Back To School, Back To Work
Help Handling Stress Naturally
Q: I’m a single mom with two kids. Back to school season feels like the hardest juggling act sometimes. What can you suggest to help keep my energy up, my brain sharp and my immune system strong?
A: It’s time to transition from the leisure of summer to a regimented schedule in an attempt to manage work, money, school, daycare, extracurricular activities, family, traffic and so on. Just thinking about it is overwhelming. All of these things are a form of stress, and in the modern world, difficult to avoid. Chronic stress can impact the quality of life by affecting everything from mood, cravings, immune function, energy, sleep, memory problems etc. Thankfully Mother Nature has provided many things to help the body adapt to and manage stress.
Holy Basil, also referred to as tulsi, has been used medicinally in India for over 3,000 years and it’s known there as one of their most important healing plants. Tulsi is a well studied herb, and has proven to be useful in improving anxiety, depression and reducing both physical and emotional stress. It acts as a powerful adaptogen, naturally enhancing the body’s resilience and ability to function optimally during stress. Additionally, tulsi leaves are a nerve tonic, and improve memory and cognition.
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), also stems from thousands of years of use in traditional Ayurvedic medicine from India. Withania is an effective herb for balancing hormones and improving the body’s resistance to stress. Studies have also shown that ashwagandha can improve sleep quality, reduce fatigue, improve focus, normalize mood swings, reduce sugar and carbohydrate cravings, and decrease some symptoms of menopause. It also supports the immune system and offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
Chaga mushroom can typically be found growing on birch trees in colder climates. It is a nutrient-rich powerhouse of over 200 potent phytonutrients, with an abundance of health benefits that support the entire system. One such benefit is its highly effective adaptogenic activity to aid the body in combating stress. It is also abundant in Beta-D-glucans, which help balance and strengthen the immune system.
Cordyceps mushroom is most popular for its ability to significantly boost energy levels, decrease stress and improve physical performance. It does so partly by improving oxygen uptake in the body and enhancing cellular energy production. Along with chaga, it enhances the immune response and possesses antioxidant properties.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a type of essential fatty acid. These fats cannot be synthesized by the human body and must be obtained from food or supplements to maintain health. The main benefits come from the constituents known as EPA and DHA. DHA is a necessary component of brain cell membranes and the nervous system, and has been well researched for its effects on cognitive health, while EPA shines in decreasing inflammation, and improving mood imbalances such as anxiety and depressive symptoms. Some sources of omega-3s are flax and chia seeds, fatty cold water fish, as well as fish oil and algae oil supplements.