December 31st 2019
Elle Macpherson: how I look after myself when life gets hectic
October 12th 2016 / 1 comment
Simon Upton for Harper’s Bazaar US, WelleCo
Six countries in two weeks, another new business and a demanding family life - no wonder GTG columnist Elle Macpherson uses strategies for stress management. This month she explains what works for her
I’ve been pretty busy lately; does six countries in two weeks count as busy?! I travel a lot, but the last month has taken busy to a whole new level as I’ve been launching my new lingerie business (@ellemacphersonbody). Different time zones, climates, events to attend, meetings, all crammed in to a short space of time can be stressful. These are the stress-management rituals that work for me.
The morning routine that keeps me sane
I do my best to stick to my morning ritual wherever I am; it helps set the tone for the day and the routine is reassuring. I’m up at 5am, setting intentions for the day, then I meditate - ideally for 45 minutes but if I have a packed schedule, I am happy with 10 minutes. Next, a 45-minute workout - often it’s a run exploring my new city. I take my Hydrator Bottle (£23.50) filled with my daily greens and filtered water. Then I answer emails and the day begins. I find if I begin my day well, I am better equipped to handle anything.
My stress triggers
I’m pretty even-tempered, probably the only trigger for me to lose my temper is if anything happens with one of the kids. Even then, I try to be balanced and think it through rationally. The first warning sign for me of stress is if I have trouble drifting off to sleep. My mind races and I can have difficulty drifting off. It’s the reason I wanted to create a Sleep Welle Fortified Calming Tea (£24). The super ingredient is valerian root, a common herbal remedy for insomnia. It's combined with hops, a flower extract said to calm anxiety, and skullcap, a herb used to treat headaches, insomnia and anxiety. Not eating enough good nutrients is also a trigger for me. That’s why I always start my day with The Super Elixir Alkalising Greens (£62.50) and Nourishing Protein (£48). If I have time a walk after dinner helps clear my head after a busy day.
When super stress strikes
I apply humour – it helps smooth the path. My other tactic is to apply neutrality - recount the situation to myself and others without using judgement or adjectives. I also go back to basics. I love yoga, especially with Pip Roberts. I met her in the Maldives and she introduced me to yoga in a new and exciting way. I also love Strala yoga (founded by Tara Stiles) I am a fan of natural movement and the body being in the right place for you at that time. It releases magic when breath and body connect deeper. Yogasphere is where I would go in London to do the same type of yoga.
Whenever I want to sit and relax, I head to Josh Wood’s Lansdowne Atelier in London. The setting, in a Notting Hill mews house, is stunning and Josh is not only a warm and wise friend, but a colour guru. Getting my hair done always makes me feel refreshed.
How I manage stress in the family
I encourage my kids to take the time to breathe – to extend their exhales – if they are worried about anything. I also encourage them to talk or write down things that might be bothering them. I can’t emphasise enough to them the importance of drinking water. I encourage the kids to stay hydrated as dehydration affects their moods. Mostly they roll their eyes at me, but I’ve caught them deep breathing from time to time and being diligent about drinking water so maybe it’s sinking in!
My meditation toolbox
I have a 33-day programme of daily meditation that includes breathing and focuses on a particular quality or value that I would like to improve/rebalance. Sometimes I do a guided meditation. I also read from a selection of books. I love to have a programme mapped out because I find it easier to stick to long-term. I am more centred, calmer and find situations less stressful now that meditation is part of my day. I find I sleep better too. If you are starting out there is a lot of material out there about meditation - Russell Simmons for example is a hige advocate of how meditation changed his life. Apps like Mind Space are also a good starting point.
Eating well in times of stress
Eating well is key! I don’t change anything food-wise when I’m stressed, because I am pretty committed to an alkaline diet, which consists of eating more fresh veg and fruit, as well as legumes, grains and nuts, along with my daily super greens. I make sure I never skip breakfast even if I’m rushed. My chocolate protein powder in home made almond milk, blitzed with a banana and chia seeds is a great way to start the day. If my sugar levels are balanced, it helps me stay calm when I’m super busy.
Tech management and to-do lists
I schedule time each day to attend to emails rather than checking my phone every few minutes. At the moment it’s in the morning after my wellness routine, mid morning, afternoon and after family dinner. I try my best to be in the moment and dedicate my attention 100 per cent to whatever I am doing in the flow - whether it’s a business meeting or time with my kids.
I choose not to overwhelm myself by a long to-do list. However, crossing off one task at a time is satisfying and definitely relives the feeling of pressure for me.
I believe everyone is different in terms of stress management. You just have to try a few things and see what works for you. This is what works for me.
Read Elle’s column around the 10th of every month on Get The Gloss.