We’re into the final stretch of the year, and most of us find ourselves caught up in a whirlwind of pressing responsibilities, high expectations and tight finances. The kids are reeling with exam anxiety; deadlines are looming and loose ends are unravelling at work. It doesn’t help that the early conversations about the upcoming family holidays are breathing life into old grudges and insecurities. It’s called ‘end-of-year’ stress, and it can feel overwhelming.
It's natural at this time to take stock of our goals and accomplishments over the year, and this can leave us with a sinking feeling. For many of us, 2023 been a tough time, and it’s understandable if we’re not quite feeling like the best versions of ourselves. Nevertheless, we’re facing the most social time of year. Office parties and client functions, school obligations and community events, as well as all the accelerated summertime getting together with family and friends. This can take a significant toll on both our physical and mental well-being.
Doryce Sher, founder of Aromatic Apothecary, who is also a qualified pharmacist and aromatherapist points out that it is important to notice the signs of becoming overwhelmed by end-of-year stress. She says, “Pay attention to your breathing. If it's quick and shallow it is symptomatic of stress. Notice if you are frequently unable to relax and are exhibiting other symptoms of anxiety. The quality of your sleep is a good way to gauge your levels of stress. Sleeplessness and lying awake even if you’re exhausted are signs that stress is getting too much for you. You may also feel like you are often holding back tears or feeling the need to cry. Quick temper, irritability and snapping at those around us are also signs that you may be overwhelmed. Notice your thoughts, and how frequently you find yourself feeling like you’re carrying the load, and it’s all too much. These are clear signals that you need to take action to manage your end-of-year stress and find balance in your emotional state. What’s important to remember is that end-of-year stress is common, and it is manageable. Luckily, you can find natural and holistic ways to face the challenges, restore mental well-being and find enjoyment and achievement in getting through the year.”
Here are some gentle, healthy tips to manage end-of-year stress:
Prioritize and plan – When it comes to the wrap-up of work and school, it may not be possible to meet everyone’s demands and expectations of you. The same is true when it comes to the kickstart of the end-of-year social whirl. Take some time to think through your priorities and use your calendar and to-do lists to organize your tasks, activities and obligations. It is also important to plan some relaxation and down time.
Reduce your load – Set realistic goals and make commitments you can keep. Doryce says, “What burdens us mentally and emotionally can take many forms. For example, this is a good time to turn off the news, minimise your scrolling and switch off the notifications for your group chats because these are activities that are onerous when it comes to our mental health. Distance yourself from the constant information overload. While it’s important to be informed its unhealthy to be totally consumed by events we cannot control.’’
Practice mindfulness – Every day, think about what you can do to refresh your mind and strengthen your emotional resilience. Use mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing and meditation to stay grounded and reduce stress. Doryce suggests, “When you are driving or at home, put on gentle music or take time out to contemplate and focus on what you're doing - staying present requires practice and reduces worry, anxiety and stress.”
Keep your healthy lifestyle on track – Even though you are so busy, make sure you stay physically active every day. If you don’t have time for your usual workout, then still take a quick walk. Exercise is a natural mood-lifter, it boosts your energy levels and builds resilience. Make healthy eating choices, especially if you are eating out more often and stay hydrated. Focus on getting sufficient sleep. Keeping up these basics of self-care goes a long way to feeling confident that you can cope with the upcoming silly season.
Rethink your holiday time – Doryce is an advocate of the travel-free ‘home holiday’. She says, “Having a holiday at home, which means relaxing, sleeping, gardening, lying around and generally doing nothing, could well be the best way to beat end-of-year stress. This could be much more beneficial than planning stressful travel, and a lot less expensive. Bake with your children, play board games at home, and go for walks in your neighbourhood. These are great ways to be on holiday which doesn’t involve travel.”
Manage your stress naturally – There are many holistic solutions that can help you reduce stress, many of which such as aromatherapy, can be safely integrated with conventional medicines if necessary. Doryce says, “It helps to have stress relief support that is quick acting, non-additive and free of unwanted side-effects. When it comes to aromatherapy there are a variety of oils that are helpful for stress relief, and a mix of these oils creates healthy outcomes beyond that of any individual oil. Aromatherapy stress relief solutions can help calm and relax the body, assist with deeper breathing, and reduce anxiety. Repeated use sets up new memory pathways and induces healing in the body each time. It’s also a safe and effective way to support your kids as they navigate their own end-of-year stress.”
By implementing these tips and including the use of aromatherapy solutions, you can better manage and alleviate the stress that rises up at this time of year. Remember that self-care and self-compassion are essential during these hectic months, so be sure to prioritize your well-being.
Your Aromatic Apothecary end-of-year Stress-less kit includes:
Aromatic Apothecary Stress-less Inhaler - This inhaler is particularly useful for discreet, and on hand inhalation of aromas when feeling anxious or stressed. It is easy to carry in the pocket or hand bag and can be used anyplace, anytime during the day or night. The ingredients, neroli, lavender, and camomile, are all soothing.
Aromatic Apothecary Stress-less Mini Roll-on – This pocket-sized, handy, mini roll-on can be applied to pulse points and chest for natural inhalation. It promotes deep breathing and provides a distraction from the anxious state or stress condition. It reminds one to breathe deeply. The ingredients, lavender, geranium and camomile, are balancing and soothing.
Aromatic Apothecary Stress-less Bath & Massage Oil - This therapeutic blend of camomile, lavender and geranium can be used in a bedtime bath or massage.
Aromatic Apothecary Stress-less Roll-on Relief - This therapeutic gel containing muscle relief ingredients such as ginger, rosemary, peppermint and lavender, has a cooling and warming effect. The massage rollerball applies and massages the gel at the same time. The therapeutic gel then gets absorbed into the muscles and the cooling and warming benefits of the oils provides instant relief for neck tension, and lower back ache.
Aromatic Apothecary Stress-less Spray-on Relief - The cooling and warming ingredients of ginger, rosemary, peppermint, lavender and menthol in spray form provides muscle tension relief when applied to an area of the body, particularly the middle back and upper back where we hold a lot of tension. It can be used on other muscular areas of the body for muscle pain relief.
Aromatic Apothecary Stress-less Rub on Relief - The therapeutic benefit of this product provides joint and muscle tension relief. Cajeput, eucalyptus and peppermint oils are helpful for deep tension relief in joints and this solution is particularly good for shoulders, lower back, knees and feet.