Harrogate-based NEOM Organics has tips on staying calm in the corona lockdown

Nicola Elliott at home in Harrogate with her children.Nicola Elliott at home in Harrogate with her children.
Nicola Elliott at home in Harrogate with her children.

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Stephanie Smith finds expert advice from Yorkshire wellbeing brand NEOM and psychotherapist Catherine Asta on coping with anxiety at home as the Covid-19 crisis continues.

Self-care is not an indulgence right now; it’s a necessity. Many of us are struggling with anxiety at the moment and finding it very hard to cope and to sleep. I hate the word “pamper”, but the age-old concept of taking time to soothe our troubled minds with scents as we care for our body inside and out has to be taken seriously.

Nicola Elliott created her Harrogate-based beauty and lifestyle company NEOM Organics especially to address problems surrounding wellbeing. Originally from Leeds, she found herself experiencing high levels of stress as a magazine editor in London and so trained as an aromatherapist and nutritionist, creating little essential oil blends and tinctures for her friends. She realised that there was a gap in the market for beauty and wellness products that were 100 per cent natural and where possible organic. In 2005, she moved to Harrogate and launched NEOM Organics with her business partner Oliver, starting with just five candles, the first on the market to be made with 100 per cent natural wax and pure essential oils.

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She is a strong advocate for self-care. “The time is now,” she says. “We’re all at home and true to our mission, we’re here to help you make it the best place it can be, for your wellbeing.”

NEOM has been working with psychotherapist Catherine Asta, who has the following advice for staying positive in trying circumstances.

“There is huge uncertainty right now, and uncertainty isn’t something we cope with very well.

“We are all feeling a sense of loss – from the routines we had, our work, human contact, space and the freedom to travel and explore. We are creatures of habit and we are finding it difficult to plan ahead, we don’t know what life is going to look like tomorrow, or next week, or in a few weeks or months.

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“Our minds are overloaded right now with information, facts, figures, opinions, advice, news and worse case scenarios. So do whatever you need to do to reduce that mental overload and protect your head space.

Catherine’s tip: Mental distancing is something we can all practise to help keep our minds positive. It might look like:

1. Minimising the amount of time watching the news. Find a couple of trusted news sources and only check updates once or twice a day.

2. Don’t be afraid to mute or unfollow people or group chats if the information they are sharing is triggering you.

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3. Switching your phone off for a while and do something that distracts you from your thoughts. Focus on something that isn’t linked to the here and now. Keep focused on your longer-term goals. Facetime your family and your cheerleaders.

4. Looking for the positive stories of kindness and compassion and doing something kind. There is evidence that when we engage in kindness, that it lowers our blood pressure and it has therapeutic benefits too.

5. Only working on the basis of what you know today.

Catherine has the following tips for feeling calmer:

She says; “Your body is doing what it is programmed to do, it’s producing a stress response to a situation you’ve never experienced before. It’s like an inner warning system to force you to take action. It might look like:

· Sadness, irritability, anger

· Lack of concentration

· Social withdrawal

· Headaches, teeth grinding, jaw clenching

· Tiredness, fatigue

· Not being able to sleep

· Crying

“And your immediate response might be to soothe that emotional pain with unhealthy coping mechanisms. But what is important is that you are able to recognise your stress response, and then find some healthy ways of coping.”

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Catherine’s tip: “Manage what you can and let go of the things you can’t. Life has changed, so please lower your expectations on yourself.

“You aren’t superhuman. The thought of trying to juggle work, children, lack of personal space, being socially isolated from the daily contact you thrive on and adapting to a life where your world has shrunk means adjusting. Take control over the things you can control.”

And Catherine has the following advice on how to manage anxious feelings.

“Only a week or so ago we were going about our lives as normal and now we’re home schooling our kids, living 24/7 with our partners or facing social isolation alone. Our work routines have changed or we might have lost our work entirely. Add to that the fear of loved ones health and the loneliness from social isolation – our lives have changed and plans have been put on hold.

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“What you are feeling, on both an emotional and physical level is a very normal reaction to the fear you are feeling, and I want you to know that it’s okay to feel what you are feeling.

“But the thing with anxiety is that it takes us into the future. We start overthinking and applying a huge amount of mental energy into trying to work out what *might* happen.”

Catherine’s tip: “Whenever you feel anxious or a loved one is showing signs of anxiety use this three step secure base exercise to work through the anxious thoughts and to bring you back to your secure base. It helps you take some control over your thoughts and your situation:

1. Is what you are worrying about something you have the power to control?

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2. Is what you are worrying about something you have the power to solve?

3. Is what you are worrying about likely to happen?”

Catherine Asta is resident psychotherapist on the Stephanie Hirst Show on BBC Radio Leeds and the resident well-being expert at John Lewis Leeds. Find out more on www.catherineasta.com

Try NEOM Wellbeing Pods, great looking device which pump heavenly scented natural essential oils into the atmsosphere, help to boost both wellbeing and purify the air.

For those struggling with sleep, the new NEOM fragrance Bedtime Hero uses chamomile in a blend of 11 pure essential oils, including ylang ylang and cedarwood, which has a relaxing effect on the mind and body, helping to prepare you to drift off. It’s ideal for those who don’t like lavender (if you do, NEOM also has the Perfect Night’s Sleep blend). Both have been formulated to help relax and prepare for a dreamy night’s sleep with pillow mists and candles. Buy on NeomOrganics.com

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