Everyone experiences stress at some point in their lives, whether that’s due to an exam, work or relationships, or we simply have too much going on. At the moment it’s a very hectic period for me as we’re doing renovations in our new house, doing a big personal project and also preparing for fashion week – I’m guilty of taking on a lot without knowing when to stop! It’s so important to take some time out to relax, even if this means scheduling an hour into your diary, as clearing your head can help you focus logically on all the things that are stressing you out.
I love to make my own rose water by pouring two cups of boiling water over a cup of rose petals, covering and cooling it, then squeezing out the liquid from the rose petals into a sterilised jar. I store it in the refrigerator to keep it fresh, and use it as a hair rinse, skin toner, bath scent or spray it onto my bedsheets. When my skin needs a pick me-up, either because it’s dry after a holiday or I’ve been wearing a lot of make-up for a shoot, I combine half an avocado with a quarter of a cup of uncooked oatmeal, 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar, 2 tbsp honey and 1 tsp lemon juice to make my own natural face mask. I leave it on for 20 minutes then rinse off, apply a light moisturiser, and my skin looks glowing!
Tapping into as many senses as possible is a huge part of relaxation, and one brand that incorporates aromatherapy into their products particularly well is Rituals. I’ve tried the Tao line, which emphasizes the harmony between you and your surroundings, balancing yin and yang, using calming white lotus, cooling mint and Yi Yi Ren, which is traditionally used in Chinese medicine to balance heat and dampness. The Shower Foam is a quick fix to wash away any stress... I just love the fragrance and the texture of the foam as it feels so luxurious! I’ve also tried the 3 in 1 Miracle Hand Scrub, which is great to use once a week to soften hands, and the Body & Massage Oil to lock in moisture after washing. You can easily make DIY versions by combining sea salt with olive oil to use as a scrub and coconut oil as an all-over moisturiser.
Comfortable clothing, soft music, room fragrance and candles really help me relax too, so try fabrics that are kind to skin like cotton, linen and silk or wrap up warm in a cosy knit or fleece. Rituals do a range called Soulwear, which is lovely to cosy up in after scenting the room with a few drops of essential oil, like Hammam Secret, a rosemary and eucalyptus blend, which I find more natural than scented candles. There are loads of apps now that aid with mindfulness, such as Sleep Cycle, which monitors your sleeping patterns, and Rituals’ app, which has handy guides to help you focus on your breathing, become more aware of your body and a magazine for tips and tricks on meditation – it’s like having a portable, personal instructor so it makes it easy and enjoyable. I would recommend putting your phone on silent during your relaxation time, and to avoid using your phone directly before bed as it can stimulate your brain, preventing a blissful sleep.
I had my pampering session while staying at the lovely House of Porters in the centre of Antwerp, a guesthouse, showroom and shop. After my aromatherapy I was ready for some retail therapy there as they sell an amazing range of interior products that I was lusting after for my new home!
What do you do to unwind after a stressful day? XO Sofie