One of the most common causes of illness and exhaustion is stress. We can spend all of our time avoiding colds and flu, making sure our food is organic and hygienically cooked, and taking all of our multi-vitamins, but if stress is high in our lives, we will still get sick.
Stress can come from working too hard, having too little leisure time, trying to multi-task too much and worrying about money or other people. When we have too many things to look after, such as a job, family, household and more, stress inevitably sets in.
Stress is our body’s way of telling us that things are too much for it, and it’s time to lighten the load. Your body is not supposed to function through ongoing stress.
What is Anxiety?
Many people suffer from chronic anxiety as a medical diagnosis, that requires ongoing treatment and support. Many others still feel high levels of anxiety in everyday life but have never sought medical attention for it. More than 30 million people in the US report feeling some level of anxiety every year.
Anxiety is a sense of fear or dread or worry, that is ongoing and at a level that becomes difficult to manage. If you have an important interview or exam coming up, a healthy level of anxiety is normal. If you worry to the point where it is affecting your daily life and your ability to sleep peacefully at night, then you might need some extra help.
Physical Signs of Stress and Anxiety
The symptoms that you are facing too much stress and anxiety in your life can appear in all sorts of different ways, including:
- A lowered immune system and tendency to catch every small stomach bug or illness that is going around
- Lowered sexual drive
- Low energy
- Teeth clenching and grinding
- Nervous shaking or excessive sweating
- Dry mouth and difficulty swallowing
- Inability to go to sleep, or waking up during the night and thinking
- Bowel and digestion problems including heartburn, cramping, and constipation
- Hair falling out and other nervous habits
- Chronic pain that seems to have no specific cause, like headache, backache, and tension in your shoulders and neck.
Some strategies that may help
While removing some of the causes of your stress so that you are not taking on so much would be the best strategy to reduce your stress, for many people this is not possible. Things like family, work, money troubles and running a house will always be there. But you can make some smaller adjustments to help lower your stress.
- Reduce processed foods and those that are high in saturated fat and sugar
- Eat fresh fruit and vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats and wholegrains
- Reduce alcohol and caffeine, and instead drink lots of water
- Go to sleep and wake up at a regular time
- Ask for help wherever you can
- Schedule some relaxation, fun or leisure time every week, and make sure that you stick to it
- Get some regular exercise, sunshine and fresh air every day
- Keep your phone and other devices out of the bedroom, and give yourself a chance to wind down at the end of the day
- Take up mindfulness, yoga or another type of relaxation skill
Natural products to help with Stress and Anxiety
Several kinds of herbal tea have a lovely calming and relaxing effect, especially chamomile tea. Drinking chamomile tea can help relieve anxiety and reduce stress, and also has a slight sedative effect, making it easier to wind down and fall asleep at night. Herbal teas can also relax the muscles and soothe general irritability.
Other herbal teas that also help include:
- Lemon balm
- Green tea
This natural wonder has been widely used for centuries to help people sleep. It has also been known to naturally calm anxiety and may even lower blood pressure.
Valerian can be taken similar to a sleeping tablet but doesn’t have the lasting drowsiness of more chemically based ones. It is often mixed with other natural sleep-boosters like hops and lemonbalm. Valerian works for gently enough for children too.
It also increases the release of a calming chemical in your brain gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA) in a similar but much kinder on your body way than drugs like Xanax or Valium. It helps the body to maintain levels of serotonin as well.
St John’s Wort
This is another herb that has been around forever. It has a strange sounding name, but it is helpful for enhancing mood, and may lift mild depression and lower anxiety and other nervous conditions. One of the reasons it does this is by managing your brain’s use of serotonin so that it is more effective.
Rescue Remedy is a mix of five natural products that in combination have been shown to lower stress and anxiety levels. This can be easily be taken by chewing on pleasantly flavoured pastilles or with drops taken on the tongue.
A blend of impatiens, star of Bethlehem, cherry plum, rock rose and clematis, this can be taken in emergencies or times of crises to help with clear thinking and focus as well as calm.
Hyland’s Calms and Nerve Tonic
Hyland’s are a trusted brand in herbal remedies for the whole family and have several blends which can help with facing daily stress and high anxiety levels.
The Nerve Tonic is a blend you can take in tablet form which helps with nervousness, inability to sleep and can help you to focus and concentrate.
Calms is another great Hyland’s product, helping to reduce nervous tension and wind your brain and body down for sleep.
Stress Relief Sedalia
This is a reliable product for both immediate stress such as an exam, or for people who live with ongoing chronic anxiety and stress. It is non-sedating and non-addictive, and can temporarily relieve nervousness, hypersensitivity, irritability and fatigue from stress.
Naturalcare Anxiety Relief
This blend deals with anxiety and stress on a number of levels, including daily stress and the general worry associated with regular life, anxiety from larger events such as a wedding or move, or generalised fear and anxiety. Many people report great benefits from using this natural product.
NutriZac Mood Food
Using the active ingredients from St John’s Wort, this product can be a more natural alternative to taking prescription medications for anxiety or depression. This has been known to help mood and calm nervous feelings without having a sedative or ‘doping’ effect.
Our natural products are fantastic, but if you feel like your symptoms aren’t easing up and you might be suffering from a more severe level of anxiety, talk to your doctor or a counsellor about other options for you.