7 Ways To Combat Stress

Did you know that April is Stress Awareness Month? It has been held every year since 1992 as a way of combating the rising levels of stress we face every day. And this year’s theme is Community.

Stress is a hugely common part of everyone’s day. We stress about so many things like being late for work, missing a bus or whether we unplugged our hair straighteners…But we also worry about slightly bigger things like deadlines, issues with a friend or partner, or finding a job.

Most of the time, big things such as work, school or relationships give us very good reasons to be worried or stressed. However, when we start to worry about lots of small things (which then all amount to a big ball of stress) it can sometimes become too much. And that is when we really need to unwind!

There are a few things to think about when it comes to stress. Firstly, and I’m sure we’ve all been told this at some point, will this really matter in five years, or five months or any other length of time? Easier said than done of course, but it can help to put your problem into perspective.

Another thing to consider, is whether the situation is something you should be worried about. For example, for anyone who suffers from anxiety, there are hundreds of thoughts going through your brain every second and it’s really hard to focus on all of them. So try ask yourself, is this a reasonable thing to be stressing about? Or do I need to realise that this is my anxiety talking?

Again, easier said than done. But this is especially helpful for the times when you need to allow yourself to feel stressed or worried about something…Remember, the fight-or-flight response is a completely natural way of our body’s reacting to danger or potential threats! So, in these cases, allow yourself to feel whatever it is you are feeling. Don’t try and brush your feelings under the carpet and hope they will go away.

It is also important to remember that stress and anxiety are not the same thing and are dealt with differently! Feeling stressed or overwhelmed is normal…and bound to happen. So, in those situations it’s important to know what to do. However, it is not as normal when every day tasks and situations become stressful! And that is when you should consider reaching out for a little bit of help. Ultimately everyone has different ways of dealing with stress, and finding what works for you is the most important thing.

  1. Talk to someone: Don’t keep things bottled up. Even if the person you talk to doesn’t have a solution, it’s better to share than to sit with your problem alone.

  2. Start slowly but surely: Have a big piece of work you need to do? Don’t know where to start? Break down what it is you need to do and tick things off as you go. That way, even if the task has been small, you will have achieved something. 

  3. Close your laptop and take a break: When you are stressing about a piece of work or a deadline, staring at a blank screen isn’t going to help. Grab a book, or make a coffee, or go for a walk. Taking your mind off the task will allow you to clear your head and come back with a much clearer perspective.

  4. Take some time for self care: Run a bath and relax with a face mask and bath bomb. Have you tried the Youthful Glow Face Mask? It’s perfect for some me-time, especially when paired with the Himalayan Dream Bath Salts.

  5. Try prevention instead of cure? Be organised and work backwards from a deadline. If you’re worrying about relationships, be super honest and communicate regularly so that you can try and catch an issue before it becomes a huge problem.

  6. Have a routine: For a lot of people the unknown is a huge source of stress and worry. Have a routine in place and stick to it as much as you can. But make the routine flexible so that you don’t then worry about not sticking to the routine (vicious circle if ever there was one, right?)

  7. Personal tip – Make a list of ‘dones’ not ‘to-dos’: It can be very daunting when you have a long list of things to tick off. I personally spend more time thinking about the tasks and writing them down, than actually doing them… So, because of that, I started writing a list at the end of the day of all the things I had done instead. This is so much less daunting and even if you feel like you haven’t achieved much, you might surprise yourself.

Consumers Driving Sustainable Change

In 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report detailing the actions that the world needs to take to reduce its carbon emissions, to ensure that our global average temperature does not exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. At present, it is estimated that the global rise in temperature is somewhere between 1.06°C and 1.26°C above pre-industrial temperatures.

But what would actually happen if we surpassed the 1.5°C target? Well…it would be detrimental as climate catastrophes would increase in both frequency and severity, causing exacerbated hunger, disease, and conflict.

As a result, the report emphasised the urgent need to reduce human related CO2 emissions to a degree of 45% by 2030 and net-zero by 2050. This would be achieved through the rapid phasing out of fossil fuels in homes, transport, agriculture, and industry.

