Rest and Stress Reduction:
I know what you’re all thinking. I have to get this (whatever it is) done! I have a deadline.
I am right there with you but your adrenal system needs time to replenish or your body will break to the point where you are forced to rest.
Coincidently, as I was writing this, I found out that a friend seeing a naturopathic doctor, was just told to reduce her work week to 20 hours/week, to give her body time to rest and reduce the extrordinarily high levels of inflammation occuring in her.
God gives us an example of rest at the very beginning of the Bible. He created the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. Not because he was tired and needed it, but to model rest for us.
This is such an important concept to Him that He put it in the Ten Commandments, “Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days shall you labor and do all your work…” You can find the verses in Exodus 20: 8-11.
I am not telling you that a specific day has to be your rest day, but if it was important enough for God to tell us to do it, we should do it.
Also helpful for rest is ditching tech for a time and allow your natural “old time” rythms to return. Don’t stay up all night watching screens. Sleep!
Make sure to build downtime into daytime as well. Your body shouldn’t be in fight or flight all day. Short periods of calm (I call them sit downs) through out the day give your body a chance to chill and calm itself. It’s a chance to regain energy and focus for your next task.
Along with rest there are herbal options to help you strengthen your body systems, build endurance, and reduce stress.
Ashwagandha is an endurance herb. Instead of giving you a boost, like caffeine does, it preserves your energy. A cup of daily tea from it’s root will build your body up over time.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) has been found to protect the body from chemical and physical stresses and can have positive effects on memory and cognitive function. Tulsi leaves can be consumed fresh daily or as a tea. Another option is to diffuse the essential oil into the air.
Medicinal Mushrooms such as Reishi and Chaga help your body deal with the effects of depleted energy, inflammation and stress. Put mushrooms in your bone broth and soups or drink it as a tea in place of morning coffee.
Nervine herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm, hawthorn, kava, skullcap, Californian poppy, passion flower, blue vervain, hops and valerian are all calming and slightly sedative. These all work great in teas as well. Drink a cup before bed time. (Can you tell I am a huge proponent of tea drinking! Just the act itself forces us to slow down. Tea is not gulped it is sipped.)
Food Intolerances/Leaky Gut
Because of the poor state of our food system and how we eat, many people have “leaky gut syndrome” and don’t even realize it. Food intolerances are magnified when you have leaky gut and leaky gut can cause food intolerances.
Ridding your diet of gluten, dairy, and refined carbohydrates can truly help alleviate inflammation.
Of course each person is different. I am not bothered by dairy but have found that my minor inflammational issues have cleared up on the Ketogenic diet (low carb/sugar/wheat).
Make sure you are eating plenty of healthy fats and purchase a good anti-inflammatory cookbook to help you find out what your triggers are.
Also invest in Dr. Josh Axe’s book, Eat Dirt. This book will get you on the path to healing your gut and/or improving your gut biome.
Turmeric is all the rage now. You’ve probably heard it is awesome for inflammation but there are other spices that work great as well.
Poppy seeds, red pepper, cayenne, and ginger all have warming effects on the body as well as Turmeric.
Mix these in a topical salve for some immediate, targeted pain relief or use them daily in your cooking to build up the benefits of these medicinal foods in your body.
You probably all know that aspirin is derived from willow bark. But modern aspirin can chew up your stomach. Making a tea from willow bark (or it’s young leaves, or the whole plant if it is small) as well as from poplar or aspen bark is excellent for alleviating pain and inflammation. Mix some meadowsweet (a demulcent) into the tea as well and your stomach will not get irritated.
Willow bark does thin the blood so do not take internally if you are on other blood thinning medications. However, bathing in it will relieve aches and pains as well.
I know very little about this form of inflammation relief but it is very popular in Chinese medicine and has been proven to reduce pain from inflammation. If you have severe or chronic inflammation I would suggest that you research this subject a bit more and give it a try.
You can find everything I’ve talked about at a good, local, health food store, herb farm/herbalist (I am working on a line of Fox & Glove herbs and products now.) or online. Many times you can get a premade product but a cost effective method is to get the basic herbs and spices and prepare them yourself.