The ABCs of Plant-Based Stress And Anxiety Relief for Busy Moms (aka ALL Moms)
If you landed here, I don't need to tell you how busy mom life is.
Accepting a little help from our plant friends doesn't make us any less of a #momboss. If you climbed up Mount Kilimanjaro with a guide, you still climbed up a tall effing mountain. Doing it without one would have been overwhelming. Like mom life can be. Here are are the helpful little plant guides I pick up when I feel Mount Kilimanjaro-level stress and/or anxiety, all portable and mess-free.
I know, I talk about adaptogens a lot here. They're featured heavily in my tea-based smoothies. It's because they really, really do help our bodies deal with the physical effects of living in a world where everyone's expected to be always on—and that goes like, quadruple for moms.
The semi-difficult thing about adaptogens is that they work best when taken daily, with occasional week-long breaks. I keep a jar of ashwagandha roots on my counter and just finished a month-long love affair with a dried reishi mushroom, but I don't always have time and my entire kitchen at my disposal. That's why I like to carry tinctures around with me. Tinctures are taken using a dropper, so there's no need to boil water or blend them into a smoothie; they're always ready to go. A few of the best stress-busting adaptogens easily found in tincture and/or tonic form are ashwaghanda, reishi, chaga, and tulsi.
Learn more about adaptogens from Mountain Rose Herbs, one of the most trusted herb retailers.
Bach's Flower Essences
The story of my first time trying Bach's Flower Essences is so weird that even I, a person who regularly bares my soul on the internet, am sort of afraid to share it. I'm still going to, fear be damned.
The anxiety I've dealt with since my late teens comes in waves, and I felt like I was being knocked over by a particularly strong one when I had a dream. The only thing I could remember was the word "agrimony," which is the name of a herb.
Normally, I'd go to one of my regular places to buy the herb and make a tea, but I was at my parents' house for a few more days. I was too curious to wait to find out why my subconscious pushed this herb into my awareness, so I went to a health food store and bought the Bach's Flower Essence. The effects were immediate and significant. When my anxiety is really flaring up, I have trouble breathing. A few drops of the agrimony essence every day for three weeks resolved it.
This one is new for me, but I have to share it not only because it's been effective for me, but because in the past few weeks I keep running into other people who swear by it, too. I might just be picking up on it now that CBD oil is a recent addition to my own rotation, but I think this stuff is really having a moment.
Let's address the elephant in the room: yes, it comes from cannabis. You know, weed. No, it's not going to get you high, not even a little bit, at least if you buy the kinds that are legal in all 50 states without a prescription. This is because there are two main molecules in the plant: CBD and THC. While THC produces a high and helps with pain, nausea, loss of appetite, and other issues, CBD was believed to be biologically inactive in humans until recently.
New studies indicate that CBD can help with epilepsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, autoimmune disorders, autism and insomnia. Personally, I can only vouch for the fact that it's helped with my own anxiety and occasional trouble falling asleep. It's helped enough that I very strongly suggest trying it if you have trouble shutting off at the end of the day like I do or if you deal with anxiety.
I did some research, but ended up going to a health food store in New Haven with a carefully vetted selection, because I knew whatever they carried would be good. I ended up buying this spray and it's been fantastic, but I'd love to hear from other CBD oil enthusiasts about what works for you.
We're all meant to work with different plants at different junctures in our lives, so what does it for one person might not be the solution for another. I recommend trying out whatever it is that catches your interest and going from there! Of course, if you're taking other medications, make sure there is no conflict.