How to de-stress & pamper your way to a peaceful festive season
Are You Feeling Festive?
Christmas is such magical time isn’t it? Whether you celebrate it or not, it is a wonderful opportunity to show how much we care about our friends and family, a time for glitter and twinkle, sparkly lights, festive joy, indulgent food, generous gifting and jovial get-togethers. However, with all this, it can become a busy, overwhelming period leaving many of us exhausted and stressed.
Concerns ensue about family logistics, balancing personalities, finding the right gifts, trying to make everyone happy, cooking the perfect meal…..the list is endless isn’t it? Add to this the long shopping queues, certain foods being unavailable, the prepping, wrapping, planning, the manic racing around to be the perfect host and it’s no wonder we soon find the festive anxiety brewing.
We are not alone……
Christmas does not resonate so readily as a happy occasion for many and evoking some ‘festive spirit’ can prove a tribulation.
I was reminded of this recently in a chat with one of our lovely customers whilst she popped in an order over the phone. Bravely sharing how she wasn’t feeling ‘Christmassy’ (having suffered a couple of family bereavements around this time) I thought it a stark reminder that Christmas isn’t always the joy-filled season that we often feel it should be and that for many of us the merriment is tinged with the sadness of a further reminder of loved ones that can’t be with us.
In fact a survey by You Gov found that over 2 in 5 Brits have felt stressed during the festive season , while about 1 in 4 have struggled with severe anxiety or depression – a quarter of people say that Christmas worsens their mental health.
Interestingly, over a third of people between 45-54 feel worse in their mental health over the festive season.
Worryingly, did you know that research (www.medicalnewstoday.com) has shown that there is an increase in the occurrence or heart attacks and heart related deaths during the festive season? Any possible contributing stress therefore needs to be dealt with, pronto.
What Can we do to Help Each Other?
So, on sharing our own anxieties about Christmas amongst ourselves here at HBB HQ and reflecting on those of others, we thought why not share a collection of coping strategies to help us all enjoy happier, healthier holidays.
Our Top 8 Tips for a Stress Free Christmas
1. Go gentle on yourself
First off, thinking about YOU is not about luxury or being selfish, quite the opposite. We are often more understanding and patient when we factor in time to consider our own needs – it stops us feeling frustrated and resentful – self-preservation allows us to be the best version of ourselves for the people who love and need us.
Please remember to give yourself what you would eagerly afford to others – grace and forgiveness. And, bear in mind, you don’t have to say yes to everything and everyone! Try saying no (thank you) - it is liberating...
2. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Try not to get bogged down with perfection: so what if you forgot to cross the Brussel sprouts (there are no doubt bigger brassicas to fry!) or does it really matter that you didn’t get the special decorations down from the loft? Give yourself a break and try not to dwell on imperfections or mistakes - no event ever runs seamlessly.
View these miniature calamities as an opportunity to exercise your flexibility and resilience. Don’t forget Christmas ‘mishaps’ often turn into fond memories to smile at on reflection at a later date.
I remember when my husband's family came for Christmas at the beginning of my marriage - I got the turkey out of the oven full of a whole family's expectation and it was still frozen in the middle!! We spent the day popping it in and out of the oven whilst gradually nibbling away at the cooked outer edges - we still laugh about it now years later!
3. Set a Budget
Don’t allow yourself to be swept along in the hype of spend, spend, spend. Connections between financial distress and poor mental health have been well documented: we understand how much you want to spoil your loved ones but Christmas shopping should not come at a cost to your mental health or financial security. Setting yourself a feasible budget can help avoid overspending and allow you to feel in control.
Did you know that a 2020 study (www.uktherapyguide.com) found that each year 64% of UK households overspend on presents and food at Christmas?
Try sparing your pennies whilst helping the planet by making, repurposing, or crafting your own handiwork and/or culinary delights as unique pressie options.
AND, don't forget, making memories is far more valuable than material possessions and will be remembered for years to come when the physical presents have long been forgotten.
