Making the unconventional career change from financier to aromatherapist and facialist Annee De Mamiel has seen the city from both sides. Preoccupied with progression and success, the path we follow through the clamour of the city is often driven by the motive of ‘getting somewhere’. Although the desire for self-improvement is only natural, there is a danger of it becoming all-consuming.
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the open-ended to-do lists and mounting anxieties of work, Annee suggests that we begin by looking inwards to the root of the problem. This way we can begin to reconnect with ourselves and begin to choose a positive, healing response to stress. In conversation with Annee we discuss how simple therapeutic techniques, including deep breathing, moments of meditation and aromatherapy that can help to clear emotional space and counter the stress of the city.
‘We all have stress in our lives. Working in banking and trading gave me a real insight as to that high packed pressure of what we need to survive in that sort of environment. There were people around me who dealt with the stress in different ways. My boss at the time was a very young man with a young family and he suffered a heart attack, he passed away. that was a real trigger for me, I just felt that there was more to my life.’
Thinking about the biological impact of urban stressors, we start speaking about how the design of the city affects us. In the busy metropolis, late night office workers are illuminated by the the blue glow of their screens whilst colleagues recharge in the company sleep-pods. In order to keep up with the pace of the city, we have tampered with the natural cycles of day and night to meet deadlines and increase productivity. Annee explains, ‘we live in such a simulated environment, most of us have lost connection with what’s happening within ourselves and in nature. It is this disconnection that can cause great stress in our bodies.’
Caught up in the race, we often forget that moments of respite are essential. The familiar ache that pools in your temples after a run of late nights at the office is a reminder of the necessity for mental downtime. The idea that dogged devotion to work equates to productivity is not only out-dated but, proven to be false. Making space for mental downtime is necessary to encourage creativity, motivation and to bring clarity to situations.
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With almost 70% of people predicted to be living in urban areas by 2050, we need to start thinking about how we can create space to ground ourselves in the city.
Max Strom, Breathe to Heal
Beginning to breathe properly and more deeply, allows us to get to grips with our bodies as a whole.
Following the integrated philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Annee’s practice pays attention to the importance of psychological health. The way we feel can have a huge impact on our physical bodies, making emotional wellness a priority – particularly in high-stress occupations. In TCM, stress is often associated with stagnation of ‘qi’ or the ‘life force’, a blockage caused by a repressed feelings, unwarranted worrying or anxiety. By understanding and recognising where we are holding stress , we can start to release it more effectively and begin to lighten up.
A central limb of yoga, the breath is a tool we can use to explore our mind and body. As an advocate on the transformational and therapeutic benefits of breathwork, Max Strom explains ‘some doors only open from the inside- breath is a way of accessing that door’ Living in a time that puts pressure on the individual to outperform our peers, Annee explains that ‘most of us live in our heads, and because of this, we have lost our connection to how our bodies feel. We have lost the ability to interpret the pain in our lower back, or in our belly, and recognise that most of these symptoms are due to stress.’ By overlaying Chinese medicine, acupuncture and aromatherapy, she is interested in being able to give people the tools to release their daily stresses, in a manageable, sustainable way.’
Annee De Mamiel
We can choose the way we respond to stress.
‘We tend to keep our breath very shallow, when we should learn to breathe deeply. As soon as we begin to feel that tickle in the throat, or our shoulders writhe, it is important to have a tool there that you can turn to, to counteract the initial feelings of fight or flight and activate the right response within our bodies.’
As an aromatherapist, Annee uses rich essential oils as a way to re-inspire a connection with what is going on on in your head. ‘Once you have a scent that grounds you, everything will begin to slow down.’ As the strongest of the senses, scent can be wonderfully curative, helping to engage our emotional responses and help to calm the sympathetic nervous system. Below we have outlined a list of therapeutic essential oils alongside, Annee’s methods for calming the mind.
I have people put those red dots on their wallet or their computer screen and every time they see them they stop and they breathe or they reach for their altitude oil. It encourages you so it sort of becomes a muscle pattern or a mental pattern. I choose red is because you see stop lights everywhere so whenever you see a red button or a red dot it encourages you just to like breathe or let go.
Keep your aromatherapy tools close by to encourage moments where you breathe more deeply. For example, by keeping Altitude Oil on your desk it is in view so, whenever you see it, just pick it up and breathe.
A guide to essential oils to help relieve stress and restore balance. Diffuse your work or living space with a few drops to help instill a sense of calm and support you through the day.
5 Minutes. All you need is 5 minutes to pull yourself back into a manageable space. It’s about pulling yourself back, so we’re not adding things into our lives and exacerbating our stress. Whether you are having a morning cup of tea, or shaving, take the time to stop and slow your breathing down. Slow everything else down so you are able to deal with things better.
Inspired by her training in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Annee de Mamiel’s philosophy is centred on the principle that life is entwined in a series of seasons and cycles. As an acupuncturist, aromatherapist and healing holistic facialist, she believes skincare is far more than a superficial treatment. Her eponymous brand de Mamiel, is created using the ancient principles of Chinese medicine along with modern scientific research into how ingredients interact with our bodies. Containing the purest, organic ingredients, each blend is handcrafted created to capture the energetic, skin nourishing properties of plants.