Your Everyday Stress-Relief Guide

Whether we’re meeting deadlines at work or school or taking the kids to soccer practice, we could all use a little daily stress relief. Keep this helpful guide on hand to remind you of daily practices that can help reduce the stress in your life.

Get on a regular sleep schedule. “Try and go to sleep and wake up at the same time,” says Brian Vaitkus, naturopathic doctor at our Portland store. He recommends having a nighttime ritual, like a warm bath, to relax you and induce sleep more readily.

Why is sleep so important? “Your adrenal glands are the glands most affected by stress in your body because they function on a circadian rhythm,” says Brian. “As our sleep becomes less regular, our adrenal glands suffer more.”

To nourish those adrenals, Brian likes Pure Encapsulations Daily Stress Formula. “It has all the active forms of your B vitamins, as well as an herbal adaptogenic blend.” (Read more about the connection between stress and your adrenal glands.)

Breathe deeply. In the midst of a busy day, take a moment to escape the world around you and focus on you. We like Dr. Andrew Weil’s 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise, as follows, because it can be done anywhere. (This one is meant for relaxation, but the Stimulating Breath exercise here, can be helpful in stressful times, too):

  • Exhale audibly through your mouth.
  • Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose while counting to four.
  • Hold your breath for a count of seven.
  • Exhale completely through your mouth, audibly, to a count of eight.
  • Repeat the cycle three more times, for a total of four breaths.

Try aromatherapy. “Aromatherapy is now recognized medically because we know it works on different energy centers in the brain,” says Shizandra Fox, herbalist at our Sonoma store.

Lavender is the queen of stress-relief,” says Shizandra. She also recommends small amounts of clary sage, bergamot or rosemary to help create mental clarity during a stressful time.

Even if you don’t have a diffuser in your car or on your desk, keep a small bottle of your favorite relaxing essential oil with you and take a whiff every once in awhile, or even apply to a tissue and keep it nearby. “If you want to apply it to your skin, combine it with a carrier oil like jojoba oil,” says Shizandra. “Jojoba binds to the oil and keeps it from dissipating.”

Get rescued.
There’s a reason Bach’s Rescue Remedy is one of our customers’ favorite things to have on hand when life and work get really stressful. A blend of Impatiens, Star of Bethlehem, Cherry Plum, Rock Rose and Clematis, Rescue Remedy naturally works to calm your nerves. “The flower essences help balance the body and bring out a more positive state of being,” says Shizandra. “When the body is working in a positive state, the negative influences are less challenging.” Rescue Remedy is available in pastilles, a spray and liquid drops—even a lip balm—to help you prep for everything from a big presentation to a longer-than-you’d-like to-do list.

Get regular exercise
. “Even walking for 15 minutes a day, with good deep breathing, can be helpful,” Brian says. And don’t forget, “Do your best to smile as often as possible.”

To find out more about everyday stress relief, speak with a practitioner at your local Pharmaca.

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