Stress relief has been a constant topic for me, growing in importance over the last couple of years. As I am typing this, I haven’t had my period for the last 2 months (an indication that something is off balance) have gained significant weight over the past year and I started to grow grey hair, at 25, when no one in my family has had grey hair in their 20’s.
Needless to say, something isn’t quite right. I have since tried to implement several diet changes, worked on cycle syncing with the book “the woman code”, gave up coffee and adopted a plant-based diet but nothing really made things significantly better.
I don’t have a problem with being disciplined. For me, it is the other way around. Doing things in a balanced way is where I struggle the most, which is why stress is a big issue that I have yet to learn how to tackle.
Being at the Nourish in Nature a Yoga Retreat in Portugal, I spent the first 3 days vegetating in the common room, hardly participating in the conversation and going to bed early. After our delicious lunches, we had herbal medicine classes with a woman that – save to say – changed my perspective on stress management.
Sara Rooney, B.Sc, a medical herbalist from the UK not only taught us the most important herbal remedy properties, along with recipes to make oils, tinctures and delicious snacks. Sara also guided us through recognizing our stress levels, educated us on females hormone imbalance and even provided the option to give a private consultation where she could dive deeper into each individuals concern.
Sara is the definition of kindness, observing patterns you yourself might not have been able to link and giving solace and advice when needed. Her devotion to be factual is equally as distinct as her willingness to listen and learn and her courses provided an open space to explore and ask questions.
Only after Sara’s classes, I was able to sit down and realise that I was tackling this whole stress thing wrong. I realised that for me, it is not about doing the most when it comes to stress reduction. I can do as many meditation sessions during the day, eat numerous amounts of leafy greens and work out as much as I want to but if I am not taking care of the initial stress factors along with creating a more steady routine for myself that includes the bare necessities like sleep regular food and fresh air, I am not gaining anything except more grey hair.
I know, all of this might be fairly obvious but the art of “getting it” is not to be underestimated. For me, it took Sara’s class and the support of the women at the retreat to realise that what I was trying to do wasn’t working out so well.
Holly Rose from Leotie Lovely
I am working on a new routine now, which I will share once I feel like I have established solid habits but a few pointers from the retreat were the following:
From left to right: Sara Rooney, Alden Wicker from Ecocult
- The most obvious: Sleep is important. Sleeping in a completely dark and cool room (which I haven’t done since I moved to Denmark) is essential. I could feel a difference in the quality of sleep I was getting and I am determined to implement a healthy sleeping routine into my every day life. I am also planning on buying a bed again, after sleeping on the floor for a year.
- Eating 3 times a day. During this retreat, I realised how important a regular meal was for my personal well being. Not that I don’t regularly eat. I snack, all the time. Healthy snacks but still. Having a week without snacks, just nutritious meals with water and tea did wonders for my skin and energy levels, and since I got a few good meal prep tips from Annie from Terumah.ca, I am giving it another try.
- Self-care. Seeing the way other women treated me, with so much love, kindness laughter and genuineness, I realised that I don’t often treat myself like that. Making time and space for self-care rituals is on top of my list now and I so far, I have been loving every second.
Nourish in Nature has two more retreats coming up with spaces still available:
- September 16-22
- September 23-29
Head on over to their website and to sign up or find out more.
*For this post, I partnered up with Nourish in Nature to write about my experience at the yoga retreat in exchange for a discounted stay. All opinions in this post are my own, read more about my disclosure policy here. You can also read my lovely fellow EWC gals’ review of the retreat here: Alden of Ecocult’s review, Holly of Leotie Lovely’s review, Annie of Terumah’s review, and Francesca of Ethical Unicorn’s review.