Earlier in the week I shared a post (you can read the post here) with some of the negative effects that you might experience due to stress. We all have stress in our lives; it is unavoidable; but when it starts to impact your life and your health in a negative way – that is when we need to take notice, and take action!
I have spent years looking for natural ways to help deal with my stress. I have been trying desperately to find something that works, before my body starts experiencing the physiological effects of stress. The problem with stress is that it affects people differently; and different stimuli are stressors for different people. This makes it very difficult to identify what make you stress as well as how to combat that stress.
Handling stress is something that you need to learn for yourself. You need to start learning what situations will cause you stress, how this stress will affect you and what you can do to handle and lower your stress levels – preferably before it reaches a point where medication is necessary.
Don’t fool yourself into thinking that just because its stress it’s not harmful. Prolonged exposure to stress can lead to severe anxiety and depression. In some cases medication is the only option (and there is nothing wrong with that). If things are really bad for you; please do speak to a Doctor and if necessary get the recommended medicine – after all, your health is the most important thing.
There are however a few natural thing that you can try to help deal with, and alleviate your stress. You might need to try a few of these methods to find the ones that work best for you.
Here is a list of some non-drug remedies to help with your stress:
- Chamomile: this can be in the form of a tea, or a supplement. The chamomile plant contains certain components (Matricaria Recutita) that bind the same receptors in the brain as Valium. Enjoy a cup with some honey just before bed for a good night’s sleep.
- Valerian Supplements: I recommend the supplements as it has a very nasty smell, so trying to use it as a tea, or tincture is quite unpleasant. This does make you sleepy though, so only take it at night before bed.
- Exercise: There are so many reasons to exercise, and moderated exercise daily has so many health benefits. I personally don’t enjoy doing going to the gym or jogging. The only exercise that I find enjoyable is Yoga. But do try and find something you enjoy. Then when you feel stressed do at least a 21 minute workout. This is how long it takes for your muscles to release the tension that has built up due to stress.
- Lavender: This is probably the most relaxing scent there is. Perfume your home with some Lavender to create a soothing environment, or use lavender bubble bath and bath salts while you bath to even further your relaxation.
- Deep Yoga Breathing: There is a reason people tell you to take a deep breath after a stressful situation. Breathing is known to de-stress you because while you are inhaling fully your muscles don’t have time to tense up, but it has to be proper, deep breathing. The correct breathing technique to reduce stress is the 4-7-8 breathing technique. For this technique you inhale for 4 counts, keep your breath in for 7 counts and then exhale for 8 counts. Just doing this simple technique a couple of times a day will already reduce your stress levels – and it’s so EASY!
- Eat a chocolate covered Strawberry: If you are feeling stressed you might want to eat (a lot) and this can easily lead to weight gain (jip, one word we ladies could do without). If you are feeling stressed, treat yourself to a (1) strawberry covered in dark chocolate. The strawberry contains lots of vitamin c, so it will boost your immune system and the dark chocolate contains lots of anti-oxidants which will help make you feel more relaxed.
- Take a Bath: Definitely my favorite way to de-stress. Few things work as well as a lovely soak in some warm water for me. The warm water soothes aches and stiff muscles and aids relaxation. Take it a few steps further by pampering yourself with some lovely bubbles, bath salts or bath bombs. Just feel the stress melt away. On that note I did a post a few weeks back on some DIY soaps and body scrubs. To let the pampering begin, you can find the article here.
- Scalp/ Neck Massage: Stress (especially in my case) tends to collect in my neck and shoulder muscles, so a lovely scalp and neck message can be the perfect way to relives the tension that gathers in these areas. Best of all you don’t need a masseuse for this; you can do it yourself, or better yet get your significant other to do it for you!
- Foot Massage: A foot massage can be surprising beneficial when you are trying to alleviate stress. When applying pressure under the base of your toes you relax your head; and when applying pressure to the balls of your feet you relax your chest – according to reflexologist Mara Nicandro. Also, rubbing your big toe releases endorphin’s, making you feel happy. Another bonus is that you can do this yourself (or with a special partners help 😉 ) and don’t need to spend a ton of money on a spa.
- Epson Salt Baths: Stress drains the body of Magnesium, and Epson salts release Magnesium when dissolved in warm water. When you soak in a Epson Salt bath, your body absorbs the Magnesium from the water thus replenishing the stores lost through stress.
- Meditation: Taking 15 – 30 minutes a day, to silently reflect on yourself or focus on your breathing is highly beneficial in helping to reduce your stress levels. This one is difficult for me personally as there are so many distractions at home – kids, husband, house work. I try to make time for this as often as possible, and sometimes even just a short 5 minute break is enough to make you feel better.
- Increase your B-Vitamin intake (along with a healthy diet): Make sure you get enough vitamins and nutrients in through a healthy diet. Vitamin B help to keep your body functioning; it converts the food you take in into fuel for your body helping you stay energized throughout the day. Vitamin B can be found in pork, dark green leafy vegetables, fortified grains, green peas and lentils. If you feel that you are not getting in enough Vitamin B through your diet, you can also take supplements.
You might need to try a few of these methods to see which of them work for you. It’s not a bad idea to try and incorporate all of them into your weekly routine.