This is the first year that I have become immersed in the “Back-to-School” frenzy thanks to both of my kiddos starting school. My to-do list reads like a novella and I’m finding myself waking earlier and going to bed later just to fit a few more productive hours into my day. I fully recognize that this is an unsustainable pattern, but I also am aware that this is what needs to happen… just for a few days.
The goal is to move through this time with grace, calm and a whole bunch of perspective and get back to my good habits as soon as possible. This is how I try to approach any transitions in my life whether they are calendar events (like back-to-school or winter holidays), personal (like changing jobs, life milestones, relationships) or even in the larger world (think political and environmental).
One of the best, and truly easiest, ways to help my body and mind stay centered during times of stress is to use some of mother nature’s best tools: botanicals. I’m talking about herbs here. There are dozens of herbs that can help balance your nervous system by reducing anxiety, promoting sleep and boosting energy and I want to tell you about my top three favorites today.
Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
Who doesn’t love a warm mug of chamomile tea, right!? Okay… maybe not everyone but when it comes to crowd pleasing, calm inducing overall loveliness, chamomile tops my list. I’m such a fan that I have it on auto-ship straight to my door every month!
Chamomile has a multitude of uses – practically every system in the body from your gut to your skin and certainly nervous system can benefit from this herb. It is wonderful as an anxiolytic – or anti-anxiety – and has been seen to help promote quality sleep in children and adults.
Because it has a pleasant taste, this is one herb that I find a tea to be the easiest way to consume. Try it if you need to mellow out during your day or take before bed to help you get your zzz’s. And don’t hesitate to make a pot and share it with your kiddos who may need to mellow out before bed as well!
Lavender (Lavandula angustafolia)
Close your eyes and imagine the smell of lavender… not hard to do right? Lavender is likely one of the most recognizable fragrances when we think of calm. Lavender is a nervine which means it has moderately potent action on your nervous system, it helps to calm the nervous system. The leaf, flower or volatile oil can all be used to help treat anxiety, agitation, insomnia and depression.
Thanks to its highly aromatic qualities, the number of ways you can use lavender is endless including in body care products, candles, diffused oils, teas and as a culinary herb.
Lavender is a great herb to introduce to children because it is extremely safe. (Caution not to take the volatile oil or versions of it without consulting your physician). I like to spray my daughter’s room with a lavender mist before bedtime and she loves it! It’s a must-have part of our night-time routine now.
As for YOU, my suggestion is to find your favorite way to try lavender and incorporate into your stress-filled days. Here are a couple ideas:
- Lavender Tea – try a cup before bed.
- Lavender Essential Oil – rub just a drop on your “perfume points” 1-2 times per day to keep the calm
- Lavender Room Spray – Give your pillow a light spritz before you hit the hay for the night. I bet you will have a more restful sleep!
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
The third lovely herb that I frequently employ for keeping the calm is Lemon Balm. Also considered a nervine in action, lemon balm is helpful for mild anxiety, stress, nervousness and insomnia. An added bonus is its ability to help calm an upset stomach, which we know can sometimes accompany our stressful days.
True to its name, this herb has a lovely lemony taste that makes it a great addition (or stand-alone) for teas. The fresh herb is higher in strength than dried so consider growing yourself a small patch in your garden or a sunny kitchen window.
In addition to taking lemon balm as a tea, you can find encapsulated lemon balm which is a great way to get high potency with ease.
I encourage you to try or get back to using one or several of these lovely, calming herbs in the coming days/weeks or anytime you are going through a life transition or stressful time. They can help you keep your center so you can get on with all that life sends your way. And I’d love to know what your favorite calming herbs are if not listed above – leave me a comment!
Interested at trying your hand at making your own Calming Herbal Tea?
Wondering where to get high quality, organic herbs like those listed above? My preferred online source is Mountain Rose Herbs