From taking up a hobby to changing career or making a big move, here’s how four women have tackled stress in their own way
Stress can rear its head in many guises, from the simmering tension that bubbles away under the surface to a sudden shock, and neither are pleasant experiences, to put it mildly. Whether induced by illness, work or day-to-day strains, overcoming stress and anxiety is never easy to do, but the following women have learned coping strategies that have worked for them, or simply let go of situations that were provoking high levels of stress. Whether it’s picking up a guitar or finding a new career path, here are some case studies in keeping a lid on stress...
Julie Montagu, yoga instructor and certified plant-based nutritionist
"Hands down the most stressful time in my life came when my husband fell ill as a result of being mis-prescribed pharmaceutical drugs. I simply cannot put into words how ill he became, and this lasted seven years. At the time, we had four small children at home and then of course I had a husband who needed me to look after him - so I not only was a mother to four children but I also became a caretaker to my wonderful husband. However, in my view, without this life experience, there is absolutely no way, I would have found my passion. Sometimes the most horrible life experiences become one of the best things that could have happened, and after some time, I definitely found the silver lining in it all.”
“Did I cry a lot? Yes. Was I incredibly stressed out? Yes. Was I constantly worried? Yes. I was sad, angry, hurt and in a lot of pain over what happened to my husband and what was happening to us as a family. However, I knew that I had two choices: to let it affect me or to let it ‘effect’ me. I chose the latter. No way was I going to let what happened to my husband bring us all down. And so, that is where my current career all began. I found yoga to help me clear my head and to help me learn to love myself again and I found foods to help with my energy and my moods. I was busy, tired, and letting self-care slip away. Between being a wife, a mother and working, self-care wasn’t a priority. I was exhausted and I knew I couldn’t manage like this forever. Once I started taking a few minutes a day for myself, everything changed. Bringing in these small moments of self-care, through yoga, affirmations, and adding nutritious foods to my diet, my energy levels skyrocketed and I felt strong, healthy, and capable."
Natascha Cox, beauty and style blogger and ambassador for Girls Out Loud
“A few years ago I made the decision to move to Sweden with my kids and other half. At the time my children were tiny and we didn’t know anyone over there. We were pretty much thrown into life completely on our own, no parents helping out and no friends to support us. I found it really stressful because Sweden is so different to the UK. Being unable speak the language is difficult at the best of times, but a nightmare when your whole life has to work around it.”
“It took me awhile to get used to the dark winters and the fact that the whole of Stockholm shuts down for summer (which no one bats an eyelid at). After getting on top of the day-to-day stuff I decided that I had to learn to speak Swedish, not an easy thing to do as an adult.”
“The feeling of complete isolation for four years was really tough to deal with. It’s so easy to fall into depression. I did make a point of trying to get visitors over as often as I could, but going months on end without seeing a familiar face is seriously stressful. Pair that with working from home in a job that I didn’t love and not really getting the opportunity for adult interaction, then it’s only a matter of time before anyone goes stark raving mad.”
“Finally we had to make the decision to move back home and decided that maybe living abroad wasn’t for us. I’m so glad that we did it because it has meant a great deal in the success of my blog and my wellbeing in general. I feel way happier now and am really enjoying life again. Plus fashion over here suits me better.”
“I’m not saying that I will never move abroad again, but something would definitely have to be done differently next time round. I’ve gained so much from experiencing another culture but learned just how important it is to have a life of my own that doesn’t revolve around kids. I need to do me first and follow the dreams I have in order to be happy.”
Savannah Miller, fashion designer
“As a working mum life is always pretty stressful. I am constantly on the juggle and spend a considerable amount of time in the one yoga class I take a week, thinking about everything I have to do instead of trying to relax and unwind. I have found the shangri-la, however, and it isn’t on the yoga mat. My husband gave me a guitar for our 10th wedding anniversary and a block of lessons. My initial response was, “when on earth am I going to find the time to do this?’ but I did set aside an hour a week and it is the most relaxing and destressing thing I do in my whole week, for one very simple reason: it’s really hard. It takes all of my focus and brain power to make sense of reading music again and trying to remember chords. If I let my mind wander in the slightest it all goes wrong, so actually I can truly relax. And I’m learning a new skill. Score.”
Alexia Inge, founder of Cult Beauty
“The main thing I did to counter the stress of launching Cult Beauty was going to see Michelle Roques O'Neil to counter the high-octane stresses of running a business. She offers an hour and a half hybrid treatment fusing aromatherapy, massage, reiki, energy work, healing and life coaching, because let's face it who has time for mono-disciplines anymore. Whatever ails you, from stress, heartbreak, insomnia to fertility problems, Michelle will help you to tackle it. Her manner is wonderfully down to earth and practical. You walk into Michelle's treatment with the weight of the world on your shoulders and you skip out with the cares and energy of an eight-year-old child. I supplement my visits to Michelle with her treatment-grade range of stress-relieving products, like the Himalayan Detox Salts which are the closest thing to natural Valium this side of a mallet.”
Have a browse at Cult Beauty