Combatting Stress & Bad Sleep with Neom Founder Nicola Elliott

Before setting up Neom, which specialises in creating 100% natural fragrance for the mind and body, Founder and Creative Director Nicola was a journalist at Glamour magazine. Working 60 hour weeks, she noticed the stresses of a hectic schedule taking a toll on her wellbeing. That's when Neom was born, and the dedication to feeling good through aromatherapy started. We spoke to Nicola about dealing with stress and how a better night's sleep can help...

*To celebrate Sleeptember and Neom's month-long campaign, we're offering three lucky people the chance to win an amazing prize. You could win a MORI Sleeper Set & Neom Organics 3 Step Sleep Programme and Energy Burst Eau de Parfum worth over £250. Scroll down to enter the competition!*

neom founder nicola What first inspired you to create a brand dedicated to helping relieve the stresses of parenthood? I started Neom when I was working as a magazine journalist, I was working crazy 60-hour weeks and I really started to struggle with everything. I was surrounded by women who felt the same; they were either having problems with lack of energy or sleeping badly, or were just generally in need of a mood boost. I had started training as an aromatherapist and nutritionist after work, so I started creating little essential oil blends and tinctures for them and they worked! At that time there was nothing on the market that was 100% natural, with proven therapeutic benefits, whilst being luxury at the same time. Fast forward 11 years and more than ever we are about helping women manage their wellbeing, but in small, easy to digest steps – our mantra is Small Steps Big Difference. You don’t have to practice yoga on the beach for 2 hours, or force yourself into a long run when you don’t have time, it’s about doing more of the small things, that you enjoy every day, that will improve your wellbeing in the long run.

When speaking to other mum-to-be's and mothers, how have they described their experiences with day-to-day stress? We actually conducted the Neom Lifestyle Audit a couple of years ago to uncover how stressed women really are. We interviewed over 1,000 women and uncovered that 9 out of 10 women are stressed (no real surprise there?!) and mum’s are most likely to feel stressed every single day. Also no surprise that stress levels were higher for those mum’s with children under the age of 5! The word ‘stress’ is different for each person, but I know from my friends, and from our customers, that it’s often the feeling of trying to juggle everything that causes the stress; being the best mum, wife, friend, daughter, colleague and so on - and it’s pretty overwhelming isn’t it? 

As a mum yourself, what have you found to be the most challenging aspect of parenthood? For me it’s been juggling Neom, with bringing up 2 small children. We can all relate to that feeling of guilt when you have to leave the kids for a work trip, or the early morning starts meaning you miss being there when they wake up. But I’ve got to a good place now where Charlie and Alexa are a little bit older and understand what I do. I always leave the office in time to pick them up from school and eat dinner as a family, and then if I have to, I’ll pick up on work stuff when they’ve gone to bed. You just have to try and balance and make it all work in the best way for your family! 

sleep better with neom aromatherapyA good night’s sleep can improve mood, energy, health and mental well-being. As a new mum, sleep is often near impossible. What advice would you give to new mums about the steps towards sleeping well? Of course, a good night’s sleep makes most people happier, calmer and more energised, and everybody’s aiming for that perfect 8 hours, but we know that life can just get in the way! We’re all adults here so I’m not going to say “go to bed earlier”. It’s about finding the little things that work for you – the small steps to a good night’s sleep. I personally like to have a bath before I go to bed, I put in a few drops of the Perfect Night Sleep Bath and Shower Drops and the essential oils hit me instantly. I read in bed every night, even if it’s only a few pages; it forces me to put my phone down, and really helps me to switch off. A few spritzes of the Perfect Night Sleep Pillow Mist and I’m off! It’s obviously not that easy for everyone but like I said, find the small things that work for you. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Sleep Ebook for loads of useful advice!

What benefits can aromatherapy have on sleep for new mums and dads? There’s plenty of research out there that shows certain essential oils used in aromatherapy can help relieve stress, boost mood and aid sleep. Our products are formulated with complex blends of the purest possible essential oils which all provide therapeutic benefits. Lavender is the most obvious, and the most well studied essential oil. It’s consistently found to help create calm and promote better sleep – our Scent to Sleep range is jam packed full of English Lavender!

If any, what has been the most embarrassing situation to occur whilst running on very little sleep? Oh god, I remember once when my eldest, Charlie, was only a few weeks old, I’d had far too little sleep, and tried to cheat my body with lots of very strong Americano’s whilst out for the day, this led to serious palpitations and jitters on a packed commuter train home. People must have thought I was crazy!

If you could go back and give your sleep deprived, new-mum-self advice, what one piece of advice would you give? Forget cleaning the house, forget the play dates, forget the soft play, when they nap, you nap! Grab every minute on the hoof you can get!

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