Feeling good at the beginning of the day – and then for the rest of the day – starts with the night before. Adopt a nightly sleep routine, which starts in the hour before bed, reducing your exposure to screens and blue light, having dimmer lighting around you and refraining from any physically or mentally energetically stimulating activities. You can also add a sleepy time tea option with sleep promoting ingredients:
If you have reached for a chamomile tea in the hours before bed (maybe even in our night-time tea!), or in a quiet moment in the afternoon, you already know the calming effects of this herb. Another one to have on your radar for reducing anxiety and helping quiet the brain, chamomilehas antioxidants which also help promote sleepiness and improve sleep quality. Consume this flower turned tea after eating however, and you will be privy to additional benefits: chamomile has been shown to promote digestive health and lower blood sugar levels in the body, which helps protect against diabetes.
- Lemon Balm
Similar to chamomile, lemon balm is another herb to have on your radar to help reduce stress and anxiety and improve sleep quality. Research has shown its ability to help ease insomnia and sleep disorders and as having a calming affect on the mind, boosting cognitive function. The special thing about this herb however, is that it not only helps reduce anxiety, but can also relieve anxiety symptoms, such as indigestion, nausea and headaches. Enjoy Lemon Balm in the night time tea with chamomile.
Another aspect of reducing stress is becoming aware of what causes stress and focusing in on getting mindful instead of letting your mind be full. When was the last time you stopped and took a breath? Like a real, complete, diaphragm filling breath. Inhale, exhale. Have you let your mind wonder lately, just letting the thoughts come and go, getting curious and not being judgemental of what shows up. You can be an observer of your thoughts, without becoming attached to them. This is an aspect of meditation, one way to help you feel good and be more in control of your thoughts and emotions. Start your day with some meditation or mindfulness and some energizing tea to feel good and stay on track after your good night’s sleep. These herbs are a great place to start:
The research abounds that supports the role nature has in promoting the reduction of stress hormones. In an article published last year in Science Daily, researchers showed that just a 20 minute stroll in nature was enough to reduce levels of cortisol released into the blood stress. Keeping these at a base level is important to reduce the occurrence of chronic stress and fend off the development of anxiety and chronic stress related illness such as adrenal fatigue and burnout. Having a stress-reducing routine, which includes time in nature, and other things such as activities that bring you joy, things that make you laugh and your favourite calming tea can help. Choose teas that include adaptogens, anti-stress and anti-inflammatory herbs, as all of these help mitigate the negative effects of stress on the body:
An adaptogenic herb, rhodiola delivers its benefits through modulating the stress response in the body. In times of stress, the sympathetic system is activated, which inhibits parasympathetic activities like digestion, sleep and deep breathing. Adaptogens however, let your body adapt more efficiently to stress so that the byproducts of the stress response do not negatively impact you health long-term
Perhaps the more well-known member on the list, turmeric is commonly known for its anti-inflammatory effects. The yellow colour of this popular plant comes from curcumin, an antioxidant-rich plant compound which also elicits anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Inflammation is a natural and necessary part of healthy systemic function, as it is an immune response. Present in excess however, it can lead to poor health outcomes including decreased energy, gut distress and other disease processes.
These uncertain days of 2020 present with no shortage of anxiety and stress, but there is definitely lots that is in your control that you can do to help alter the outcome. In addition to practicing mindfulness, going outside and moving your body regularly, valerian is a calming, anti-anxiety herb which can play a positive role in reducing your anxious feelings, inability to sleep or difficulties concentrating. This ancient herb has several compounds which inhibit the chronic stress-inducing breakdown of GABA in the brain, an important step in maintaining mental clarity and feeling energized.
If you’re going out in nature, why not make your 20 minutes count for double and exercise outside? Going for a walk or bike ride on the trails, practicing yoga or Pilates in your local park, or heading out for a run on the beach are all great ways to integrate both movement and nature. Moving your body helps you feel good because it releases feel good hormones, including dopamine and serotonin. In addition, exercises stimulates brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which has been referred to as fertilizer for your brain. It helps promote neuroplasticity and improves the health of your brain cells. Naturally, this is important to help maintain current levels of cognitive function, but also low levels of BDNF have been shown to be a factor in the development of conditions such as Alzheimers and dementia. And while you’re looking after your brain through movement, why not boost your brain health with cognitive promoting herbs:
A prominent player in the cognitive memory assist day-tea, staying cognitively primed is important for optimal feel-good function today, and in the days and years to come. Ginseng helps with this by acting as an adaptogen (like rhodiola!) and offering anti-stress effects on the body. It helps improve mental performance and has anti-inflammatory properties which act to reduce the risk of more sinister disease processes such as vascular disease and diabetes.
- Ginkgo Biloba
The use of Ginkgo extract has seen a quick uptake in the last several years due to speculation of the plant’s ability to enhance brain function. Additional studies have looked at the mediating affect of Ginkgo in helping reduce the rate of cognitive decline in people experiencing dementia. While none of the studies are conclusive and many of the results are inconsistent, given its powerful plant compounds, it is a benefit to add it to your diet (like during tea time), regardless of the cognitive benefits.