The past month has been a whirlwind of big changes, amazing highs and devastating lows. Between watching my gorgeous schoolfriend Jessica marry the love of her life, and farewelling my beautiful dog Puzzle who had been with me for over 15 years; I’ve also relocated to a new town, relaunched my business, racked up over 50 hours of long distance driving, started a new side job, coordinated the makeup on a huge and amazing stage production, and been attempting to settle into my new home.
Many of us lead busy lifestyles, and sometimes things get out of control. Exercise plans go out the window, late nights become the norm and limited finances or lack of time change the way we eat. Our appearance also takes a hit due to fatigue, malnutrition and a lack of grooming time. Usually this is when we turn to coffee, Red Bull or sugar to boost our energy; or alcohol, cigarettes, sleeping pills and other vices to bring some temporary relief from the stress.
When we are busy, grieving, or stressed, self care is more important than ever. We know we should be eating well; we know we should be exercising and getting enough sleep. Incoveniently, it is at these times that taking proper care of ourselves feels almost impossible.
The following health tips each take less than a minute. Even when I am incredibly busy, travelling, studying or stressed to the max, these simple remedies help me to keep some balance; until things settle down enough to get back into my ideal healthy routine.
1. Lavender oil. I always keep a tiny bottle of lavender essential oil beside my bed or in my suitcase. When you get into bed just massage a couple of drops directly into your temples. Lavender oil is proven to induce sleep and improve sleep quality, and also has antidepressant effects, making it ideal for exhausting days when you’re feeling blue.
(Note: Lavender oil is one of the only essential oils that is safe to use undiluted on the skin, but if you have sensitive skin or haven’t used it before, it’s best to do a patch test first.)
2. Hitting play on some relaxing music. When Puzzle was unwell, we started playing sound healing CDs at night to help him have a calm and relaxing sleep. I found that with him cuddled up in my arms, the music helped me forget my anxieties and drift quickly off to sleep as well. Listening to relaxing music for about 30 minutes before falling asleep has been shown to calm the nervous system and alter heart rate variability, and has better effects for overall sleep quality compared to silence.
3. Switching on my Himalayan salt lamp. I turn this on when I am working at my desk or watching TV, and also for about half an hour before I go to sleep. These beautiful lamps release negative ions which help to counteract the positive ions put out by all electrical devices. They protect against electromagnetic fields and purify the air, and are especially beneficial to those who have allergies, asthma or a current infection. Negative ions also reduce stress, which is partly why it feels so good to be beside the ocean or a waterfall, where there is a high density of negative ions. Salt lamps are also ideal to use as your night light if you need to get up, as brighter lights and mobile phones disrupt the production of sleep hormones.
4. Moisturise the skin after cleansing. When the goal is to look fresh and awake, the key factor beauty-wise is hydration. Taking 10 seconds to smooth a moisturiser into your face and decolletage can keep you from looking as exhausted as you feel.
5. Highlight. Even if you don’t have time for a full makeup routine, take your favourite highlighter – mine is RMS’ Living Luminizer and apply to the cheekbones, tip of the nose and Cupid’s bow. Bam. Done. It only took ten seconds, but now you look like you’re glowing from within.
6. Space Clearing Essence. You know how sometimes, after a certain person comes into your house, or you have a conversation with that really negative friend of yours; you just feel drained and yucky? A fellow naturopath introduced me to this Australian Bush Flower Essence mist when I found myself living with a toxic housemate in Brisbane. Flower essences work on rebalancing our energy and emotions. This blend comes in a spray bottle and can be found in most health food shops. Just mist it over yourself or around the room to clear any toxic energy, reset and ground your own energy and allow you to move forward with your day feeling fresh and clear. (It’s also great to use when cleaning, or if you feel there is a spirit hanging around in your space that needs to move on.)
Alternatively, if energy medicine is a bit too out there for you but you do want a refreshing spritz,rosewater is the best, and will also refresh your makeup. I get mine from Adorn or Kosmea, and like to take it on makeup jobs where I know I’ll be working non stop for hours on end.
7. My signature scent. Although I adore my Fragonard parfums and wear them often, my everyday perfume is much less expensive and actually gets way more compliments (much to my initial frustration!). I use Vrindavan Patchouli Bliss Certified Organic perfume oil. It costs about $15 from health food stores, is the perfect size to carry in your bag to use on the go and both girls and boys comment on it allll the time, they’re like “Oooh you smell good, omigod what is that? Give me some of that stuff! Wow Amy, you always smell amazing.” etc etc. I’m serious, it’s really good. At first I just bought it because I loved the scent, but I soon realised that I actually use it for the aromatherapy benefits – anytime I feel a bit tired or stressed I roll it on to my pulse points, breathe it in and immediately feel better. It contains essential oils of lemongrass and patchouli in a base of camellia oil, and is very uplifting and refreshing.
8. Emergency essence. This is another Australian Bush Flower essence, but it is taken internally as drops under the tongue. The flowers in this blend are specific for relieving fear, distress or panic; making this a useful remedy for any situation where you feel unable to cope – it just takes the edge off, allowing you to refocus and do what you need to do. It is a must-have item in my makeup kit when i go on big jobs – whether I’m secretly stressing about time, the bride is freaking out or someone gets stage fright, it usually comes in handy. I also keep it on hand during my naturopathic consultations, for when clients are having an emotional breakdown (yep, it happens a lot and is very normal) and need to get back on track.
Stay strong, do the best you can, and know that this too shall pass. Sending love.