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HOW BREATHING TECHNIQUES CAN HELP WITH ‘POST-PANDEMIC’ ANXIETY

The pandemic has brought with it not only fear and stress for our loved ones, but also the change of routine. Now we’re starting to see the ‘light at the end of the very long tunnel’, change may be on its way again, causing many of us to feel overwhelmed by the prospect of integrating back into society.

One of the biggest social switches has been work. According to a YouGov survey, 57% of people who were able to carry on working at home during the crisis say they want to carry on working from home. Getting back into the hustle and bustle of commutes and work gatherings are likely to cause some people anxiety, but in the midst of things, we have to remember to stop and breathe.

The global Wellness Summit, which is co-funded by the Aromatherapy Associates, shared in recent years its clinical studies to put modern science behind something many have known for centuries – the positive effects breathing has on our mental and physical health. 

Amy Bonfield, Aromatherapy Associates Education Manager, believes the Box Breathing technique can help you deal with anxiety and depression, amongst other things. “When we are relaxed, we take slower, deeper diaphragmatic breaths. By breathing deliberately in this way, we can help to calm both the mind and the body, stimulating your parasymphatic nervous system and putting the body into ‘rest and repair’ mode.

“Box Breathing is a powerful stress-relieving exercise that can be practiced anywhere, perfect for when you need to take a moment to calm and refocus during a hectic day or as a tool to use to help with disturbed sleep caused by an overactive mind.”

To try this method, exhale to a count of four, holding your lungs empty for another count of four. Inhaling at a four count again, hold the air in your lungs for a final count of four. Repeat. 

We’ve all heard of in through the nose and out through the mouth, but did you know that the nose houses an important microbiome. It acts as the first line of defence for the immune system, with the hair and mucus mimicking a filter system helping to combat bacteria and viruses. According to the Global Wellness Trends Report 2021, taking care of your nose will help to balance out and revitalise your wellbeing, meaning this kind of breath work aims to soothe and calm the entire body.

One brand Bonfield likes to use in conjunction with breathing techniques is the Support Breathe, a range infused with essential oils such as Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Pine. Each one is known for varying properties such as being anti-bacterial and anti-septic, along with helping to ease breathing. The aromas band together to create a soothing experience to lift jaded energy.

“Support Breathe Bath and Shower Oil is a product I always keep in my bathroom cabinet to reach for when I feel like I am Coming down with something, working to boost my immune system and speed up recovery.” Using just one capful, Bonfield adds it to her chest and torso, breathing in the essential oils before she has a bath or a shower. “I prefer to use this blend in a hot shower to create a steam room experience, really clearing my congestion.”

Here are three products from the range that she swears by to help her deal with anxiety:

Support Breathe Roller Ball, £22

Support Breathe Bath and Shower Oil, £49

Support Breathe Essence, £25

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