Take a deep breath to reflect and cherish what Christmas means to YOU – enjoy and embrace the frivolities and try to allow yourself to be happy in the moment. A great tip is to keep a diary as an outlet to release tension and negativity whilst providing an opportunity to jot down and take stock of your happy, fun festive moments.
Practice some calming breathing techniques to store in your repertoire ready for you to call upon in any stressful festive situation. Try this simple 4-7-8 breathing technique: inhale deeply for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 7 and fully exhale for 8 seconds. I did this in the car on the way to work recently when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed - it really does work.
Remember: we can’t control other people and situations around us BUT we can control our reactions to them. Why not have a look at some mediation and relaxation apps? Headspace is good starting point for those of us new to this – with guided meditations, mindful workouts and sleep techniques there is something to help everyone escape the Christmas hustle and bustle (www.headspace.com).
5. Escape Outdoors!
Make time for some vitamin D- rich, mood boosting natural sunlight when you can. Try a brisk walk to get those endorphins (natural painkilling chemicals that improve your ability to sleep and also reduce stress) flowing. Even some gentle stretching can help to manage your mood and leave you feeling calmer.
6. Sleep is Saviour
When faced with the chaos of Christmas, our calendars and minds often packed as full as our fridges, a good night’s sleep can fall to the bottom of our priority list amongst all the festivities. When peaceful, restful sleep is in short supply it’s your mental health that bears the brunt. Endeavour to invest in a wind down night time routine – have you had a look at our recommended Sleepy Bee night time set to help you grab a few minutes to yourself, to prepare for a restful night.
7. Combat loneliness
If you find yourself alone or feeling isolated this Christmas, try to connect with your loved ones regularly with a quick telephone call, an email, or FaceTime. Perhaps consider taking part in local community events or volunteer to help out with a local Christmas charity.
But, don't feel a pressure to be with people if you value your solitude. While there can often be a stigma that solitude is bad or unhealthy, new research shows solitude can also be an important avenue for self-discovery and self-growth by leading to activities that promote self-reflection, creative expression, or “spiritual renewal.”
8. Indulge in Skin Care
Don’t neglect your own sparkle and glow – be sure to make time to keep on top of your skincare as extra stressors can lead to flare ups and exacerbate conditions such as rosacea and eczema. Treat yourself to that spa day, stay cosy in bed in your pjs and a face mask or maybe take time out cwtching up on the settee with your furbaby and a good book.
Easier said than done……
Making time for ourselves as women (sorry to any men reading this!) is something we are not particularly good at – in fact did you know studies have proven that Christmas is especially tough on women’s mental health? While only 35% of men have felt stressed around Christmas, for women the figure is 51%! (The Importance of Taking Time for Yourself - Lindsey Elmore)
Often the very thought of setting aside deliberate time for ourselves can cause feelings of guilt. However taking care of yourself is a necessity and can actually improve your relationships. In fact a study by Dr Lindsey Elmore (www.lindseyelmore.com) found that her subjects became less angry and anxious when they allowed themselves some alone time. Allowing this time to take stock of emotions was proven to decrease stress and anxiety and aid calm and relaxation.
Christmas Pamper Kit
If you need some further encouragement to escape the stress and treat you and your skin to some R&R this season, then don’t worry - we have put together our very own Christmas Eve Pamper Kit especially for you!
So, why not snap one up and set aside some time to retreat for a few hours of self-care, relaxation and aromatherapy skincare goodies?
Aromatherapy to Counter Stress
What is Aromatherapy?
Art meets science here -cue the magic!
We often talk about scents and the aromatherapeutic benefits of our range here at HBB but what actually is Aromatherapy?
In a nutshell, aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment which stems back to ancient times and that draws on natural plant extracts to promote health and well-being. Aromatherapy works through the sense of smell and skin absorption.
Aromatic essential oils are used medicinally to improve the health of the body mind and spirit, enhancing both physical and emotional health.
Natural is Best...
Note of Caution: opt for pure, natural essential oils and be wary of cheaper, synthetic fragrances oils. These imitation oils are manufactured scents and do not contain the therapeutic properties of their counterpart pure essential oils. Thus, with these, the true benefit and purpose of aromatherapy is lost.
