- My favourite bits about being a Mum on Little Years website
- Island Retreats Mind to Heart Retreat in Metro
- My 8 tips for managing stress – featured on Sheerluxe
We all have busy schedules, pressing commitments and frenetic lives so stress is never far away. Putting things in perspective and learning to combat the stressful moments that bring us down is key because let’s face it, life is for living and most importantly, enjoying.
We asked Erin Knowles, zen health and wellness guru and Founder of Knowles Lifestyle and its luxurious Ibiza health retreats, how she manages the tensions that creep into everyday life. Here, Erin gives us her top eight tips on minimising and eliminating stress…
Be the early bird
Set your alarm for an hour earlier than usual so you have control of the day and are not in a rush. This will give you time to centre yourself and to prepare properly, whether that means writing out some goals, choosing an outfit for an important meeting or making a healthy packed lunch. Studies show that early risers tend to feel less stressed.
Follow a daily morning ritual
Rituals build good habits and reduce stress. Yours could be a jog in the park or singing a mantra – whatever makes you feel wonderful. By repeating a behaviour over and over you form a ritual and master that particular skill. The average time it takes to solidify a new habit is around 66 days.
To be able to properly manage our energy, at least 7 hours a night is key. Sleep experts say if you go to bed earlier, wake up earlier and allow times for naps your body will tune into the earth’s circadian rhythms meaning less stress and increased hormone production, cell regeneration and brain wave activity.
Avoid stimulants such as caffeine and sugar which can trigger anxiety symptoms. A diet rich in alkaline foods such a vegetables and fruit will help to keep the mind and body calm. Start the day with a large glass of warm water with fresh lemon juice. Lemon lowers our levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
It allows us to focus on the body and the breath in the present moment, teaching us to be calm in our mind whilst holding sometimes challenging poses. Yoga stimulates the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system), which calms us down and restores balance after stress.
The PNS sends blood to the endocrine system, digestive organs and other organs reducing our heartbeat and blood pressure. Headstands in particular are amazing for combatting anxiety because they reverse our blood flow and flush out our adrenal glands leading to increased positivity.
Put your hands at the base of your belly and breathe into that space for a count of four letting your stomach puff out, then gently hold the breath for another count of four and breathe out for a count of eight. Around 60% of panic attacks are accompanied by hyperventilation so allowing yourself to breathe deeply and slowly is the perfect antidote to anxiety.
The physical and mental release we feel through orgasm is known to ease the symptoms of anxiety. Some of the World’s most famous psychotherapists including Freud and Willheim Reich believed that our psychic health depended on the degree to which we could surrender during climax.
Move your body
Qigong – an ancient Chinese health system – recommends a simple exercise where you shake your whole body out with a slight bend in your knees to get rid of stagnant energy and stress. Motion is emotion so move in whatever way you feel you want to, it could be dancing, cartwheeling or jumping jacks. Movement releases feel-good brain chemicals that ease depression and anxiety.
- Ibiza North Shore Retreat featured in The Telegraph
- The surprise of a lifetime
Back in February a contact of mine asked me to come and meet him at his office in London to discuss his wife’s surprise 50th.
We plotted over the next 5 months arranging for the 30 best friends of the couple to fly to Ibiza where we took over the gorgeous boutique agrotourismo Atzaro for 5 days.
Here’s what we did:
Guests arrive at Atzaro throughout the day from around the world (huge baggage problems in Ibiza airport so half of them arrive with no bags!)
Poolside hanging and spa treatments.
Cocktails by the pool for the birthday girl’s surprise arrival – (her words on seeing everyone where “what?” “why?” and then “did you know?” (to her husband.) Hilarious.
Dinner & Dancing at Lio.
Morning yoga with the gorgeous Suzanne (one person showed up!)
Boat trip to Formentera on the Princesa De Mar with a hamper prepared by Ibiza Delivers with fruit, platters, chests, truffle honey and Made in Provence Rose.
