In this December’s blog, learn about my 3 favourite stress-reducing herbs, my favourite herbal tea recipe to unwind and my top 10 stress management techniques.
TIS THE SEASON OF… STRESS?
‘Twas the weeks leading up to Christmas, when all thro’ the malls, not a soul was relaxed, most definitely not your spouse…
I’ll stop there with my attempt of being a poet, but will continue to explain that the holiday season was not designed with stress relief at the top of the list along with organization of holiday travels, inventory of presents and grocery lists. Unfortunately, this holiday of giving, family time, the wish of relaxing; actually creates a large number of stressors in our lives. I am sure even Santa Clause is stressed out of his mind ensuring all those kids on the “Good List” have their toys under the tree.
Instead of allowing stress to overwhelm you and distract you from the joys of this holidays season, take the necessary steps to support your body during this time and embrace this jolly season! Some of my favorite and most supportive remedies include Adaptogenic herbs, nutrient supplementation, a diet rich in unsaturated fats and of course, sleep!
To start let’s understand what Adaptogenic herbs are. Adaptogens support your body’s ability to deal with stress, reduce the body’s reaction to stressors, support immunity and tonify the whole body. It is no wonder Adaptogenic herbs are key for the holiday season. With their affinity to reduce stress in your life they make that long list of “To do’s” seem more than manageable!
Here are my top three “stress reducing” herbs for this holiday season:
ASHWAGHANDA (Withania somnifera):This powerful root is famous in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to alleviate fatigue, ease stress and improve general well-being. Ashwaghanda is a wonderful tonic herb to restore health to the entire nervous system. During the holidays when there are multiple demands on the body, mental exhaustion, and various external stressors, Ashwaghanda is effective in mitigating the negative side effects that all this stress can cause. Ashwaghanda is also a key herb to boost immunity, support recovery, decrease inflammation and strengthen your body after times of illness. With all those benefits how could you not love this herb!
- How to Use: Ashwaghanda tincture, Ashwaghanda powder added to smoothies, soups, stews and more, Ashwaghanda capsules
- When to Take:Take during times of stress, during illness and to support your body through recovery
RHODIOLA ROOT (Rhodiola rosea): The root of the artic rose is valuable for some many reasons. Most commonly, it is used for its ability to support the adrenals and the body’s resistance to stress. It also provides neuroprotective effects through supporting serotonin and dopamine production. To add, Rhodiola has a specific use in enhancing cognitive function specifically through boosting concentration & memory. This herb may be your saving grace to remember everything on that list of yours! If that wasn’t enough, Rhodiola also has the power to increase physical endurance, thus not only great for athletes but also to endure all those holiday parties and to show off your best dance moves!
- How to use: Rhodiola tincture, Rhodiola capsules, Rhodiola root in soups & stews
- When to use: Use during times of adrenal fatigue, chronic stress and when in need of cognitive support . Use for no longer than 3-4 months at a time and use before 5p.m
**As herbal effects vary individually, Rhodiola can be both stimulating and calming depending on dosage. Understand how your body reacts.
“ITS NOT STRESS THAT KILLS US, IT IS OUR REACTION TO IT.”
– Hans Selye
OAT STRAW (Avena sativa): Yes, this herb is in fact from one our favorite breakfasts – oats! However, Oat straw offers many more medicinal properties and is much more nutrient rich than our conventional oatmeal as it comes from the milky green oats tops of the unripen grain.
When it comes to our nervous system, the is no other herb that offers the same support and tonifying effects as does Oat straw. During times of stress we do not only what to increase our body’s ability to deal with stressors but we also want to find ways to calm our minds, relax and optimally avoid becoming stressed in the first place. Oat straw has a magical affinity to help achieve this. As a Nervine Tonic herb, Oat straw “feeds” our nervous system with all the goodness it needs allowing it to also be extremely beneficial during pregnancy, in cases of MS, myalgia, depression, and many other nervous system ailments.
- How to use: Oat straw tea, Oat straw tincture, topically in Oat straw bath salts, minimal benefits also seen through consuming organic oatmeal.
- When to use: As Oat straw is a very supporting and nutrient dense, it is wonderful to use all the time. It is most helpful during times of nervous exhaustion, anxiety and when the mind needs to calm down. It is also great to use for connective tissue health, to support tendon repair, recovery after surgery and for skin conditions.
Unsure if you’re stressed or have adrenal fatigue? Here are some key signs you need adaptogens:
- You find it hard to get out of bed in the morning
- Afternoon energy slumps
- Wake up without reason throughout the night
- Hard time falling asleep
- You get lightheaded if you stand up to quickly
- Cravings for salty food
- Inability to handle stress
- Overuse & dependency on caffeine
Do you have Adrenal fatigue? Book a session at Zen & Tonic and create an individualized protocol to support & heal your body to lead your best life – feel more energized, tonify your adrenals and unleash your true potential!
My Favorite Adaptogen Tea to Unwind and Support during Times of Stress:
- 1 part Lemon balm
- ½ part Lavender
- 1 part Nettles
- 1 part Oat straw
- 1 part Holy Basil
- Place 1 tsp. of mixed herbs into tea strainer, slowly pour 1 cup of water (just under boiling) over and steep minimum 10 minutes covered
- Relax and enjoy!
- Don’t have access to these herbs? Let Zen & Tonic make it for you!
As helpful as these herbs can be, their effects vary individually and they cannot be 100% effective unless the cause of the stressors are also reduced. Thus, as we introduce adaptogens and nervine tonic herbs to support and strengthen our bodies during times of stress, also be sure to make a point of understanding why you are stressed, the causes and how you can decrease them. Some key stress management techniques to introduce to your weekly routine can include:
To add, think of what is causing you stress this holiday season and learn how to manage it effectively. Maybe instead of buying gifts for every member of the family, you do a Secret Santa, or instead of having the responsibility of making the entire Christmas feast you opt for a potluck! To avoid getting run-down be sure to take some extra time to yourself, whether that’s a five-minute break from work, saying no to a holiday party, sipping an Adaptogen tea or coming into Zen & Tonic for a stress reducing therapy! In the future you’ll thank yourself for doing so!
As impossible as it seems there’s always relief hiding somewhere! So Happy Holidays to all, and to all a jolly, calm and relaxing night!
Book Now at Zen & Tonic to support whole body healing and create a personalized health journey to decrease stress, increase your vitality and unleash your true protentional! …your future self will thank you.