Life is Yours. Shouldn’t You Enjoy It?
Mary Ann O’Dell, MS, RD
Stress is a normal part of life, something we all deal with in varying levels. Our body is equipped to handle stress for short periods of time, but long-term activation of the stress response can cause an imbalance in the body, resulting in problems such as digestive disorders, ulcers, high blood pressure, illness, skin disorders and other problems. Natural remedies and lifestyle changes can calm frazzled nerves, and help restore balance. Do something good for yourself by utilizing these 5 steps to relax and reduce stress levels:
1. Breathe. Sometimes, just stopping and taking a deep breath can help you re-focus and refresh. Try deep breathing and yoga exercises during the day and before bed to help you stay calm.
2. Exercise. Exercise is an important part of stress reduction and good health. It helps you look and feel better. Something as simple as a short walk in fresh air can ease tension and allow you to handle stress better.
3. Get some sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep helps with overall stress reduction. Take a hot bath before bed and use aromatherapy oils such as lavender or lemongrass to relax the body and calm the nerves. If you have trouble sleeping, try a gentle, natural sleep aid containing the mild sedative herb, valerian.
4. Nourish nerves and adrenals. During stressful situations, nerves feel frazzled, and the adrenal glands work overtime. The body can become depleted of important nutrients needed for normal stress hormone function. Water-soluble vitamins, B-vitamins and vitamin C, are most affected and should be replenished on a daily basis to support nerves and adrenals. To help ease nerves, sip on soothing passion flower tea, an herb that nourishes and supports nerve function.
5. Adapt with adaptogens. Adaptogens are herbs that can increase resistance to stress and have a normalizing or tonic effect in the body. These herbs are great because they help you handle stress, but also help maintain energy levels. Good adaptogens include holy basil, rhodiola and ginseng.
While we can’t avoid stress, stress does not have to control us. Take care of yourself when stress is common in your life. Maintaining good health and well-being will also help you stay calm, cool and stress-free.
After all, Life is Yours. Enjoy it!
Mary Ann O’Dell has a Master of Science degree in Nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian with Akin’s Natural Foods Markets in the Midwest and Chamberlin’s Natural Foods Markets in Florida. For more of her information-rich articles or to find holistic, natural products for healthy living, visit akins.com.