Finding stress relief with Ayurveda
Stress has become an all-too-familiar companion. Today’s fast-paced life with work and family responsibilities, excess screen time and many other stimuli, unsuitable diets, working out too much or too little and too little sleep are harming our wellbeing. When your lifestyle is a toxic cocktail of these different kinds of stressors, it’s no wonder you’re tired and frustrated and feel out of alignment.
Ayurveda offers a holistic approach to tackle stress and bring balance back into our lives. So, let’s discover how Ayurveda can help us beat stress and find serenity.
Understanding Stress the Ayurvedic Way
Ayurveda teaches us that stress arises when our doshas, especially Vata and Pitta, get out of whack. An aggravated Vata can leave us feeling anxious and restless, while too much Pitta can make us easily irritable and angry. The secret to managing stress lies in restoring the balance of these doshas. Follow these Ayurvedic tips for stress relief and nurturing a calm state of being.
Ayurvedic Lifestyle Tips to Relieve Stress
Stick to a Daily Routine
Ayurveda places great importance on maintaining a balanced daily routine (Dinacharya). Rise early, indulge in self-care rituals like a soothing oil massage (abhyanga), and try some meditation or yoga. Make time for self-reflection and gratitude every day, even if it’s only 10 minutes or writing one page in your journal. Gratitude practice can help reframe your mindset to a more peaceful one, and being more happy with what you already have.
Watch What You Eat
Nourishing our bodies with wholesome foods is key to stress management. Focus on fresh fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats. Ditch the excessive caffeine, processed junk, and sugary snacks, as they can make imbalances worse and stress levels soar. Food alone can probably not fix your stress (believe me I tried), but having bad eating habits is adding another stressor on top of an already stressed-out system, impacting your immune system, energy levels and sleep pattern.
Discover Ayurvedic Herbs and Remedies
Ayurveda has a treasure trove of herbs and remedies to support stress reduction. Ashwagandha, an adaptogenic herb, can calm your nerves and build resilience. Brahmi enhances mental clarity and memory, while Shankhpushpi reduces anxiety and promotes tranquility.
Always seek advice from an Ayurvedic practitioner for personalised recommendations, and if there is no improvement in 3 months, re-evaluate and seek out which other things you can change in your lifestyle to find more balance. Herbs alone will not fix an otherwise unhealthy lifestyle.
Embrace Yoga and Pranayama
Combine the ancient practices of yoga and mindful breathing techniques (pranayama) to beat stress. Incorporate gentle yoga poses like child’s pose, forward bends, and restorative poses into your daily routine. Avoid yang yoga styles that increase heat in your body. Practice deep breathing exercises like alternate nostril breathing to balance your energy.
Meditation Made Easy
Ayurveda stresses the importance of calming the mind through meditation. Regular meditation helps silence the mental noise, reduces stress hormones, and cultivates inner peace. Start with short sessions and gradually increase the time. Explore different meditation techniques like mindfulness, loving-kindness, mantra meditation or yoga nidra guided meditation for a nervous system reset.
Related: Tips to practice yoga nidra
Related: Yoga Nidra membership
Treat Yourself to Self-Care
Engage in self-care practices that rejuvenate your mind and body. Enjoy a warm bath with calming essential oils like lavender or chamomile. Pursue hobbies, get creative, and spend quality time with loved ones. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people who lift your spirits. Give yourself the gift of time, where you don’t have to perform (“be the best”) or get something done.
Experience the Magic of Ayurvedic Massage
Pamper yourself with the healing benefits of Ayurvedic massage. Try abhyanga, a self-massage using warm oil, to calm your nervous system, nourish your skin, and induce relaxation. Massage your scalp, feet, and body with warm oil before showering to reduce stress. And if you are lucky enough to happen to be in the Algarve, Portugal, check out my Ayurvedic massage offerings.
Embrace Ayurveda for Long-Term Stress Relief
Managing stress is a journey, not a quick fix. Alongside incorporating Ayurvedic practices into your daily routine, remember to listen to your body, practice self-compassion, and make lifestyle choices that support balance and well-being. Here are a few extra tips to consider:
Getting enough sleep is crucial for stress management. Establish a consistent sleep routine, create a peaceful sleep environment, and unwind before bed. Switch off screens at least 1,5 hour before going to sleep (even if you are wearing blue light filter glasses).
Simplify Your Life
Simplify your schedule and prioritize activities that bring you joy. Learn to say no when you’re overwhelmed and avoid overcommitting yourself. Let go of being busy as a badge of honour – time and spaciousness is both a necessity and a luxury these days.
Connect with Nature
Spend time in nature to calm your mind and relieve stress. Take walks in the park, practice forest bathing, cuddle your pets or nurture a garden to tap into nature’s healing energy.
If stress becomes overwhelming, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional counselor or therapist. They can provide guidance and personalised recommendations tailored to your needs.
Ayurveda serves as a gentle and holistic guide on our journey to stress management. Remember, we are all unique, and even stress relief is a unique path for each of us, so be patient, listen to your body, and treat yourself with love and care – just as you would treat your loved ones.
I hope this article has provided you with valuable insights and practical tools for stress reduction with Ayurveda.