Stress Recovery: part 2
In continuation of natural products you can use to help your body and mind deal with stress, we will discuss flower essences, diet, aromatherapy and lifestyle.
Hopefully you have taken the time to understand where the stress is coming from, as we discussed last week, and are taking steps to reduce that stress. What are the effects you are feeling in your body? Is it lack of sleep or focus, depression or anxiety, sudden moodiness like anger or sadness? Understanding how your body is affected will help you choose the best remedies.
If you have never used a flower essence or understand them, see our previous blog post on flower essences. Flower essences work on the underlying cause of illness and the emotional being. Bach flower essences are the best known, but I believe that flower essences made locally or at least in the US will be more effective for us here in ND and MN. It's best to know your preparer of flower essences as there are special rules in making them to have the most vibrational energy for healing. I make about 15 different flower essences here in Dilworth, MN and you can find others you may need from different trusted suppliers.
Recommendations of flower essences to try:
Aspen - indicated for fear of unknown, vague anxiety, nightmares
Elm - use when feel overwhelmed
Grape hyacinth - use for physical or emotional shock or trauma to find a sense of peace and clarity
Goatsbeard - to find stillness among the busyness of life
Hornbeam - indicated for fatigue, weariness or life seen as an overwhelming burden
Impatiens - indicated for impatience, irritation, tension and intolerance
Mimulus - used for know fears of everyday life and shyness
Mustard - indicated for melancholy, gloom and despair without obvious cause
Oak - recommended for workaholics
Olive - excellent for complete exhaustion after a long struggle
Rock Rose - Use for deep fear, terror or panic attacks
Vervain - recommended for nervous exhaustion from overstraining
White Chestnut - indicated for a worrisome, chattering mind
Wild Rose - indicated for resignation, lack of hope or lingering illness
You can combine flower essences to make your own personalized blend, then take by mouth 4-6 drops three times a day until you feel a shift in your energy and notice you feel stronger.
When experiencing stressful situations or finding yourself feeling out of control, it is important to care for yourself with a focus on your diet. I'm not going to discuss this in too much detail other than the usual, make sure you are drinking lots of filtered water, reducing carbohydrate intake (we tend to crave sweets for the dopamine effect during stress), and eats lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. Foods that support the nervous system include fresh sprouts, high quality protein, green leafy vegetables, seaweed, cultured milk products, citrus and seeds and nuts.
Foods that stress the nervous system include: milk chocolate, coffee and other caffeine rich food and drinks, processed and refined foods (don't keep running on fast food when you feel like you don't have time), sugars and sweets and alcohol. If you think about it, when we are stressed, many of reach for all these things - treats, quick food to eat, alcohol or caffeine drinks to keep us going. This only prolongs and worsens the bodies ability to deal with the effects of stress and keeps you on that road longer.
Think about making time for yourself to eat better, take an herbal bath or epsom salt bath with essential oils, get a massage to get that stress out of your muscles - they hold on to it for a long time, try acupuncture or even just taking out 10 minutes for some deep breathing exercises.
Proper amounts of rest are vital during times of stress. The brain and nervous system suffer without 6 to 8 hours of sleep a night. How do you get that if struggling with insomnia?
Set a bedtime routine where electronics are off, jammies are on, teeth brushed and take an herbal tea to help you relax (or a tincture if you have one made) about 40 minutes before bed time. Herbs that help with sleep include Passionflower, Valerian, Chamomile, Skullcap, hops, anything lemon will relax you. At Kanji Naturals we sell "Tranquility" tea blend with Lemon balm, skullcap, got kola, motherwort, chamomile and linden. This blend helps you relax and reach that sleepy stage so you can get to sleep. We also have a "Summers Night" blend that contains Chamomile, oats, passion flower, Valerian and hops, which helps you fall asleep and stay asleep. If you grow any of these herbs in your garden, try making a tincture with some of these herbs to help you sleep more soundly. If you wake up in the night, take another dose of your tincture or another cup of tea and read a boring book or take a hot herbal bath so you can fall back asleep.
I find it also important that my bedroom is only used for sleep. I do not have a TV in there or exercise equipment or projects. This is a room dedicated to relaxation and sleep.
I am not an expert on this topic, though I utilize aromatherapy tools and have taken some classes. Fragrances influence our emotional and mental moods. Do some research and find what aromatherapy tool helps you relax the most.
Sometimes it is putting a drop of Patchouli on the bottom of my big toe, or lavender in my pillow or putting lavender or Patchouli perfume on my wrists that will help ground and relax my mind.
Other times I use incense to calm my mind and spirit. Each plant and tree offers different qualities to help us relax. For example, Frankincense helps alleviate anxiety, depression and insomnia. Sandalwood helps clear the mind and senses, Vetiver grass is uplifting, relaxing and comforting. Benzoin resin can have sedative affects to help calm the mind, while Sweet Grass brings a feeling of serenity. Palo Santo is a powerful wood that when burned helps to treat sadness, grief and depression. Patchouli burned as incense is a sedative nervine that helps deal with anxiety. And the list goes on.
With the new electric incense burners now, burning loose incense is an easy tool to use to cleanse the mind and senses and your environment. I find using loose incense much more powerful than sticks or cones, which are often mostly scents and not plant material at all. You can grow or forage many of these plants and trees and make your own incense to burn
Putting essential oils on my wrists or on a necklace often help me relax and breathe a little deeper and slower when my days are too busy and chaotic. Oils like Bergamot, Lavender, or Rose are often the ones I reach for. Sometimes I just need to smell the deep woods so I'll make a forest blend of essential oils for my diffuser and let it fill the room and my mind.
Sometimes stress can't be avoided in our lives; that project has to be completed, your job has change or that loved one has died, etc. Where you can, take inventory of your life and where you can reduce stress and adjust your lifestyle to be more healing and supporting for you.
Do you set a time each day to exercise? Run, walk, go to gym, take a class.
Do you get up early enough not to have to start your day in a rush, high adrenaline mode?
Are you choosing healthy meals and snacks?
Are you scheduling time with friends and family?
Are you making time to do something each week that energizes you, makes you smile or feel at peace?
Are you getting to bed on time with a calming routine?
Do you have a safe person to share your feelings with, your sounding board. Someone who won't judge you but will let you get those thoughts and feelings out of your system.
Maybe set a time each day for a tea and meditation
Get a massage
Get outside, let nature share it's neurochemicals with you and relax you.
Do some energy work - from cranial sacral, to healing touch, to emotion coding, to balancing chakras. Find what resonates with you and helps you release that emotional stress.
It takes commitment at first, then it becomes a habit and you will find you can handle stress without such a shock to your physical and emotional system. Creates some new routines today for yourself. Love yourself. you are worth it.