Stressful times are more likely to turn out better if we know how to take care of ourselves.
And it starts with maintaining a positive attitude, adequate rest, good nutrition, and exercise.
During stressful times, heart and respiratory rates increase, so blood and oxygen can be provided where it is most needed. Chronic muscle tension impairs circulation, digestion, and can contribute to weakened immunity. Stress also depletes the body’s reserves of vitamins and minerals, such as B complex and vitamin C.
Nature provides herbs to nourish a frayed nervous system. Taking time out to savor a cup of soothing herbal tea is a wonderful way to nourish the nerves, but these herbs are also available as tinctures and capsules.
Here is a list of herbs and natural remedies that can be found in natural food stores and pharmacies:
>> Catnip herb (Nepeta Cataria) is a mild sedative, contains calming nepetalactone, which is chemically similar to the valepotriates in Valerian.
>> Chamomile flowers (Matricaria Recutita) calm stress without disrupting mental performance and improve digestive disturbances brought on by stress.
>> Hops strobiles (Humulus Lupulus) are sedative, induce sleep, and calm a nervous heart.
>> Kava Kava root (Piper Methysticum) helps one to fall asleep more quickly, calms anxiety, and relaxes stiff muscles.
>> Lavender flowers (Lavendula Officinalis) help relieve anxiety, promote sleep, and relieve headaches brought on by stress and exhaustion.
>> Lemon Balm herb (Melissa Officinalis) is a mild sedative that protects the cerebrum from excess external stimuli.
>> Oat straw (Avena Sativa) is a mild sedative that helps relieve nervous exhaustion, calms nervous excitement, and promotes recuperation from depression and overwork.
>> Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata) calms restlessness and improves insomnia resulting from stress and overwork. It reduces serotonin breakdown, induces mild euphoria, and quiets mental chatter.
>> Skullcap herb (Scutellaria Lateriflora) is a mild nervine and sedative, good for daytime use as it doesn’t induce drowsiness. Skullcap helps oversensitivity to sound, light, and touch.
>> Valerian root (Valeriana Officinalis) is a central nervous system relaxant and can help induce sleep and mellow the effects of emotional stress.
Here are a few ideas to promote serenity:
1. Exercise improves respiration and circulation, sends nutrients to the cells, and stimulates endorphin production. Yoga helps relax the mind and body.
2. Get a massage.
3. Reach out. Hug your child, love your mate, lend a hand to a friend in need, or stroke your pet. Give of yourself, deliver a meal to a needy family, or set up a bird feeder. Make a donation to a worthy cause.
4. Breathe more deeply and slowly.
5. Slow down when eating, talking, walking, and driving.
6. Therapy can help release pent up feelings.
7. Wear comfortable clothing that allows the skin to breathe and freedom of movement. (The colors blue and green are calming.)
8. Take a relaxing bath with seven drops of calming essential oils such as lavender or rosemary. Soak and enjoy. When done bathing, let the water run out as you visualize your stress going with it.
9. Play calming music. Slow music with nature sounds reminds us to relax.
10. Make a spritzer by putting 10 drops of lavender essential oil in a two-ounce bottle of water and mist the room and your face (with eyes and mouth closed).
11. Prepare clothes, paperwork, and lunch the night before, rather than starting mornings in a frenzy.
12. Get out of bed 15 minutes earlier to allow for a more peaceful time.
13. Write down numbers, errands, and appointments that need attending.
14. Take care of unpleasant or difficult tasks early in the day, so the rest of the day goes easier.
15. Say “yes” only to the things you really want to do. At least say, “I’ll think about it,” before committing.
16. Minimize clutter in your life. Clutter causes confusion. Learn more about the art of Feng Shui.
17. Minimize spending. Learn a craft. Creating things of beauty improves self-esteem, and homemade gifts are more meaningful.
18. Be prepared for long lines at banks, stores, etcetera. Have something to read to keep you calm.
19. Smile. Relaxing your face helps the rest of your body as well, as putting to ease those around you.
20. Enlist the help of others. Support friendship and community rather than trying to do everything yourself.
21. Spend time in the beauty and quietude of nature. Go outside and look at the sky.
22. Pray for guidance.
24. Take a short nap when you can.
25. Make a list of people you may need to clear your slate with. During the next year, contact each of those people, even if it’s writing a thank you note, letter of apology, or returning something you borrowed.
26. Find ways that nurture your spiritual connection: prayer, church, synagogue, or having a personally styled ritual with a few friends.
27. Count your blessings!