With any good holiday, the challenge is always to keep your relaxed holiday state of mind and infuse it into your daily life. Herbal medicine can be our best ally for helping to ease the transition back to work and school.
In these first few months of our new year, we want to maintain not only the relaxation we have gained over the summer, but also keep to our positive intentions for the year ahead. Its all too easy for us to slip back into old habits and succumb to the daily stresses and demands of family and working life.
The right herbal medicines taken at the right doses can help to buffer us from these pressures, and support us in changing our response to stressful situations when they pop up. Often the way we respond to stress, mentally and physically, determines whether this is a ‘positive’ or a ‘negative’ in our lives. It also determines how it affects our mood and whether it has long term health consequences or is easily brushed off.
Withania is one of our key herbal tools for changing this stress response. By balancing stress hormones, when taking Withania consistently we are better able to adapt to stress- to turn on our stress response and then turn it back off again! This means the feeling of stress doesn’t get so intense and doesn’t linger as long.
When Withania is taken alongside other calming herbs such as Lemon Balm, and with key B vitamins, the tonic effect helps to reduce feeling of stress, tension, anxiety, and also to improve stamina, endurance, and mood. It can also have flow on effects with improving sleep and immune function. Try taking this daily for a month, then reflect on how you’ve felt. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
If a daily tonic isn’t enough, or when the stress levels get extremely high, there is no other support quite like liquid Kava. It works with amazing rapidity to ease tension in both the mind and body, calm anxiety and relieve stress. When combined with the wonders of Withania, and the powerful nervous system relaxant Passionflower, you have an action packed instant stress reliever! 5-10ml taken as a ‘shot’ will do its magic, and can be taken as needed. Keep some stashed in key places- your bathroom, kitchen, office desk or handbag.
If a lack of sleep is what is holding you back from being your coolest calmest self as the year kicks off, its always worth looking at your stress levels during the day. This is where our Withania comes into play again. By calming stress hormone levels and calming the nervous system, Withania can also help with sleep. But for more of a high-impact sedative, look no further than organic Valerian liquid. This herb has been proven to be as effective as some sedative medications, but with less side effects. It helps not only to get you to sleep but to keep you asleep, if you are one of those 3am wakers. Take 5-10ml once or twice before bed, and again of needed during the night.
For children, too, the start of the year can have its difficulties. For pre-schoolers, heading back after a few weeks of solid parent-time can be really unsettling. For school kids, the changes of new classmates and teachers can trigger all kinds of worry. This may effect your children’s moods and have an impact on their sleep. High potency organic Chamomile in a liquid form is the very best way to support our children, of all ages, through times of stress. Chamomile not only calms the nerves, it calms the tummy too, so kids with ‘sore tummies’ from tension will really benefit here! Chamomile has been used for centuries to help with calming children, and is a safe a reliable remedy. Peter Rabbit was even given some by his mother! One of the key constituents in Chamomile, apigenin, binds to benzodiazepine sites on GABA receptor, preventing the nervous system from getting ‘over-excited’ when stimulated. Try giving your children a dose before and after school to help support them as they get used to a new school year. An extra dose or two at bedtime can also be used if they’re having a hard time unwinding or having restless nights.
Life has inevitable stresses, but the way we deal with these and respond to them determines how much impact these have on our health and happiness. By using herbal medicines that support our ability to cope well and keep chill in the face of pressure, we can change the ‘programme’. By changing our response we teach ourselves that these situations are not danger zones, that we can sail smoothly in troubled waters, and this minimises the way stresses affect our lives. Put simply, herbs can help remind you that ‘you got this’, as you cruise into a calmer new year.