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|We often look forward to summer being a time of relaxation; however, stress can show up during the summer months, too. Stress brings symptoms such as fatigue, headache, sleep issues, stomach pain, depression, lack of motivation or focus, anxiety, and muscle pain. When our body is stressed, our adrenal glands produce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline. Prolonged stress can cause the body to produce too much cortisol, causing adrenal exhaustion. Regular exercise and a balanced diet are helpful. Relaxation techniques and herbal remedies such as astragalus, ashwaghanda and rhodiola can also help manage stress and let the lazy summer days begin.
Feel-good endorphins are the benefit of exercise, but they are also an excellent stress reducer. Exercise can increase overall health and improve mood. Meditation is also a wonderful way to relax and re-focus energies away from a stressful lifestyle. Getting enough sleep every night (at least seven to nine hours) can help give the mind a rest. Proper nutrition is important to keeping our bodies running smoothly, and supplements are a good choice to fill in any gaps. Foods that have been shown to provide stress relief are avocados, green tea, Swiss chard, salmon or omega-3 rich fish, carrots, and nuts.
Supporting normal adrenal function may be beneficial if cortisol levels are too high. Astragalus root, used in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries as a restorative tonic, can improve energy and support normal adrenal and immune function. Ashwaghanda is an Indian herb and is used in Ayurvedic medicine. Ashwaghanda has powerful antioxidant properties and can provide excellent stress relief and reduce anxiety. This herb supports normal nervous system functions, improves sleep, and balances normal cortisol levels.
Another herb shown to reduce the effects of stress and fatigue is rhodiola rosea, used around the world for its ability to increase physical and mental performance. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb which is used for balancing the body’s stress response system. Excessive stress can often affect memory function, cognitive function, focus, concentration, and spatial perception; rhodiola can provide a boost to normal mental functions, in addition to emotional calming. Physically, this herb has been shown to increase energy, strengthen the body, and fight fatigue.