highest gear. Change down in time. Set priorities, do things in the right order and take breath pauses.
7 HEALTHY FOOD: Food is fuel for our bodies. So make sure you are putting useful nutrients in there. B vitamins for added energy. Omega 3-fatty acids (in linseed or fatty fish, for example), nuts and herbs such as ginger and turmeric. And, of course, fruit and vegetables.
8 SOCIAL: Social contacts are hugely important. And it needn’t take up much time; a half-hour chat, laughing and having fun does wonders.
9 OUTDOORS: Getting outdoors is one of the best things you can do to combat stress. Spend more time among nature and be aware of all the greenery around you.
10 BREATHING EXERCISES: Breathe in for five counts, hold your breath for two, breathe out for five, hold your breath for one count. Repeat this for ten minutes, at least twice a day.