Simple Ways to Avoid Getting Swept up in Stress

BY Bridget Marsh for Harpers Bazaar

Sarah Ann Macklin chairing the Be Well Collective panel. Moeez Ali

Sarah Ann Macklin chairing the Be Well Collective panel. Moeez Ali


This week, ahead of a busy month of fashion shows, the Be Well Collective – a non-profit organisation endorsed by the British Fashion Council – addressed members of the fashion industry in the interest of wellbeing. But the expert panel’s advice applied not solely to models.

In fact, the takeaways will resonate with all of us who find that rest and sleep can go astray during times of stress.

“During stressful periods our stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol stay elevated, which can lead to burn-out. It is important during these times that we recognise our bodies need rest, and that we implement measures to helps support this.”

Registered nutritionist, model and founder of the Be Well Collective, Sarah Ann Macklin

The trouble is, while we’re busy living our breakneck lifestyles, self-care takes a backseat when it’s needed most. Below, Macklin, and her fellow panellists, suggest ways in which you can maximise your mental wellbeing when your stress levels are soaring.

Swap sugar for stress-busting foods

“We can make poor nutritional choices when stressed, reaching for high-sugar foods for an injection of energy,” Maklin says. “Stress also increases the rate our nutrients are used, as it is in need of a higher demand.” So this is not the time to supplement with Haribo.

“Dark green leafy vegetables, berries, nuts and seeds are filled with nutrients that can support the body when stressed,” she says – which couldn’t be easier to incorporate into your daily diet. “During times of chronic stress, I reach for ashwagandha which can help regulate and support the nervous system.”

The ashwagandha plant, particularly its root powder, has been used for centuries in traditional Indian medicine. It’s classified as an ‘adaptogen’, in that it abates anxiety. “It can help with mental clarity,” Maklin confirms. “It’s been shown to help lower cortisol levels, known best for its anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) properties.”

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Frances Balding