Pre-school stress

I have those pre-school jitters going on, only it’s not me, it’s my daughter who is going back to school. She seems pretty calm about the whole thing, which is why we left it until the last minute to get her uniform. Standing in a department store with the other crazed last-minute mothers staring at the meagre offerings left on the rails made me wonder – are we all thinking the same thing - “wish I’d done this online”?

It will come as no surprise to you that we live in a chronically stressed out culture, overworked and overwhelmed. Un-managed stress-related issues are taking a serious toll on our health; from contributing to weight gain, anxiety and inflammation in the body – a precursor to illnesses such as autoimmune conditions and heart disease.

Whilst you can’t avoid all stressors in your life, you have more power over the way that you deal with stress than you realise.

You have the ability to control your internal response to stress. You can use the breath to activate the rest and digest response of the parasympathetic system. You can use yoga or meditation. You can also add herbs to your de-stress toolkit to calm your nerves and improve your resiliency.

Here are four of my favourites, with love.

Ashwagandha
Adaptogens have been proven to promote balance in the body. Ashwagandha is often used to help balance fatigue, exhaustion, stress and nervous tension. It also has the power to lower inflammation and fight infection. The easiest way to consume Ashwagandha is made into a tea. Try adding some Ashwagandha powder to a plant-based golden milk, with unsweetened not-dairy milk and turmeric.

Holy Basil (Tulsi)
Known as the “queen of herbs”, this member of the mint family is commonly used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a powerful antioxidant, it helps to regulate blood sugar and relieves stress. The easiest way to consume Holy Basil is as a tea. I particularly love the Pukka tea blend.

Lemon Balm 
A member of the mint family, lemon balm has been studied for its anti-anxiety effects. It is known to increase GABA activity in the brain – the neurotransmitter for feelings of calm and relaxation. Research has proven that it is useful for people with moderate anxiety and insomnia, and many people use it to improve mood, stress levels and to decrease anxiety or seasonal affective disorder. Lemon balm is easy to grow in containers at home. You can consume lemon balm daily as a tea or infused in water. You can even rub a leaf between your fingers to absorb some of its essential oils.

Curcumin
This is the most active compound in the turmeric root. This root has a wide array of health benefits, and one of these are its ability to reverse harmful brain changes induced by chronic stress. Whilst curcumin is safe to take on a daily basis, it needs to be consumed with black pepper and a fat source such as ghee or coconut oil. See the golden milk recipe as one way to consume curcumin.

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