Rest assured that we only use 100% natural, pure, essential oils in all our product range with each oil offering an array of unique healing properties, uses and effects. For more information have a peak at our 100% natural Aromatherapy Range.
Widely acknowledged Aromatherapy benefits include……
- Pain management
- Improved sleep
- Reduced stress
- Soothed joints
- Relieved headaches
- Easing of discomfort
- Fighting bacteria, virus or fungus
- Improved digestion
- Boosted immunity
Isn’t the power of nature amazing!
So, how does Aromatherapy help stress?
Aromatherapy is well documented to activate areas in your nose called smell receptors, which send messages through your nervous system to your brain. The oils are known to then activate certain parts of your brain, like your limbic system, which plays a pivotal role in your emotions.
Found to have an impact on your hypothalamus, which responds to the essential oil by releasing feel good brain chemicals such as serotonin. Using essential oils on your skin can cause a relief response in your joints and areas of pain or discomfort.
Why choose our Pamper Kit as an Aromatherapy Stress Bust?
Our best-selling scent combo here at HBB is our very own lovingly formulated rose geranium, sweet orange and patchouli combo.
Fragrant soothing rose, teamed with uplifting sweet orange, punctuated by the deep, sensual tones of woody patchouli means this glorious scent lends itself perfectly to relaxation and rejuvenation for your skin and mind alike - that’s why we have chosen these scents as the aromatic base running through our pamper set treats.
Scroll down to learn how the aromatherapy scents in our pamper kit are sure to help you drift away from any Christmas Chaos…….
1. Rose Essential Oil
Find it in our Beeswax candle, Queen Bee Scrub, Queen Bee Balm and Bumble Bee Face Cream. It's also in many of our honey soaps and Honey Bee Body Butter.
Transform a stressful environment into one that allows you to meditate in peace and relaxation by bringing the scents and calm of a rose garden to your bathroom.
Rose essential oil has been used in countless skin care and beauty products thanks to its power as a refreshing and regenerative tonic. The complex bouquet of antioxidants in rose oil helps heal and improve the quality of your skin. Rose oil has been a fascinating subject of research for its healing properties. Studies have shown that rose aromatherapy can help treat anxiety and depression. Women may also be particularly partial to roses because the essential oil helps relieve symptoms of PMS, including restlessness, stress, insomnia, bloating, and menstrual pain.
What’s more roses are considered to be deeply connected to the heart, naturally bringing out an essence of love and romance within us. Indulging in rose aromatherapy is a beautiful way to show love to yourself. It is emotionally soothing, known to help improve mood, and can boost your confidence.
2. Sweet Orange
Find it in our candle, Queen Bee Scrub, Queen Bee Balm and our Christmas Orange, Cinnamon & Clove Soap.
Sweet orange is known for it’s anti anxiety properties - a trial in dental patients (www.superfoodly.com) found that those exposed to sweet orange essential oil aromatherapy had significantly lower blood pressure, pulse, and respiratory rate during surgical tooth extraction.
Long prized in aromatherapy for its relaxing and anti-stress benefits, clinical data also supports the use of sweet orange essential oil for sleep. Published in 2017, Sungshin Women’s University in South Korea conducted a human clinical trial involving 70 elderly women. They were split into two groups; 35 as control/placebo and 35 received an “aroma necklace” filled with the essential oils of orange. They were monitored for 4 weeks. When compared to the control group, their sleep quality, duration, and satisfaction all increased. Anxiety and depression decreased (www.superfoodly.com).
Definitely sounds worth a try for a pre bedtime pamper doesn’t it!?
Find it in our Queen Bee Balm, Bumble Bee Cleansing Balm, our Lemongrass & Patchouli Soap and our Gentle Bee Deodorant.
This is such a favourite - it's deep, woody and grounding properties give depth and warmth to our products.
It is this oil's active components that contribute to its therapeutic benefits that give it the reputation of being a soothing and peace inducing oil – just what many of us crave amidst the festive bustle!
