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Since March, the world has been turned upside down. Many offices are still closed, revenue has been significantly disrupted, and business travel had been devastated. The future is uncertain, which can cause a tremendous amount of stress.
If stress is getting the best of you, here are six natural remedies that might help. As always, do your research and talk to your doctors before introducing any supplements.
Flowers Rhodiola rosea, an herbal tea in a glass cup on a wooden boards background
- Rhodiola rosea. You may not have heard about this herb, but rhodiola rosea has been used by people in Scandinavia, Russia, and China for years as a way to reduce fatigue and boost energy. Research has shown that among its other effects, rhodiola rosea boosts the activity of the parasympathetic nervous system, the part of the nervous system that slows down our mental and physical processes.
For most people who use it, this herb helps combat anxiety nicely. But it isn’t for everyone; some people report the opposite effect, with it increasing anxiety and irritability. When you give it a try, monitor your moods closely and ask those you live with to do the same.
- L-Theanine. One reason some people drink tea is to get a boost without the buzz and anxiety that sometimes comes with drinking coffee. They can thank L-theanine for that, a compound in many teas that promotes focus and calmness. Studies have shown that L-theanine does more than just reduce anxiety, too; it seems to improve verbal fluency, executive function, and sleep.
Tea is a common way to get a little L-theanine in your diet to reduce stress. But if you’re not a tea drinker, you also can get this compound in supplement form.
- CBD oil. Cannabidiol, also known as CBD, is getting a lot of attention lately. Part of that attention comes from the fact that CBD is a natural extract from cannabis, the same plant that produces marijuana. Most of the attention, however, comes from the fact that this non-hallucinogenic part of the cannabis plant has a load of health benefits – including anxiety relief.
CBD targets the endocannabinoid system, the part of the body that is responsible for the feelings of relaxation and exhilaration after a strenuous workout. So just like a runner’s high, CBD brings a sustained calmness and focus that can be a major counterbalance to stress. You can get this stress reliever in gummy bear form or oil.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Your brain is very susceptible to inflammation, which causes anxiety and stress. One of the main drivers of inflammation is omega-6 fatty acids, which are found in cheap vegetable oils and refined carbs. A natural way to offset this is by consuming omega-3 fatty acids, which act as an anti-inflammatory agent in your brain and counteract the effects of omega-6 fatty acids.
Omega-3s are naturally present in fish oil, so if you need a break from stress right now, consider upping the amount of mackerel, salmon, herring, or oysters you consume. If you want to avoid fish breath, consider adding omega-3 oil as a supplement. Although vegetable-based omega-3 supplements do work and are an option for vegetarians and vegans, a Harvard study showed they aren’t nearly as effective as the fish-based variety.
Lavender essential oil in the amber bottle, with fresh lavender flower heads.
- Essential oils. Another method to try for reducing anxiety is the use of essential oils while you work. There’s an entire industry built around using aromas and essential oils to relax and cut down on stress.
If you’re overwhelmed by the selection of oils out there, focus on lavender, chamomile, and cedarwood, all of which are known to reduce heart rate, ease tension in the body, promote relaxation and improve sleep. You can smell these oils, burn them, diffuse them, or even dab them on your skin when your stress levels start to feel like they’re getting a bit high.
- Vitamin D. As humans, we’ve evolved to expect a lot of sunlight. But when we work inside, we often suffer from a vitamin D deficiency that can lead to anxiety and stress. Turns out the stress you’ve been feeling the past few months might have to do with spending too much time indoors, not just the current state of the world.
Vitamin D supplements can help, but research suggests a better way to get more vitamin D is the old-fashioned habit of going outside and taking a walk. You not only get a little exercise, which helps with anxiety, but also exposure to those valuable sun rays that naturally give you the vitamin D your body craves.