Uh, no…

I had plans for this week’s post, to write another perfume review – which went out the window.

Last week was a bit difficult. I had a health emergency, ended up at A&E, had a load of tests which all came back ok (thank goodness), and now have another load to be scheduled for the week after this one at the surgery. Needless to say, I am a bit distracted. I’m ok, but shaken up and feeling fragile. So, rather than this particular perfume (some other time) we’re going to talk random stuff.

First a question: what do you do to combat serious stress? Things that make a difference, distract you, calm your breathing and get your shoulders down from around your ears? Any suggestions appreciated.

To distract myself, I walked to visit the house-house (around 40 minutes on foot) as I can’t drive for the next three weeks. Things are looking … slightly different. Half the back wall is painted and the builders have rerouted the guttering on one side (the side belonging to next door) down the back of the neighbouring house. Seeing this made me ridiculously pleased.

The roses on both fences are being choked by bind weed, but there’s nothing I’m going to do about that right now. Maybe in a few weeks when the back garden is freer of building materials. It flummoxes me, however, that my neighbours on the guttering side, who seem relatively sane, do nothing in their garden. Build yourself a little patio and cede the rest to me. I see raised vegetable beds. I’ll even share the results.

Someone has cut back the trailing vines in the front wall, so things look much cleaner. Thank you someone (probably the key builder).

I bought a sunflower from in front of someone’s house for 50 pence. The plan is to put it in the house-house garden with the hope we’ll be back there by the time it’s big and flowering.

Finally, I was looking at my skincare. I’m about half way through my current hyaluronic serum (Peter Thomas Roth Cloud stuff which I really like) and Buffet by The Ordinary. I’m good on facial oils and moisturiser. I’ve got about another ¾ of an inch in my Emma Hardie Moringa cleanser. I’m planning to replace all of it when it’s finally done, but I feel I need a treat, something different (actually, it doesn’t have to be skincare), to assist with the stress reductions.

So, any suggestions for luxurious skincare, something else that makes you feel really wonderful – that’s distracting etc? Much appreciated. I’m going to watch Gardeners’ World now.

PS Both pics Pexels


  • Ariel says:

    Health difficulties during a pandemic are certainly extra stressful. My favorite stress relief is sitting in a rocking chair with a cup of tea. Not earth-shattering, I know. Sometimes anxiety (or pain or exhaustion or…) make decision-making very difficult. I’ve used this priority list before: exercise/fresh air, sleep, food, make art, fulfill an obligation. It helped me to take care of myself on a continuous basis. I’ve also written relaxing activities on slips of paper and stored them in a jar. Whenever I felt the need for some relief, I would pull a slip out and do that thing- no decisions required.

    So much of how we operate in the world has changed: everyone I know is mentally exhausted. I’m wishing you the best.

    My favorite skincare comes from Eastern Oregon, from a small company called Wild Carrot Herbals. Their vanilla bean cream is quite rich and comforting.

  • Patty says:

    So sorry for the health stress, and I hope it is behind you soon. I weirdly deal with stress better than I should outwardly. And often how I’m dealing with it badly is hidden from me until it isn’t. Usually I look around and wonder who the heck is eating all that ice Cream! Excercise helps me, calm stuff like swimming and walking and biking. It mostly helps get energy out! Treats, I’m the worst, I treat myself all the time, and I really should stop. Oh, another hidden stress dealer, shopping!

  • Ingeborg says:

    Visualisation sometimes help to calm down and focus. Just think of a favourite place (like a beach or garden) while sitting back or lying down for five to ten minutes.

    If you have been told not to use tea or coffee, please remember that the darkest chocolate also has some stimulating substances. And be careful with liquorice (the real stuff), it can mess with the stress hormones and give dangerously high blood pressure (some of us are more sensitive than others).

    Naps, baking (homemade graham scones used to be a favourite of mine, bread even better), gentle exercise like you already do; all are activities which will sometimes help me shift my focus away from worries.

