I basically called my mom for help. Except when I say mom, I mean an esthetician.
When I got the press release for Aveda’s new Stress-Fix Body Creme, I laughed at the hook: It’s in honor of Stress Awareness Month. I didn’t know that April was Stress Awareness Month, but apparently it’s been a thing since 1992? I have personally been celebrating it, oh, my entire adult life.
I honestly cannot think of a time over the last 20 years when I wasn’t stressed out about something. The intensity of my stress, and the seriousness of whatever was behind it, has waxed and waned over the years: In my early twenties, I worried mainly about my post-college career plans. Mid-twenties was about getting my romantic house in order. Late-twenties was about getting my financial house in order. Early-to-mid thirties was career, again, mixed with some health-related anxiety.
And now, late-ish-thirties, I worry about a whole host of grown-up things (in no particular order): the health of my parents, being a good aunt, the health of my in-laws, whether I'm seeing my family enough, identity theft, maintaining my own health, whether I’m being a good enough friend, etc., etc.
The good thing is that at this age, I know how to handle my business when things get hectic in ways I didn't when I was in my twenties. And a very easy, very accessible way is through scent. (I'm hesitant to call it "aromatherapy," but... is it?)
My Mom (hi Mom!) introduced me to the soothing qualities of lavender pretty early on. Lavender, both in plant and essential oil form, was a frequent presence in our house growing up. One big inhale of the stuff and I’ve always felt less like having a rage blackout and more like giving someone a hug. Lavender’s stress-relieving powers are well-documented; and it’s the star note in Aveda’s Stress-Fix range, which includes its new Body Creme.
(Sidebar: The only human being I know who actively hates the smell of lavender is Marci. I would argue that her stress levels could use some managing? But that's a story for another day.)
The cream itself is a pretty standard affair: a blend of shea butter, sunflower oil, and glycerin. But the scent -- herbaceous, soothing, nature-y -- instantly puts my mind in a calmer state. Also, Aveda sent over some practical tips for using the cream to help alleviate another kind of stress: the kind caused by frequent typing and texting. (Fun AMG fact: I have “texting elbow,” which is the new tennis elbow. Trendy!)
Here’s what they suggest, which, admittedly, could work with any kind of thick lotion, but if you can get a sample of this stuff, you get the added aromatherapy benefit:
Give Your Hands a Break
Time: 30 seconds -- 2 minutes
To help release tightness caused by keyboarding and texting, smooth Stress-Fix on your hands and forearms, and use your thumb to massage the muscular area at the base of your other thumb.
(This feels LOVELY. If you do nothing else, do this. NOW. You will thank me.)
* Press and hold any tense areas.
* Massage your inner forearm with your thumb from wrist to elbow.
* Press and hold any tense areas near your elbow -- flex and extend your wrist while pressing to help reduce muscle tension.
* Repeat on your other hand and forearm.
Do you love/hate lavender? AND do you believe in aromatherapy to alleviate stress?