I have had the opportunity in the last weeks to ponder on stress and how best to manage it.
I was at the advantage of knowing that the stress was coming. I had work planned that was going to take me to Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne over a three week period on a presentation tour, I would be speaking on complementary medicine and I needed to be game ready.
Knowing myself, I know excessive stress makes me anxious, this reduces my ability to sleep well, I get tired and then that leads to more stress and anxiety. A vicious cycle is set up where I become progressively more frazzled, less resilient and all that flying leads to an opportunity to pick up bugs and viruses.
Okay, so that’s my pattern, another advantage, after 20 years of work I finally know myself well enough to know what to prevent against. So this is what I did.
Stress resilience in the form of herbal adaptogens – to explain they help you to ADAPT to stress better. Science tells us that when taking these adaptogens we release less ‘fight and flight’ stress hormones such as cortisol and have a better ability to perform both physically and mentally. They sound great don’t they.
I chose two adaptogens astragalus and Siberian ginseng – Siberian ginseng has some cool research in astronauts and athletes (and let’s face it if a herb is helping ‘space walkers’ resilience, it is certainly going to do the job for me too as I whizz around Australia). Astragalus is a vitality herb, it helps to restore the depleted and the tired, it also helps support a susceptible immune system.
Immune support. Added to this, I incorporate echinacea, for its ability to lift the immune system and reduce the incidence of colds, it’s my plane herb – used often in the long haul trips to the UK. I start taking it a few days in advance, during the flight, and again when I land.
For the anxiety, I choose a selection of nervine herbs, these are all about calm (don’t think sedation, not if you are anxious) think chill, relaxation, taking the pressure off, that’s how they roll. They work wonderfully prior to a presentation, just to be nice and relaxed.
A deeper sleep. The presentations were in the evening, finishing late, and then I was buzzy, normally a good sleeper, I could feel my head rushing as I turned over the evening events. So this is when I take magnesium, a nice absorbable magnesium citrate powder and one ReDormin tablet, that contains hops and valerian, it helps you fall asleep and have a deeper sleep.
Some food foundations, I stop drinking coffee (no place for a stimulant that makes me more stressed and anxious), I make sure I am really onto my water and I eat well. The last of these can be a challenge, as I often survey a hotel menu and slightly despair (it is as if all they have is a deep fat frier). As I run my eyes down the menu, I look for something that is not deep fried, is a good protein source (fish, lean steak etc.) and has a lot of vegetables (often a side of salad of vegies is needed).
Hitting the ground running. Also, I always squeeze my trainers into my carry-on luggage, and in the morning will go for a run or walk, this helps me ground (seriously, all that flying makes me a space cadet) and equalise to my new environment, and this helps me manage my stress and mood.
If you would like some herbal support to help you through a stressful period just get in touch, it works wonders, and that stressful time that you half dreaded can end up being one where you feel energised, in control and on top of your game. Job done! To have a personalised stress resilience plan made for you go to consults to book.