  • Dina C. says:

    My go-tos for stress relief are: naps, hot baths, getting lost in a novel, singing along to music I love, praying and sharing my concerns with other people in my faith community. My latest affordable treat: Thymes Neroli Sol bubble bath (the guys who make the wonderful Frasier Fir candles), and it is a beachy orange blossom scent. Smells super, with notes of OB, neroli, salt spray, and teak wood! The bubble bath comes in a heavy glass bottle with a carved cork stopper. It reminds me of the Patron tequila bottle a little.

  • rosarita313 says:

    Cinnamon, I’m sorry you’re having to deal with health stress and I hope things are resolved soon.
    When I’m really stressed I can’t calm my mind to concentrate on anything, so years ago I decided to concentrate my focus on the five senses as a way of staying in the moment. I grab a silk scarf (or the cat) close my eyes and really focus on how it feels to my fingers. Next play some soothing to you music, grab a bite of something delicious and something wonderful to smell. For sight I often scroll my Pinterest boards of flowers etc. The point is to sit still and really use your senses, plus breathing. Another thing I love is to sit by an open window, preferably in the evening, and concentrate on what you hear. Project your hearing as far out as you can, then bring it as close in as you can. These exercises have really helped me.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I go in the titchy garden here and sit in the sun. That does help. And I’m watching what look like giant thistle in the hope they’ll bloom soon.

    • Ariel says:

      These sound like some pretty cool exercises- glad you have them in your toolkit!

  • Musette says:

    well, if Monty can’t calm you down, no one can! 😉 But… for me, Happy Baby does it. I lie on my bed (because The Girl is a furious shedder and the floor is furiously full of her fur)… do a bit of Child’s Pose (which I do with open hips because of my cracked sacrum)…. and then I flop over and do HB! It doesn’t take long – 5 minutes will do it (doing both poses!) and that subtle invert seems to get a lot more oxygen coursing through my veins. xoxox

    • Cinnamon says:

      Alas, Monty didn’t do it. I do those poses. Sometimes works, sometimes not. I think I need to put my legs up on the wall and just make myself breathe.

  • Marsha says:

    The best thing I have ever done to combat stress and anxiety is to make mindfulness meditation a part of your life. Look up Jon Kabat-Zinn and he will convince you!

  • Bee says:

    There’s never a good time to get health problems but this coming on top of all the Covid -19 anxiety must be so particularly stressful. Remember to breathe and take your time doing things. Have some good tea and a relaxing book on hand. Take long fragrant baths and have a glass of wine….or brandy before bed. Be kind to yourself – and selfish when you need to be – getting well is more important than anything else. Fingers crossed you get good results from tests and peace of mind & body.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Trying to do yoga breathing. Sometimes it works; sometimes not so much. But definitely on bath. Can’t do alcohol or caffeine. So, bits of chocolate have to do. And apricots, strawberries, blueberries and raspberries — they all help (and the dog likes them too).

  • Cinnamon says:

    Thanks, all. Sorry to do this as an all-at-once but I have to get ready for work (training someone on a client so already feeling stressed). Will comment individually over next few days.

  • March says:

    Well, that’s terrible…. except for the house, which sounds terriffic. I love skincare and find it very relaxing and pampering. Sounds like you are set on serums and moisturizer, etc., how do you feel about gentle peels? The Ordinary 30% AHA / 2% BHA leaves my skin looking fresh and baby soft. I love the Whamisa Organic Flowers deep rich toner (which is moisturizing, btw.) Here’s a UK link https://www.whamisa.co.uk/products/whamisa-organic-flowers-toner-deep-rich I use it after I cleanse and whenever my skin feels like it could use a zpritz (I have it in a small spray bottle). I hope things improve for you!

    • Cinnamon says:

      Just been told I can’t visit the house for at least a week as they are about to start on things that make it dangerous for us not builders. that’s fine. I should be getting pictures. Will have to look into the Ordinary stuff. Given the price it’s hard to go wrong.

