25 Oct Harnessing natural and herbal remedies for stress this autumn
This time of year can be stressful, whatever stage of life you’re at, but as Brigitte Flower explains, trying some natural and herbal remedies for stress as part of your everyday wellness regime could help put you in a more relaxed frame of mind this autumn.
As the last warmth of summer fades, and we face the prospect of long evenings ahead, many of us find our mood dips.
But the change of season offers plenty of opportunities for us to focus on our self-care too.
We may have lost the sunlight, but the prospect of cosy evenings in, treats such as pumpkin-spiced lattes and getting outside in crisp, invigorating air can help us dial down our stress levels and invest in our wellbeing.
Harnessing natural remedies for stress
As the days grow shorter and temperatures drop, many people experience a noticeable shift in mood and energy levels. Things that you might brush off during long, bright summer days become daunting and overwhelming, and you may feel that you aren’t able to cope as well as usual.
Often referred to as “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD), this change can trigger stress and exacerbate any existing mental health concerns you might have, especially if you are dealing with additional stresses and strains at the same time.
Reduced exposure to natural sunlight, increased isolation due to colder weather, and the end of the free feeling of summer can contribute to heightened stress levels. By harnessing the therapeutic power of natural and herbal remedies for stress, we can navigate this seasonal transition with resilience and tranquility.
Nature as medicine
The Japanese practice of “shinrin-yoku” or forest bathing is a great way to practice mindfulness and help to calm a troubled mind by immersing yourself in nature. Combining the benefits of mindfulness meditation with the natural beauty of autumn can be a great way to reduce stress.
We’ve written before about the benefits of ecotherapy and taking a leisurely walk through the woods or a park and focusing on the sights, sounds, and sensations around you can help you ground yourself in the present moment.
Aromatherapy and essential oils
One of the most accessible ways to tap into the therapeutic power of nature is through aromatherapy. If you’ve never tried it, it involves using essential oils extracted from plants to promote physical and emotional wellbeing. In autumn, essential oils such as lavender, chamomile and frankincense can be particularly effective in reducing stress. The easiest way to benefit from essential oils at home is to use them in diffusers or add a few drops to your bathwater for a soothing soak.
Herbal teas for relaxation
A lovely cup of herbal tea on a cold day can be a wonderful way to combat stress. Teas made from herbs like chamomile, valerian root, and lemon balm have natural calming properties. Chamomile, in particular, contains compounds that bind to receptors in the brain, helping reduce anxiety and sending you off to sleep naturally, so your mind gets a good rest overnight.
You are what you eat!
The foods we consume play a significant role in our stress levels. In the autumn, it’s easy to get seasonal fruits and vegetables which are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that help to support mental health. For instance, pumpkins, sweet potatoes, and squash are high in vitamin A and fibre, which are beneficial for gut health – something that is closely linked to your state of mind. Try including these gut-loving foods into your autumn diet and see if they can help reduce your stress levels.
Herbal remedies for stress
Herbal medicines can provide valuable support for managing stress during the autumn season. St John’s Wort herb is traditional herbal medicine designed to help with symptoms of slightly low mood and mild anxiety, helping you to feel more like yourself again and better able to cope with the invariable niggles and annoyances that this time of year can bring.
To find out more about how our product, HRI Good Mood St John’s Wort can be used as part of a natural approach to easing stress and anxiety, read more about it here https://hriherbalmedicine.co.uk/products/hri-good-mood/ As with any medicine, always read the patient information leaflet before taking the tablets. St John’s Wort herb is not recommended if you use the contraceptive pill or other hormonal contraceptives.
Connecting with others
There are lots of opportunities to meet up with friends and neighbours in the autumn, either around a bonfire, at a harvest celebration or for the fun of Halloween. If stress is getting you down, you may feel like staying in by yourself, but building and maintaining strong social connections is an essential aspect of stress management. Spending time with loved ones, sharing stories, and engaging in laughter can release endorphins and reduce stress hormones in your body.
Try exercising in the fresh air
Physical activity is well-known as a stress reducer, and autumn provides a beautiful backdrop for outdoor exercise. Autumn is an ideal time to take up activities like hiking, jogging, or cycling which cause your body to release endorphins, the body’s natural mood lifters, helping to clear your mind and lessen feelings of stress and anxiety.
The mind-body connection
The mind and body are intricately connected, and stress can manifest physically in the form of muscle tension, headaches, and digestive issues. Calming activities such as yoga or Tai Chi combine gentle stretching, breath control and meditation to help you let go of stressful thoughts and feelings.
Quality sleep for resilience
Getting regular, good-quality sleep is fundamental to managing stress and autumn’s longer nights provide an ideal opportunity to prioritise getting the right amount of rest. Creating a calming bedtime routine, such as sipping a cup of herbal tea, taking a warm bath, or practising relaxation techniques, can promote deeper and more restful sleep.
A well-rested body and mind are better equipped to handle stressors that are likely to creep up on you during the day.
Embracing instead of begrudging the seasonal change to autumn can be a first step towards reducing stress and supporting your mental wellbeing. From aromatherapy and herbal teas to mindful meditation and seasonal self-care rituals, there are numerous ways to tap into the tranquillity that this season can bring, so we are ready for the festive season ahead.