Global environmental activists have viewed this report as a dire warning to the world, as we only have 12 years left to take drastic steps to reduce CO2 emissions if we want to avoid the worst effects of climate change. And soon after, protests in support of climate action began to emerge in great numbers across the globe.

In late 2018 and early 2019, climate strikes led by Greta Thunberg reached major news headlines, encouraging young people to take a stance against the lack of action by political actors in combating climate change. The first day of global climate action, led by Greta Thunberg in March 2019, drew over one million protesters globally from more than 2,000 strikes across 125 countries, showcasing the mass support for climate change action.

In response to these events, both politicians and business owners came to understand the importance of sustainability and the scale of concern regarding a future of drought, food shortages, plastic pollution, and drastic sea-level rise. However, to keep the loyalty of their climate conscious constituents and customers, they need to take greater steps in implementing sustainable policies and ensuring a larger quantity of eco-friendly products are available to the public.

I want a hot date not a hot planet

Consumers are not only asking companies for more sustainable products; they are also asking companies to adopt sustainable policies and to improve their sustainability ratings. As companies realise their customer base is eco-conscious, they are beginning to adopt sustainable policies that attract more consumers.

In recent years, sustainable policies have predated governmental regulations in the sustainability sector. For example, the well-known outdoor clothing brand, Patagonia, has led the industry in sustainable consumption, as it uses mostly recycled materials and offers lifetime return and repair programs, promoting a circular economy. Furthermore, Patagonia aims to become carbon neutral by 2025.

The fight for a sustainable future is far from over! However, consumers who continually choose sustainable options force companies to take further action in the fight against climate change. We as consumers can also choose to support small and eco-friendly businesses, rather than large corporations with giant ecological and carbon footprints. So, join the push for a sustainable future by choosing the sustainable option!

As Earth day comes and goes, I want you to stop and think for a moment about what you have done in the past year to help the Earth.

♻️It might’ve been using reusable bags when out shopping to reduce your single use plastic waste
🥕Reducing your consumption of meat
✈️Travelling less to reduce your carbon footprint
🚮OR something as simple as picking up the rubbish in the park when you saw it blowing around

This Earth day I ask you to make a resolution to the Earth, about something you will do personally to help the Earth in the coming year. So, what will yours be?

Written by Connor Durkin
Top illustration by HYESU LEE 

Lets celebrate Pachamama, our common mother, this mother’s day

Mothers come in many forms, whether they are birth or adoptive mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, and those motherly figures that have supported and nurtured us as we have grown up…And every year on Mothering Sunday, we come together to celebrate them.

Although Mother’s Day has largely become a capitalistic holiday that has survived through greeting cards and department stores with mother’s day deals, one mother, in particular, has been overlooked…Pachamama!

For hundreds of years rituals and holidays celebrating mother’s and fertility have existed around the world. During the Inca Empire (which was situated around South America) the Inca people worshiped a mythological goddess, known in the Quechua language as Pachamama, which is quite literally translated into ‘World Mother’. 

In ancient cultures and civilisations, the many translations of ‘World Mother’ or ‘Mother Earth’ have been central to their culture, with the worshiping of Gaia (Greece), Magna Matter (Anatolia – Modern Turkey), Tellus (Rome), and Pachamama, being present across the globe.

The Inca people worshiped and held Pachamama at the core of their cosmology, claiming that the goddess was the prime origin of the four cosmological principles:



☀️ Sun


Drawings and paintings  dating back hundreds of years depict Pachamama as an entanglement of the mountains, rivers, trees, and plants. However, when people become greedy, Pachamama takes the form of a dragon beneath the mountains, causing them to shake, reminding the people not to take too much from her as her resources are limited.

Much like our own mothers, who provide us with everything that we have and nurture us as we grow, everything we consume from food, water, and raw materials comes from Mother Earth. We often overlook how our existence can negatively affect the Earth, as we have dug deep mines to extract precious minerals and metals, torn apart pristine ecosystems for oil extraction, and deforested millions of acres of land for economic development.

