Right now, it’s normal to be feeling stressed. At the time of writing, the UK is still in the midst of lockdown due to Covid-19, and while measures are easing, they’re not quite over yet. That means millions of us are still dealing with stress as a day to day reality, and sometimes it’s all too easy for that stress to become overwhelming. Trust us, we know what it’s like here at Melt! While we’re not mental health experts, relaxation is something of a speciality of ours, as you’ll hopefully know if you’ve ever purchased a Lavender or Angel luxury candle off us. So, we’ve collated a few stress busting tips which you may find helpful in getting you through a very stressful time.
This might seem counterintuitive at first – after all, the present right now is quite a worrying place to be! But it’s human nature in times like this to look ahead to the future, and sometimes that can lead to further worry, especially about factors are well outside our control. Instead, it’s often best to focus on the here and now, and think about how you can exercise control over your situation – such as what you can do, what you can focus on, and who you can speak to. A big part of that is acknowledging the stuff that’s outside your control, and trying to limit the time you spend thinking or worrying about it.
That might sound easier said than done, so allow us to be a bit more specific – in troubling times like this, it can really help to limit your news intake. In today’s age of constant connectivity, it can be really easy to get glued to news headlines or social media feeds, constantly refreshing the page to get the very latest on everything that’s going on, and how you or your loved ones might be affected. This can lead to a mental overload, and end up being more damaging to our mental health. Instead, it’s best to check it a few set times a day, and no more. Lunchtime is a good one, as it gives you enough time to get going on your day, and act on anything you feel you might need to do in light of any new information.
Physical health has a huge knock-on impact on how we feel, and it can be easy to let good habits slide a bit in lockdown. For example, limited opportunities for shopping means that more of us have been understandably relying more on takeaways recently, and it’s only in the last few days that the most severe restrictions on exercise have been lifted. But being active can be really helpful in relieving emotional intensity, and lots of initiatives and new programmes have been launched to help the British public stay active even while mostly stuck at home. You might have heard of the online sensation that is Joe Wicks, who does online exercise classes every weekday mornings to help kids and adults stay active. The NHS website has some good ten-minute exercises too, none of which need you to get any special equipment. Don’t worry about pushing yourself to the limit – it’s not Gladiator! Ten minutes here and there is all it takes, and you might be surprised at how much better it makes you feel.
We often hear about how it’s healthy for us to get a decent amount of sleep, but what sometimes doesn’t get mentioned as much is that the timing matters too. Establishing a regular sleeping pattern by waking up and going to bed at roughly the same time each day is just as important as the actual number of hours you sleep – if not more so! Lack of routine has been a particular problem for lots of us since the lockdown began, so maintaining this sleeping pattern can be really beneficial for your mental health if you’re able to. You can also improve the quality of your sleep by avoiding screens before bed and cutting back on caffeine. We’ve already mentioned about news intake – we suggest not checking the headlines before you go to bed, or first thing when you wake up. It’s best to give yourself a bit of time to process, just in case!
One of the most difficult things about the lockdown is that it’s limiting our opportunity for human contact, and that alone can have a powerful knock on effect on our mental health. So if you’re feeling overwhelmed, even just a quick chat with someone you trust can work wonders. A conversation can provide a welcome distraction from the stresses of your day, so that you feel refreshed and empowered to come back and tackle them. Alternatively, it can help to unpick the issues with whoever’s on the other end of the phone, as you can get new perspectives on the problems. Finally, you could just have a good old vent. Whatever you choose to do with that chat, it’s got potential to do you a world of good!
Here’s something you may not have known – here in the UK, we’ve got some of the longest working hours in Europe. That means taking some time for yourself is good advice at the best of times! But throughout the lockdown we’ve all endured so far, you may have coped by trying to be as productive as possible with whatever free time you’ve found available. And while trying to maximise your productivity or working on some new skills isn’t a bad thing in itself – quite the opposite! – it’s also worth remembering that trying to push yourself to do too much can be stressful, and arguably end up hindering more than it helps.
Make sure to make some time for yourself every now and again. Do things because you enjoy them, rather because you’re trying to hit a target you’ve set yourself. Take the hobbies we mentioned recently – for example, if writing helps you to unwind, brilliant! But if it’s something you find a little trickier, or you think you need more practice, don’t be afraid to take a break.
What we’re mainly saying is that if you’ve got nothing to do, sometimes it’s OK to do nothing. Personally we’re partial to relaxing with a good bath and a luxury scented candle here at Melt, but you may have your own relaxation activities in mind! Don’t worry – you can still get the luxury candle of your dreams right here at Melt. At the time of writing, lockdown restrictions means that our shop and workshop are having a little “snooze” right now – but we’re still here to dispatch your mail orders while stocks last!