Stressed out? You’re not alone. A 2017 survey by Accountemps found that “58 per cent of Canadians feel stressed every day while at work and 70 per cent said work-related pressure had increased in the past five years”. And an increase in stress is nothing new. An IPSOS survey in 2000 found that 42% of Canadians felt more stressed than five years earlier. The only thing that seems to have changed is that men are now feeling almost as stressed as women.
Even in my 15 aromatherapy case studies, 80% of participants named stress as one of their top issues. And of those participants, most didn’t see their doctor about it. Those that did see their doctor felt that their doctor couldn’t do anything for them or didn’t care.
What happened to technology making our lives easier? Maybe it does make tasks easier, but I think instead of using that extra time to enjoy life, we just try to achieve more. Instead of enjoying the moment, we’re busy checking email and social media or booking our calendars full of events.
So what’s causing all this stress? Usually its work, finances, relationships, school or health and mostly like a combination of these. There’s just not enough time to get it all done.
Stress can affect your sleep, increase headaches, lower your immune system and make you irritable. Because stress leaves you feeling tired and short on time, we tend to drop all of our healthy habits (healthy eating, exercise, sleep, socializing and relaxing), even though these are the very things we need to combat stress. And our health only gets worse when we’re chronically stressed, leading to more stress. “Stress carries several negative health consequences, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, as well as immune and circulatory complications” (Perceived Life Stress, Stats Canada, 2014).
We are all familiar with at least some of these stress reducing activities:
We know what we need to do, so why do we struggle with it?
The main problem is these activities all take time, time that we don’t have. When we’re stressed we often feel like things are out of control and we promise ourselves we’ll do these things just as soon as we get A, B and C done. And as you know, those things are replaced by new priorities that can’t wait either. The truth is, nothing is going to change unless you take the time to change it. Because believe it or not, you ARE in control! And if you don’t take care of you, who will?
The best piece of advice I’ve received in all of my 48 years, is this: If you don’t like something, you have three options: accept it, change it or leave it. Some things we may not like but can accept. If you can’t accept it, you need to try to change it. If you’ve tried to change it and things don’t improve then it may be time to leave it.
Assuming you don’t want to accept feeling stressed all the time, you can try to change it. To make that easier for you, here are things I’ve learned about de-stressing my life:
And there is one last thing you can do to help with your stress which isn’t mentioned in most articles and books and takes no time at all - aromatherapy! 92% of my case study participants confirmed that essential oils helped with their stress as well as sleep and headaches. You can inhale essential oils using a diffuser, a couple of drops on a tissue, an aromatherapy inhaler or by diluting it in soap, lotion or oil. Here are some common oils you can use separately or in a blend:
Some of you may need to change or leave a job, your studies or a relationship to improve your stress or life. None of it is easy but only you can improve things by taking control. And trust me, when you do it you’ll wonder why you waited so long!
Loves living a healthy lifestyle and sharing what she learns along the way.