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Natural Stress Relief
by Victoria Leyden
Everyday stressful situations and chronic stress can contribute to health related illnesses as it lowers the immune system. Overtime we must adapt to relieve stress in healthful ways in order to maintain our happiest and healthiest selves. Changing our routine to regulate sleeping and eating patterns, exercising, limiting screen time, taking vacations, laughing and finally, adding in supplements, can reduce our stress levels and help to deal with the inevitable stresses of life.
Think back to childhood days, loving life and free from stress. Besides the lack of responsibility, children’s stress-free existence is in part due to their daily routines. Keeping a regular sleep, wake, and eat regime will help to balance one’s mood and make it easier to deal with the fluctuations of life that amp up our stress levels.
Getting enough sleep is imperative for the body to regenerate from all of its hard work, but sometimes we struggle to fall and/or stay asleep. Exercise not only helps people fall asleep faster at night, but it reduces stress levels by breaking down catecholamines also known as our stress hormones. Limiting screen time (phones, televisions and computers), especially at night, will also decrease stress levels and increase one’s ability to fall asleep. Finally, eating a well-balanced meal helps the body work less to digest a meal and, therefore, the internal system will feel more at ease and less stressed.
If a good daily routine is already in place, yet unwanted stress is building up at work and home, take a few moments to unwind. Focus on breathing, specifically deep breathing, which helps clear and calm the mind in the moment before it becomes too much to bare. Dream of and plan an upcoming vacation, and increase your positive mentality and decrease stress. If regular vacations are not possible, laughter can be just as good. Surrounding ourselves with people who make us laugh, or watching a comedy will boost our mindset and melt stress away.
Natural supplements can also be an easy way to keep our stress under control. Ashwagandha is an herb known for its calming effects on the central nervous system. This herb can be found in capsules or powdered form. Capsules can be taken daily, whereas powder can be sprinkled in a smoothie or calming tea such as chamomile and peppermint.
Another supplement for stress relief is magnesium, a commonly depleted mineral in the body. Taken in capsule form and used in oil, it is known for stabilizing the nervous system, creating a calming effect. Magnesium oil can be rubbed into tense or sore areas of the body or used for a foot rub before bed to help feel refreshed in the morning. In capsule form the most absorbable type of magnesium is magnesium glycinate. Supplement with magnesium slowly, as too much magnesium can have a laxative effect and create loose stools.
Flower essences like lavender and eucalyptus essential oil can be added to lotions, soaps and an essential oil diffuser to help relax the mind and body. Rescue remedy is a well-known flower essence that is sold in stores and can be used on pets as well as humans for a quick and easy dose of calm.
Ring in the New Year by making a resolution to combat stress naturally. Managing stress levels could be as easy as making adjustments to your everyday, your seasonal routine, or adding in some new supplements.
Victoria Leyden is studying to become a naturopathic doctor in Rhode Island. She enjoys helping people live healthier and happier lives.