I know what it’s like. The to-do list is over flowing, you’re doing your best to meet expections (both internal & external) and you’re trying to come off as cool and collected while you feel like you’re running a marathon in place. Sound about right?
Most of us deal with some level of stress on a daily basis and may not realize the physical toll it’s taking, both acutely and accumulatively.
Physical Effects of Stress
- Muscle tension doesn’t allow for proper circulation of blood and oxygen into your tissues. This is important for the removal of toxins and it could leave you feeling tired and lethargic.
- Digestion is negatively impacted meaning you aren’t absorbing your nutrients as effectively. This can lead to more serious digestive problems like acid reflux, gas, bloating, and constipation and can eventually deplete your overall nutrient levels.
- Stress over stimulates your nervous system so you might be feeling restlessness, anxious, or spazzed out.
- People who are often under stress exhibit a suppression of immune system function. This means that you might pick up viruses more easily or have a harder time recovering once you get sick.
- Prioritize getting plenty of sleep. 7-9 hours tends to be optimal.
- Drink plenty of filtered water. This is about half your weight in ounces: 180 lbs = 90 oz of water per day.
- Eat plenty of nutrient dense, whole foods making less room for the sugar and processed foods you might crave when your’re stressed.
- Take a moment to slow down for some deep breaths during a stressful time. This assures your body that everything will be alright : )
- Make a to do lists to organize your thoughts.
- Be realistic about making commitments. It’s OK to say NO!
- Make sure to incorporate things that balance your stress: exercise, music, art, journaling, gardening, etc.
There are also many medicinal herbs that can be amazing allies in stress reduction! There is a classification of herbs called nervines: awesome plants that help to support your nervous system. Chamomile, skullcap, oat straw, and hops are some examples of nervines that can be made into a tea or taken in the form of liquid tinctures to bring about a sense of calm when you’re feeling frazzled. They are not sedatives, so most women can use them during the day as needed.
My absolute favorite classification of herbs is adaptogens! These are plants that reduce the way that stress affects us physically by supporting the optimal functioning of body systems. This sounds pretty amazing because it is! They have anti-inflammatory properties, they support the endocrine (hormonal) system, the nervous system, the digestive system, and can help to lift our spirits. Adaptogens can also help build stamina and endurance and can support the immune system! Can you see why I love them so much?
There are many herbs that fall under this category: ashwagandha, the many forms of ginseng, Eleuthero, holy basil, maca, Rhodiola, and reishi mushroom to name a few. These plants not only have generations of use by cultures around the world, but they have also been extensively studied throughout recent years.
While there are not many ways to make the wrong choice when it comes to adaptogens (unless you are taking prescription medications), there are ways to make the right choice and efficiency can make all the difference.
As a part of the initial evaluation I would ask questions that help assess the impact that stress is having on your body systems. I would also offer tests that would help steer us in the right direction with customized food, lifestyle, and nutritional supplement choices. I could also determine which herb, or combination of herbs, is going to be most helpful for you as an individual. Takes the guesswork out of the myriad of options for sure!
Be sure to reach out if you have further questions, and definitely don’t hesitate to take the next step to working together if you are tired of feeling like stress is holding you back from living life to the fullest! We gotchu!
*It is important to work with a health care practitioner who has experience with medicinal herbs if you are taking medication, have a chronic illness, or you are pregnant or breastfeeding.