Every year April is a month to bring awareness to stress – both causes and cures. This year, we have decided to interview two amazing content creators who use their social media platforms to share awareness on the daily.
Alex Light – is a body confidence influencer who is committed to helping women across the world feel better in their own skin.
Stina Sanders – is a psychotherapist and author using her platform to share advice and raise awareness on different types of stress and anxiety.
How do you incorporate self-care into your daily routine?
It can be difficult to fit self-care into your daily routine – life takes over, you know how it is – but I know for a fact that when I do, I’m much happier and grounded. I try and start every day with two minutes of guided breathing on an app called Breathwkr. If I want to do more, I can, but I only ever make myself do two, as I find that the most sustainable practice for me. I then take my little pup Betty out for a walk to clear my head before the day begins. I take a break when I eat my lunch to watch something on YouTube and I might even do ten minutes of playing the piano. I think it’s important to recognise that self-care doesn’t have to just be meditation and bubble baths (although it can be, of course!) and you need to find what works for you. I love to end the day with two minutes of breathing, too.
What experiences of stress have you encountered and how do you combat it?
I do, and always have suffered with anxiety, so managing my stress levels is vital for me. Guided breathing is incredibly helpful – it helps relax the nervous system which in turn, calms the mind and body – and I like to fit in meditation when I can, too. Meditation I find much harder as it gives me more space for my mind to wander, so I must be in the right headspace to try, but I know that it really helps me. Other little things I like to do is talk to someone – I’m lucky to have a good support system who I can offload to when things just feel too much.
What are your favourite ways to unwind after a busy day?
At the end of a busy day, chilling on the sofa with Betty and my husband Dave and watching something on TV with a cup of tea and a biscuit feels absolutely wonderful. It’s so relaxing, and that’s also big part of self-care for me. Shutting my laptop, turning my phone off and just being still and calm and not having to think is lovely. Again – self-care if what works for you, and I think it’s really beneficial to explore what that looks like for you, rather than going with traditional examples of self-care.
How do you incorporate self care into your routine?
With the nature of my job, incorporating self-care into my daily routine is vital. I always make time for myself – whether that’s blocking out an hour in my calendar to go to the gym, or having a digital detox in the evening or for a couple of days. Every day I’m conscious of eating healthy and I religiously stick to my skin care routine. You will never catch me sleeping in make-up!
What experience of stress have you experience and how do you combat it?
When I’m stressed I tend to get tension headaches, so to combat this I schedule in a massage every week to relax. Alongside this I make sure I exercise, that really helps to get rid of stress and helps me to sleep. I love yoga and meditating – breath work really helps me to de stress.
How do you manage your stress with work load?
I use a CBT technique, where I write a list of all the tasks I need to complete. I then prioritise this list and ensure that along with my workload I schedule self-care. Even if it’s an hour walk, breath work, reading a book or listening to music. Anything that switches me off from work.
What are your favourite ways to destress?
I love exercise so either a workout at the gym or a run outside, really helps me to wind down. Followed by a bubble bath. I also love nothing more than to whack on my MZ Skin face mask, turn off my phone and watch a film or series.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learnt about stress?
I’ve learnt two things. The first is stress catches up with you. If you don’t listen to your body whether that’s tension headaches, skin flare ups or tiredness, stress will catch up with you and burn you out. That’s why self-care is so important and needs to be part of your lifestyle. The second is stress is part of life and can be a good thing (if you know how to use it). Life will always throw obstacles and challenges, it’s about owning it and reframing your thoughts towards the stress. Stress is a natural response to helping us survive. Although the stress response can sometimes be detrimental, it is actually the body’s approach in helping us to overcome hard times.