  • matty1649 says:

    I’m retired with underlying health problems. I also live alone. I self quarantined 2 weeks before the official lockdown in the UK. So that makes it about 3 months. My family don’t live very far away. I’m well looked after by my daughter and grown up grandchildren. We all keep in touch via a group text, phone calls and facetime. I really miss seeing them and my great grandchildren properly.
    I haven’t been sleeping very well at all.
    I’ve been reading books that don’t tax the brain too much !!! Watching more tv than usual. I make sure I wear perfume every day.Today it’s Vera Wang Embrace Periwinkle and Iris.
    I do hope my comment doesn’t come across as if I’m moaning, far from it. I’m grateful for keeping safe at home and being provided for by all my family.
    Not to mention cuddles with my naughty cat.

    • Cinnamon says:

      I actually don’t have much family. My son is with me (it’s great having to finish your first year of uni at home…) and he’s lovely (and a good cook). I speak with relatives in the US. Not moaning at all. Life is very strange right now.

  • Maggiecat says:

    Health scares and waiting for test results are terrible sources of stress! Right now, I’m enjoying some Caudalie products for a stress reducing great. Their foaming face wash is just lovely and makes getting up in the morning less painful ( and since I have rheumatoid arthritis, getting up in the morning is usually very painful indeed)

  • Tara C says:

    Sorry to hear about your health scare, I hope it all resolves well. I’ve started meditating in response to the coronavirus situation and it has helped calm my anxieties considerably. Carbs of almost any form are also soothing, as well as puppy cuddles. And when all else fails, there’s drugs.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Years ago I did some mindfulness. May have to revisit. Dog smell and cuddles are very helpful. He’s so tolerant — makes these little chuffs like he’s saying, ‘yes, yes, I know you’re stressed — just sniff my fur and you’ll be better’.

  • Quarry says:

    I feel for (((you))). Had a health scare a week ago myself, ended up on antibiotic, which seems to have blunted my Paxil (anti-anxiety elixir). I, too, use television to get out of my head. I found an article that helped me organize my thoughts and sort out the difference between worry (thought) and anxiety (feeling): https://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=87628

  • Praise The Lord you are ok! I’ve been really stressed out and devastated for the past year. My Mother passed away 5/20/19. What has calmed me and distracted me some is listening to Christian Sermons . I’m serious. I’ve also purchased Paris by YSL. I remember she received that as a gift once. She bought herself a Narcisso Body Creme once. She also enjoyed Mon Paris and L’eau de Jimmy Choo. On the luxurious side, i like the Origins tinted lip balms, Chanel tinted lip balm. Intense and Warm Intense are my favorites. I also love Olio e Osso tinted lip balms. My Mother used Creme De La Mer! She was big on skincare. She had planned on using Shiseido skincare after she finished her last bottle of La Mer.

  • Undina says:

    Hi Cinnamon,
    Sorry for your health scare, but hope you’ll be alright.

    When I need a distraction, I binge watch one of the TV shows on streaming. My favorites for these purposes are Midsommer Murders, Murdoch Mysteries, Poirot and Magnum P.I. (original).

    • Cinnamon says:

      We actually don’t have a TV. I got rid of the old one , with the plan being to potentially get a new one once back in the house-house. But, I’m not a great TV watcher anyway. I do watch Gardeners’ World on the laptop. I think I need to do some investigating of other stuff.

  • Cassieflower says:

    Hopefully all your results will be good. Like Portia, I’m an old scrubber, haha.It’s totally therapeutic. Exercise also, anything you’re able to do. Being as physically active as possible to tire yourself, it might help you sleep a bit better, I find that when I’m stressed that restful sleep is impossible.

  • Leigh says:

    Try some of the newish glass skin serums. It’s kind of amazing what they do.

  • Portia Turbo says:

    Hey Cinnamon,
    I work best when distracted of my anguish.
    We have dogs. Nothing calms me faster than curling up with my boy Paris.
    Second quickest is cleaning. You give me a vacuum cleaner or a hot water bucket, cloth and tea towel and I’m happily scrubbing.
    Lastly, cooking easy peasy stuff life jaffles or toast and jam with a big hot cuppa. BLISS.

    • Cinnamon says:

      Yes, dog. He’s a big help. I actually don’t have the oomph for cleaning currently. I do the dishes and then I’m pooped. Drinking a lot of hot ginger water.