Lunch at Juan Y Andrea.
Cocktails poolside at Atzaro (bar-tender David makes the most insane strawberry gin & tonics.)
Dinner under the beautiful pagoda covered in fairy lights with flowers by Mireya Estevez.
“F**k me I’m famous” at Pacha.
No one came to yoga (but they went to bed at 5:30am!
Sore heads for the Santa Agnes Heaven’s Gate walk with the lovely Toby from Walking Ibiza.
Cliff-top lunch at Puertas De Cielo.
Spa treatments at the Atzaro Spa.
Sunset Kayak from Benirras to San Miguel with Toby from Walking Ibiza.
Dinner & Party on secret beach with music by the coolest flamenco dudes Gino & Jiri, décor by Velvet Circus. We created a changing area with white gauzy curtains hidden in the forest and there was a fancy dress box.
The client said “It was truly the most enchanting scene I have ever experienced”.
After-hours drinks in The Chill at Atzaro.
Hike from Sa Caleta to Cala Jondal with Toby.
Lunch & beach-party at Blue Marlin.
Dinner at Macao in Santa Gertrudis.
We say goodbye to our lovely guests.
What a special week looking after the most thoroughly lovely people.
- D r e a m y I b i z a
I adore being on Ibiza in the springtime setting up for the season ahead. I can see an expanse of northern pine forest and sea from my desk and it’s filling my head with fresh new inspiration and ideas. I’ve discovered a secret cove with a teeny dreamy little chiringuito where I am hosting a client party. My husband Matt is fulfilling a boyhood dream captaining the brand new Ibiza Delivers Hunton 1005 RIB, a first class water taxi service that will also make deliveries out to the mega yachts. Our first Knowles Lifestyle Retreat is set for October with the Breath Guru and Jax May and we are already planning more. I’ll be hiking (baby on back) with the lovely Toby from Walking Ibiza plotting out cliff top picnics, visits to the lost moorish city and sunset kayak trips. All the things I have ever wanted feel like they are happening here and now. Manifestation: an event, action, or object that clearly shows or embodies something abstract or theoretical.
- An evening with the Breath Guru at Soho House
A roaring success – Alan Dolan aka The Breath Guru gave a talk at High Road House followed by a live ‘breathe’ which took the guests to some interesting places. One guest said “really enjoyed the session, slept like a baby and it got me back on track and focussed”.
- The Ivy Kensington Brasserie – a break from my detox
The Ivy is one of my old school faves so I was itching to try their new brasserie on High Street Kensington. I can report back that the steak tartare, lobster with butter sauce (and french fries) and black forest gateaux are all world class! A lovely spot. And now back to the detox.
- The Russian Dance of the Leaves treatment at SKC
I was treated recently to a spoiling Sunday trip to the Bathhouse at South Kensington Club. Here my husband and I were told to lie face down in the banya (sauna) where some lovely Russian men (called banchiks) lightly beat us with oak leaves. Whilst this is happening the temperature gradually increases and the movement of the leaves creates lovely eucalyptus scented puffs up and down the body. From there it’s a plunge into an icy barrel and then feet up to soak up the atmosphere in the pristine new Bathhouse (spotted a nice looking young man who my husband informs me is a Made in Chelsea actor.) We felt simply amazing all week after this 15 minute long treatment. Thank you to the lades at Wickerwood for the invite.
- Sexy Fish
All hail the new Sexy Fish – the coolest restaurant in town with the best name. This large New York style restaurant on Berkeley Square has Richard Caring’s elegant stamp. The food is Scotts gone Asian – try the tuna tartar with truffle, the hand dived scallops and the whole red mullet (the largest portion I’ve ever seen in Mayfair.) The friendly, professional team is headed up by the dashing Paul Murashe (formerly Nobu Berkeley.) For private dining try their downstairs room which has the two largest fresh water aquariums in Europe with new fish species introduced each week. A world class restaurant.