A Step by Step Guide
Get the most out of your Christmas Pamper Set
Create time for your pamper session to unwind physically and mentally during this busy time by following these simple steps:
• Run a deep, hot bath and grab your favourite relaxing tipple to take with you- or why not try a big mug of lemon and Raw Welsh Honey to really heal yourself from the inside and out.
• Light your rose candle and drift into a sanctuary of rosy calm. As you slip into your steamy bath, inhale the calming aromas and feel your body and mind begin to relax from the stresses and strains of this time of year.
• Exfoliate. After soaking for a good 15 minutes, it’s time to gently slay away any impurities and dead skin using your Queen Bee Facial Scrub and Worker Bee Lip Scrub. Prepare to rejuvenate body and soul and reveal a fresh sparkling glow which is sure to leave you feeling as gleaming and shiny as the lights decking the halls.
• Start by taking the cute wooden spoon and giving your Queen Bee Facial Scrub a swirl to distribute the silky moisturising oils amongst the gently exfoliating jojoba beads and sugar. Use a small amount, working this aromatic sensory delight all over your face in a circular motion before rinsing with warm water and patting dry.
• Now it’s time to banish flaky lips, and show them some caring respite from the harsh winter weather by taking a small amount of your Worker Bee Sugar Scrub and rubbing gently on your lips in a circular motion. Lick clean (another treat for the senses!) or rinse off with warm water, leaving your lips coated with a rich beeswax balm. The perfect bee friendly way to cleanse, protect, and nourish your lips using the natural power of sugar, beeswax and raw honey!
• Enjoy the rest of your soak, inhaling the delectable rose and orange scents of your candle and scrub and then it’s time to towel off and lock in any remaining moisture to help replenish your skin. Pay attention to the patches of skin that tend to get rough or extra dry, like elbows, knees, and knuckles. Smooth your Queen Bee Balm over these areas and feel it melt seamlessly with the warmth of your skin all whilst releasing a blast of 100% natural rose, orange and patchouli essential aromatherapy oils to soothe and revive your senses.
• Next up it’s our Queen Bee Eye Serum. Delight in the contrastingly cool feel of the roller ball after your hot bath as you glide it over the delicate skin and then gently tap in with your finger for a moisturising, brightening lift to your under eye area.
• To finish off use our award winning Bumble Bee Cream to combat any dry skin on your face whilst sealing in and attracting moisture from the air. Take a pea size amount and gently pat on still damp skin as the last step in your skincare routine. Raw Welsh honey and pure natural beeswax will gently soothe and protect. Breathe in deeply the uplifting blend of rose geranium, with the addition of astringent myrrh, known to aid as a sedative - it’s the perfect finale to your self-care session of rose oil blend aromatherapy!
We hope we have given you some inspiration and handy hints on how to show yourself some care during the busy Christmas period.
I know I am now really looking forward to setting aside some time for a long bathe before the onset of festivities next week!
We would love to know if you have any of your own hints and tips on how to survive the Christmas mayhem, or, please share with us your favourite way to practice self-care and relaxation by hitting reply to this email.
I have popped some links below for further help and advice for any of you that may find yourself struggling this Christmas.
Wishing you a happy fully deserved pampering -remember to take care of yourself as you do everyone else lovely.
Cath and the bees
Resources and Links
How to deal with grief during the Christmas period | The Independent
The Magical Benefits of Rose Aromatherapy – Heliotrope San Francisco (heliotropesf.com)
14 Sweet Orange Essential Oil Benefits Backed By Science – Superfoodly
What Is Aromatherapy and How Does It Help Me? (healthline.com)
Essential Oil safety, Tisserand Young
The complete illustrated guide to aromatherapy, Julia Lawless
How does Christmas impact people's mental health? | YouGov
The Importance of Taking Time for Yourself - Lindsey Elmore
Six stresses of Christmas | How to beat festive stress (wearethecity.com)
How to Keep Your Cool and Beat Stress This Christmas | Advice | Boots
Coping with depression at Christmas | BMI Healthcare
Aromatherapy & Essential Oils for Relaxation and Stress Relief (webmd.com)