In order to receive, one needed to give back! Ayni is a Quechua and Aymara word that refers to the concept of reciprocity and mutualism, and it is considered the most important of the five core principles of Andean life:

  • munay (to love)
  • yachay (to learn, know, remember)
  • llan’kay (to work)
  • kawsay (life)
  • ayni (reciprocity)

As a result, the Inca people worshiped Pachamama through sacrifices and offerings of llamas, coca leaves, and the burning of elaborate miniature garments in hopes of protection and a great harvest season.

And despite the attempts of the Spanish colonists, who wished to eradicate these traditional indigenous beliefs, there remains a solid connection to Pachamama and a heavy intertwining of ancient principles into the culture of the indigenous peoples of the Andean region. 

For example, Pachamama continues to be celebrated with offerings of coca leaves, huayruro seeds, and chicha throughout the year.

Celebrations are particularly plentiful during August (due to it being the coldest month and right before the snow season) as it is thought that this is the month where the Earth is open, and offerings are given to Pachamama in hopes of good health, wealth, and to find love. Offerings are done with families, friends, or with the help of traditional healers through a mesa, a table of offerings that is then burned and placed in the Earth so that Pachamama can receive it.

“The Earth does not belong to us, but we belong to it, because we are her sons and daughters. Who owns the land? Pachamama is our mother and in this home we live as humans, animals and plants.”

René Machaca, a local primary teacher living in the Argentine Andes

We celebrate Pachamama to remind us of our collective responsibility to respect and promote harmony with nature. This year, let us honour and appreciate our mothers by helping the Earth that sustains us and everything we love about our mothers.

Written by Connor Durkin

Good Vibes, Good Life: How Self-Love Is the Key to Unlocking Your Greatness

Vex King’s bestselling guide is where personal growth meets personal disruption, or as the author himself would put it “[…] the balance between accepting yourself as you are while knowing you deserve better and then working towards it.”

Good Vibes Good Life covers all areas of our lives including career, lifestyle, family & friends. His wisdom is built from the hardships he has faced and the hurdles he has had to overcome; including financial worries, anger issues and coping with negative judgment from others.

While some of his advice may seem fairly self-explanatory, as humans we can sometimes carelessly become so wrapped up in a particular thought or feeling that it can be hard to act rationally. That’s why I recommend reading Vex’s book from start to finish, and then keeping it somewhere in view to refer to in times of need.

“You’ll get the job, the partner, the house, the car, etc. Just don’t rush the process; trust it. You have to grow into your dreams.

As I’m writing this in January my social media feed is flooded with new resolutions. Talk of running marathons, going tee-total, cutting down on spending and losing lots of weight comprise the majority of what I’m scrolling through.

While we always set these goals with the best of intentions, we tend to seek out “instant gratification” instead of something that we can sustain. Vex reminds us in the “positive lifestyle habits” and “taking action” sections of the book that “new habits’’ which we “carry out consistently over a long period of time become habits that reap lasting results.” Patience is truly a virtue and keeping consistent with our efforts and remaining resilient in spite of setbacks will help us meet our goals.

“The aim isn’t to force positive thoughts, but to transform the negative ones into something healthier, so you can feel better.”

While surrounding ourselves with positive people and striving for success is certainly constructive, it’s totally impossible to banish all traces of negativity from our lives. Anger, envy, failure and heartbreak unfortunately come part and parcel with being human. Vex therefore urges us to explore different ways to deal with our negative thoughts, to ensure they don’t become all-consuming.

The first chapters of his book describe the way that “[…] when you feel good, your life also appears to be good,” and it is when we are in this state that the law of attraction takes its course. For example, we are more likely to strike up a conversation that goes somewhere when we leave our homes feeling positive than if walk out the door feeling bitter, enraged and with our heads down.

“If you keep trying to please others, you will never keep up. In the end, you will satisfy neither them nor yourself. ”

Do you live in constant fear of being disliked or judged? We exhaust ourselves in our attempts at pleasing everyone, knowing deep-down the sheer impossibility of it all. Vex reminds us that there will always be people who don’t agree with what you’re doing, and that’s fine. Put to use the constructive criticism, but ignore the rest of the noise.

I hope you enjoyed The Ayllu Box’s book of the month- let us know your thoughts!