Before the holidays we look forward to spending time with those we love and getting together to eat fabulous meals while sharing stories from the year that has just passed. The excitement can sometimes be accompanied by an uneasy feeling of what side effects all that time with ones family will bring. As wonderful as our families are they can sometimes bring with them an underlying hum of stress. Whether it’s due to last minute shopping for gifts or the fear of old patterns creeping up when in their presence, this stress can create silent havoc in our bodies and mind.
So what is Stress and why does it have such a hold on us even in times of joy and giving. If you were to look up the meaning of stress there isn’t a very clear distinction as to whether it is the cause or the effect of the strain on the body or mind. Each of us perceive and receive information differently, therefore, our definition of stress will be different. Since there is no concrete answer to what stress is how does one deal with their perception and reaction to it. We can spend days and weeks in retreats and seminars to learn different stress busting strategies and feel amazing and clear right after, it isn’t until we are back in our “stress” environment where we can see if what we have learned can be put into practice. And what better test than the holidays!
Below are some stress busting tips on a physical and mental level that can help you respond with out reaction even in the middle of this season.
1. Herbs to Reduce Stress and Balance Your Stress Response:
- Ashwaganda: the “Indian Ginseng”, this Ayurvedic herb acts as an adaptogen and as a tonic herb increasing the ability of an organism to cope with stress. This herb works to support the adrenal medulla, the part of the adrenals that secretes the hormones adrenaline ( epinephrine) and nor adrenaline ( nor epinephrine), which are responsible for the rapid increase in nervous system and metabolic activity involved in the general adaptation system.
- Rhodiola: this is great adaptogenic herb that helps you cope with stress both physically and mentally.
- Ginseng: Mediates through the pituitary gland to tune the adrenal cortex so that phase I of the general adaptation syndrome is more efficient. It increases the adrenals capacity to deal with stress.
2. Vitamin B5:
Vitamin B5 is the active form of B5, coenzyme A is involved in the Kreb Cycle in the production of ATP, which is required for proper functioning of the adrenal glands. It is also involved in the production of steroids from the adrenals.
3. Top 5 Stress Reducing foods:
- Blueberries: Foods high in Vitamin C aids in steroid hormone synthesis, which is needed to cope with stress.
- Brown Rice: Whole grains like Brown Rice and Buckwheat are high in B vitamins which help the adrenals, increase energy, and aid in stress management
- Green Vegetables: nourish the body and create balance to help respond to stresses rather than react
- Apricots: High in Magnesium. Magnesium has a very calming affect on the nervous system and can help you remain in a more parasympathetic state.
- Sweet Potatoes: When under stress the body is depleted in minerals specifically in potassium. Sweet potatoes are high in potassium and are also a great substitute for that carbohydrate craving under times of stress.
4. Yoga and Meditation:
Enough cannot be said about how yoga and meditation can help you in times of stress. By incorporating a daily practice you can create an automatic response that will engage your parasympathetic rather than your sympathetic nervous system. This can keep you calm through any storm and help elevate others around you to.
Choose what works for you and incorporate a practice into your holiday routine, your body and mind will thank you for it!