I’m all about being mindful and zen and healthy. However, as a working mother with a house full of yowling human poop machines, this is easier said than done. I’ve had my good friends alcohol and chocolate to turn to in times of duress, but they always left me feeling empty… Mostly because it wasn’t spiritually fulfilling, but also because my infant would run off with all my chocolate or my toddler would knock over my drink. And you can only stock so many bottles of in the bathroom before your husband starts taking you to AA. But reasonings aside, change was in order.
So, I’ve done some research and explored natural remedies that can give me the health and wellness (and maybe a little more sanity) that I crave. Along my journey, I’ve found some lovely options that truly work. And they’re so simple to use, I’ll actually do them. I even want to do them!
Now let’s kick stress’s butt so we can celebrate life ladies!
Sip A Cup Of Nervines
Between the physical demands of pregnancy and the mental and emotional demands of mothering and woman-ing — ladies have some unique and specific health needs.
Enter nervines! Nervines are herbs that act upon the nervous system. Functions like blood pressure and heart rate are regulated by the nervous system, so that’s helpful. But what’s really important here is its connection to the stress response. The nervous system is responsible for taking in sensory data that either promotes a calm “rest and digest” state, or triggers that wild old “fight or flight” response. A healthy nervous system is a key player in being a mindful and peaceful mama, so pour yourself a nice tall glass of these sanity-saving nervines.
- Oats: Moms love rolled oats for quick and healthy breakfasts, but the groats aren’t even the best part of the oat plant. Women that want to get the most out of their oats should turn to oatstraw (the plant) and milky oat tops (the immature seed). As nervines, they help soothe frazzled nerves and promote a more balanced mental and emotional state. As herbs, they’re packed with vitamins and minerals that our bodies need and love. They also double as milk-enhancing galactagogues and they have no known side-effects, so they’re fantastic herbs for pregnant and postpartum women. You can drink the benefits of oatstraw and oat tops by making a tea, but make an herbal infusion to get the most of your steeping. If you’d like to sip your oats while benefitting from other quality herbals, check out the Moon Time tea and Slow Down tea from Honey + Sage Co.
- Skullcap: This is my drug herb of choice. I’ve been using skullcap tincture for about two months, and the difference in my life is night and day. As an anxiolytic (anxiety alleviator) and a spasmolytic (muscle spasm reliever), skullcap can ease tension of the body and the mind with immediate results. As a nervine, skullcap can be used to restore and maintain the nervous system. To put in simpler terms, it has all the sanity-saving properties of a glass of wine — and without taxing that pesky old liver. Better yet, you can get skullcap as a tincture and take it anywhere at anytime. And you’ll never have to hide it in a metal water bottle or coffee cup!
Blend An Adaptogenic Smoothie
Adaptogens have many of the same benefits of nervines but where nervines feed the nervous system, adaptogens can help support and restore the health of the entire body. Depending on the adaptogen, the benefits can include clarity, higher energy and endurance, balanced metabolism and hormones, and more. They’re also non-toxic and safe for long term use, so once you get approval from your health provider, you can make adaptogens a part of your daily routine.
- Ashwagandha: This plant is a staple in India’s traditional medicine system of Ayurveda. And for good reason. Studies on ashwagandha suggest that this “India Ginseng” can reduce stress, improve focus and sleep, up overall health, and naturally enhance emotional well being. Just like skullcap, this is an herb that I want to ALWAYS have in stock. After a month of regular use, the changes in my mood and energy were night and day, and I shudder at the thought of going without it. Plus, it’s a perfect excuse to make a chocolate date ashwagandha breakfast smoothie.
- Tulsi: This herb is another Ayurveda star. It’s a huge deal, it’s so cherished, and word has it that the women of India pray over it and bless it as they water it. If that’s not reason enough to buy it, this herb is packed with antioxidants and all their anti-aging and health-supporting benefits. But it doesn’t stop there. Various studies show that tulsi balances stress hormones, thereby promoting mental function and a more balanced mood. If your health provider agrees that tulsi is an awesome option for you, you can add dried tulsi leaves to your favorite green smoothie. If you’re a gardener, pick up a packet of seeds and you can eat fresh tulsi as often as you want.
Do Daily Yoga… By Breathing!
If you’re like me, you’ve got a goal to squeeze in a sublime yoga session before kids wake up or you have to get ready for work. If you’re even more like me, then your determination to accomplish this goal — which has lasted a whole six months — has resulted in you rolling out of bed and onto your yoga mat all of five times. But when you’re dealing with teething, bed-hogging toddlers, and early risers, all you wanna do is embrace your mattress for every minute you can. However, moms can get the benefits of yoga without having to do sun salutations to the rising sun. Actually, you don’t even have to leave bed!
Yogic breathing exercises give our bodies the vital prana energies that yoga is famed for. Conscious breathing enhances our oxygen levels and circulation, and this means moms can score clarity of mind, higher energy levels, and a mood that’s so perky coffee can’t even compete with it. Get started by watching tutorials for pranayama breathing techniques like Nadi Shodhana and Ujjayi breathing. So, don’t jump out of bed. Sprawl out and breathe it up!
Maximize Your Mindfulness And Track Yourself
Mindfulness is amazing because it helps us to see things as they really are. However, deep patterns of behavior can be INSANELY HARD to notice. Start taking note of how you feel, what you do,when, and why. Write this stuff down in a journal and you’ll really be able to get a look at your behavior patterns so you can take steps to change things. Right now, my personal favorite journal tool is the Law Of Attraction Planner from Freedom Mastery. I actually try to steer away from Law of Attraction stuff because of all the use and abuse by businesses, but I can’t get over this planner and how easy and enjoyable it makes it to create and track goals. It’s absolutely worth looking into.
If you’re a mom in need of something quick and simple — as in, automatic and effortless — you can forego the journaling for modern technology. Wearable wellness trackers like FitBit and Vivosmart are most known for raising fitness potential, but they can raise our potential for mindfulness and relaxation too. They offer breathing and meditation apps that guide you based on your biofeedback. This is crazy helpful for moms like myself who can’t focus on a non-mom task for more than thirty seconds.
Whaddya think mamas? Have you tried any of the tricks shared above? Do you have another tip to add to the list? Share in the comments down below!