We all know starting a business isn’t easy. As an entrepreneur, you are the sole person responsible for the success of your business, and stress just comes with the territory. When I first started my web design business, I underestimated the time and money that would be involved. I felt completely overwhelmed, couldn’t sleep, and started gaining weight due to being fixated on a screen for more than 8 hours a day.
In short, I was a mess.
Since then, through a comedy of errors, I have found simple ways of making my life much less stressful. I learned how to manage my time realistically, by scheduling in all tasks in my phone’s calendar app. (Yes, this is sadly something I had to learn.) I learned how to step back from my work, take time out for myself, and, you knowhave a life. This learning process took me the better part of my first year in business, so don’t be too hard on yourself if my experiences sound far too familiar. Every business is different, and each one evolves organically through persistent hard work and dedication. No one said this would be easy, and if it was more people would do it!
Working towards a more effective business model is one thing but what if you are a little ball of stress now, and need a quick fix? I want to share with you some of the natural remedies that have calmed me down. I have studied herbalism for a few years now, and have found some simple, easy to find herbs that can really help you relax.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, so please use caution when taking herbal remedies, and source your herbs from respected, certified organic suppliers. If you are taking medication, please check with your doctor before trying a herbal remedy to ensure it will not counteract with your treatment.
My go-to herbs for stress relief are:
I have found a cup of valerian tea before bed really helps calm my mind while promoting relaxation. It eases anxiety, calms menstrual cramps, and cures insomnia when taken daily for at least two weeks. Compounds in valerian root (Valeriana officinalis) cause an increase in gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which allows us to fall asleep easier and stay asleep for long periods of time. Valerian is not addictive, and can be used regularly with no grogginess or side effects.
Most health food stores now carry bagged valerian tea. Look for organically grown varieties, with valerian root as the only ingredient. You will need to steep the tea covered for 10-15 minutes for the full effect. I like to add raw honey as well, although I find the tea has a very mild taste. Valerian does tend to have an earthy smell to it though, which some people like, while others think it smells more like dirty feet. Cats tend to love the smell of valerian, often rubbing themselves on the roots. I grew and dried my own valerian for the first time this year, and I had to hide the drying bits of root from my cats. You could have sworn it was catnip!
This is the first thing I grab when I feel a headache coming on. A soothing chamomile tea with honey and a squirt of lemon juice really helps. It works best if you start drinking the tea before your headache becomes too severe. Prized for its special flavonoids found in its small white flowers, Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) are natural nerve relaxants and stress relievers, used all over the world for thousands of years.
However, although chamomile can be used for treating many ailments including inflammation, burns, bruises, depression, IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome), and dark circles around the eyes, it is considered an abortifacient (a substance to induce abortion), and not recommended for pregnant women. If you are allergic to ragweed pollen or have hay-fever, you may also have difficulty using chamomile, especially in larger doses (i.e. essential oil, tinctures, liquid extract).
You can use dried lavender (Lavandula) as a tea, but I find the taste to be too floral for my liking. Lavender is best used as an essential oil, and useful to relieve anxiety and stress. The herb can also help break up phlegm in the respiratory tract, and gives a much needed boost to the immune system. Lavender is anti-fungal, anti-septic and anti-inflammatory, making it an ideal natural remedy for a number of ailments.
You can use lavender essential oils in a number of ways. The simplest is to rub a few drops of the oil into your temples. If the scent is too strong for you, add a drop of the essential oil to a carrier such as coconut oil or jojoba oil.
Lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) are one of those herbs that seems to do it all. It has a subtle lemony scent, and is a member of the mint family. Not only is lemon balm good for reducing stress and anxiety, it is a perfect house plant since it is safe for pets (if your pets don’t kill it, that is). The herb has been used since the Middle Ages to promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease pain. Recent scientific studies suggest that lemon balm is a neuro-enhancer, able to improve memory and cognitive ability.
Lemon balm is best taken in caplet form, in a dosage between 300-500mg per day. It takes a little bit of experimentation to discover what dosage works best for you. Start around 300mg per day, and increase gradually to 500mg if you don’t feel a difference. Lemon balm should be taken regularly for best results.
Whenever I get stressed, my stomach knows it and makes life miserable. I’ve found drinking some peppermint tea calms down my stomach and the refreshing aroma makes me feel much better. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is a good source of manganese, copper, and vitamin C, giving a boost to your immune system as well as your mood.
I also really like using peppermint essential oil in the bath. Simply add about 5 drops to your bathwater. The oil leaves your skin feeling slightly tingly, and I always feel refreshed after a good soak in the tub. If you don’t have a tub, try adding a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a warm foot bath. You will still enjoy the benefits of this remarkably potent natural remedy.
I have found these herbs to be very helpful with managing stress, but it doesn’t compare to adequate sleep, exercise, and eating healthy foods. I know, I know you’ve heard it all before, but it is true. No magic bullet exists. I hope these simple remedies will help get you through the tough times.
Stay strong you will get through this.