Adrenal tincture we made this year
Stress can be debilitating, anyone with anxiety will tell you this. While people deal with stressors in different ways, our bodies all react quite similarly. You may have heard talk of Adrenals, or seen adrenal support tinctures or concoctions for supporting a healthy stress response. This is because your adrenals, which are glands located above each kidney, control specific hormone production. One of these hormones is called cortisol and is increased as your body’s response to a stressful environment (3).
Your Body's Stress Response
When you are faced with a stressful situation, your body can’t distinguish the threat of financial insecurity from being chased by a bear and creates the same internal environment. This response is supposed to be relatively quick, increasing your blood pressure, making you more alert so you can get out of a mortally perilous situation and then go back about your day. When we worry about things, that cortisol level rises.
When we are chronically worried/anxious, cortisol is in our system for a longer time than necessary and can lead to a bulk of health issues. These include a weakened immune system, digestive issues, heart disease, insomnia, depression, skin irritation and many more (4). This is why it’s incredibly important to have certain strategies in place to help reduce stress in our daily lives.
Tea Blends and Herbal Remedies for Stress
In our present time, I’m sure that everyone is dealing with their own different stressors and maneuvering around obstacles that wouldn’t have existed a month ago. Stress-relieving teas or tinctures are a great ally to have on hand right now. Lavender, Chamomile, Calendula, Motherwort, Rose, Rosemary, and St. John's wort, are all great herbs for relieving stress and tension in the body. Gail Edwards writes that nettles is invaluable at "restoring adrenal function" (1), so if you suffer from chronic stress, a nettle tincture would be a must-have.
At the farm, we drink a soothing tea made up of our house tea blend (see earlier lemon balm post for recipe) with added chamomile and lavender flowers. On top of that, I also take a rosemary tincture to help promote mental clarity and untangle/organize some of the things I’m worried about. Rosemary is a great aid for the whole nervous system, especially when dealing with “fatigue, exhaustion, and stress” (1).
I happen to feel everything in my gut when stressed, so I like to massage calendula oil right onto my stomach and neck. Taking the time to care for yourself is a huge part of the healing, so make sure you’re setting time aside, or taking advantage of those precious moments when you can just breathe and check-in with yourself.
A 2014 study on chronic stress and pain in the body mentioned that “Stress may be unavoidable in life, and challenges are inherent to success; however, humans have the capability to modify what they perceive as stressful and how they respond to it” (2). Though it may not seem like it sometimes, we have the ultimate control to determine what stresses us out and why.
Below you’ll find some tips for managing stress along with a list of activities that can be done to improve your living/working spaces!
Tips for Managing Stress
Create a stress board. This activity is better than it sounds: Make a notecard about what is stressing you out and why — then create another notecard that outlines how you could solve that problem / the steps to accomplishing that. This singles out problems that may see larger than life in your head.
Do 10 minutes of yoga or stretching each morning and night to wake up and get ready for bed. This helps you reconnect with your body and is a simple way to check if anything hurts or needs special attention.
If the outdoors is available to you, go for a walk. If you live in a more crowded area, just sitting on your front porch is a good way to get fresh air.
Keep a separate workspace so that your brain doesn’t get overwhelmed with switching between home and work mode.
Try to keep a normal sleep schedule, it is incredibly tempting to stay up and wake up much later, but your body and mind will benefit from sticking to a schedule!
Photo from our walk in the backwoods
This is a good time to declutter. Go through your room(s) and determine what can be donated, thrown away, or kept. Clutter can be overwhelming, even on a subconscious level.
Make music! Especially if you have young ones, making up songs about menial tasks like washing dishes, making the bed, picking up toys, etc, keeps them entertained while also getting the job done. (My siblings and I did a quarantine theatre which we virtually shared with our friends and family)
Learn something new. Khan Academy is a free site that offers videos and quizzes on a multitude of subjects and is especially good for school-age kids trying to learn from home right now.
Make a scrapbook with saved movie stubs, photos, drawings, notes, and other things you’ve collected over the years.
Get cooking. Play around with an old family recipe or make a new one.
Let’s make sure we’re taking good care of our adrenals and coping with stressors we can’t immediately solve. As always, check with your healthcare practitioner before starting herbal supplements as they may interfere with other medications you may be taking, or may not work for you specifically. Listen to your body. We here at Nezinscot Farm wish you all health, happiness, and safety during these times.
Edwards, F. Gail. Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs, 2000. pg. 165
Hannibal, K. E., & Bishop, M. D. (2014). Chronic stress, cortisol dysfunction, and pain: a psychoneuroendocrine rationale for stress management in pain rehabilitation. Physical therapy, 94(12), 1816–1825. https://doi.org/10.2522/ptj.20130597
What are the health effects of chronic stress? Medical News Today, 2018.
Mackenzie Varney is an apprentice herbalist on Nezinscot Farm in Maine. She has degrees in biology and health and has lived and worked on farms all her life. Connect with her on Instagram, and read all of Mackenzie’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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