Self-Care Check List
- 6-8 hrs of sleep per night is a good place to aim for
- Daily practice Meditate/mindfulness
- Nutrition: Rainbow of food – fruits, vegetables and whole grains; less sugar, caffeine and processed foods
- Have a leisurely bath with Epsom salts and/or lavender or rose essential oils (foot bath if you do not have a tub)
- Pause and breathe deeply, regulate your breathing a few times each day
- Exercise – make sure you move your body each day. This can be as simple as going for a brisk walk outside, or dancing around your living room to your favourite songs for ten minutes
- Connect with loved ones -communicate your feelings
Our nervous system, governed by the element air, is influenced by a life of experiences. Emotions affect the nerves and the state of the nerves can affect our emotional responses. Our nervous system can keep us cool, calm and collected in stressful situations or, at the opposite extreme it can throw us into a state of anxiety.
Everyone gets nervous at times, especially when we dealing something new that we are unfamiliar with. It is part of a survival instinct. The mind perceives a threat and the body responds accordingly, preparing us to either fight or run.
But when anxiety and our nervous response gets debilitating, stopping us from carrying on with our day to day routines or impinging on sleep, it can have a detrimental effect on our immune system.
This is where herbs and other lifestyle supportive measures can be incredibly useful and make positive changes to our health.
Herbs to reach for in times of stress
A nervine is a plant remedy that has a beneficial effect upon the nervous system in some way. This makes the word nervine into a bit of a catch-all expression, and to properly understand the varied ways that these plants behave within our bodies they can be differentiated into 3 major categories: nervine relaxants, nervine stimulants, and nervine tonics.
We work holistically so for any treatment of nervous system problems to be truly successful it will always involve treating the person and their whole body and not simply the signs and symptoms arising from the nervous system, however there are some great tonics and relaxants that can be adopted as part of our calm proactivity when it comes to this unusual situation in which we find ourselves in.
Our favourite relaxing and supportive tea blend – Heart & Soul Tea
A blend of rose, hawthorn, lime blossom and lemon balm, designed to calm frayed nerves, provide comfort for a troubled friend off-loading at the kitchen table, give you support for grief, self-nurture, even in the search for love.
The mystical beauty and intoxicating scent of Rose has inspired lovers, artists and poets throughout time. Rose invites us to get intimate with our heart’s desires, while gently cushioning and soothing the grief around lost loves or past trauma
She is the loving hug of comfort and the sweet scent to reconnect you to your sensuous desire. We use the buds and petals of the wild dog rose which creeps through the hedgerows with perfect cartoon heart-shaped petals.
On a physical level, Hawthorn is wonderful medicine for the heart and cardio-vascular system. Hawthorn can also be effective in steadying an irregular heartbeat and regulating blood pressure. With its powerful heart medicine, hawthorn is a great bringer of courage.
The word courage has its origins in the Latin word for heart, ‘Cor’. We think of Hawthorn as the plant that counsel’s rhythm. Connecting us the with passionate fire in our hearts accessible when we find our own rhythm in the world – walking our authentic path step by step at our own pace. We use the leave, flowers or berries of this courage-inducing herb.
Lime blossom is a honey-scented bloom that is deeply soothing to the nervous system. A cooling, sedative nervine, Lime can do wonders to soothe anxiety and calm nerves or a fast-beating heart. Lime counsel’s inner peace and calm, softening and soothing past wounds so that we can engage with the present in clarity and peace.
Lime flowers are a valuable cardio and nervous tonic. It is a specific herb for preventing the development of arteriosclerosis and hypertension, particularly where this is aggravated by nervous tension and stress. It will both tone and relax the nervous system and the cardiovascular system, acting as an anti-spasmodic relieving muscular and nervous tension. Lime flowers demonstrate diaphoretic activity which, when combined with its relaxing effects on the blood vessels, can help reduce body temperature and heat during a fever.
Lime flowers can help induce sleep, particularly where an individual may be affected by nightmares or night sweats. It will calm stress, anxiety and symptoms such as palpitations that may be preventing the individual from falling asleep or functioning effectively. It is also often classed as a herb suitable for use in the treatment of children.
Lemon balm’s zesty scent attracts humans and bees alike. She is an immune boosting herb; a calming digestive herb and she offers up-lifting support to the nervous system. Lemon balm is named for Melissa, the nymph from Greek mythology who brought us the honey from the bees. She hid baby Zeus from his murderous father, feeding him milk and honey. This generosity is reflected in Lemon balm, a prolific herb that you can harvest many times in the year (though we prefer her succulent spring and early summer growth).
Preparing the herbs
All of the herbs, once harvested can be laid on a tray on newspaper and placed in a warm, dry place. An airing cupboard is perfect. Once crispy to the touch, they are dry. Either snip into small bits or leave the roses whole. Mix equal parts of each and place in an airtight storage jar with a beautifully created label on the outside naming the tea and ingredients.
This most delicious tea blend Heart & Soul, truly is a ‘ Hug in a Mug‘ , the strengthening heart-centred, medicine of the Rosacea family cousins, hawthorn blooms and rosa petals, intermingled with the honey uplifting vibes of the soothing lime blossom and opened up and given a citrus zing with the gentle lemon balm makes for the perfect infusion of peace and tranquility – gifts of calm
When preparing the tea, think about what or who it’s for. Hold that in your mind as you prepare one teaspoon per cup in a tea pot and pour over boiling water. Leave to steep for five to ten minutes and strain as you pour. We like to serve in a beautiful tea pot with china cups.
Our Max Chill Drops
Maximum Chill 30ml Drops
Face life‘s challenges with calm strength
Contains: lemon balm, vervain & oats
These drops support:
· Finding stillness amongst the ebbs and flows of the emotional body
· Facing life’s challenges with calm strength
· Feeling nourished and protected
Lemon balm is soothing, relaxing & refreshing. As a herb of the moon it helps to control the ebbs and flows of the emotional body and has also been known as ‘heart‘s delight’. It is said to increase mental stamina and as a digestive herb helps to absorb and process information.
Vervain was traditionally used to drive away emotional pressures. It strengthens centers and calms the emotions acting on both the liver and the nervous system.
Oats support & nourish the nervous system. Full of vital nutrients it provides a subtle strength.
These lovely herbs can we drunk as a tea blend as well
Sleep Mix Herbs
We have blended together 5 local medicinal herbs, with relaxing and gently sedating actions, the lemon balm is sedating but uplifting in its nature so no groggy feelings, the lime blossoms are strongly anti-anxiety, feelings of worry often impair sleep, the oats full of nourishing B vitamins are super healing for any damaged nerves. Oats can help restore the myelin sheath that surrounds our nerves. Skullcap, famous for literally putting a ‘lid on unwanted, stressful thoughts’ and the wild lettuce, a mild opiate, extremely calming and sleep inducing……This sweet, gently sedating mix helps calm the nerves and relax the senses aiding to UNWIND….
Uplifting for the spirits but calming for the nerves, this lovely blend will help you drift off into a blissful sleep. Difficulty sleeping can be caused by a number of factors. Over excitability of the nervous system is one which occurs during stressful times or due to a prolonged anxious state and can lead to exhaustion.
Although oats help to nourish a nervous system that is becoming exhausted, if things persist you should get in touch and we can try to help.
Tools to aid in times of stress
Priorities taking time to slow down and de-stress. Cook yourself good nutritious food, take relaxing baths, ask for help with something that is bothering you, take time to arrange a routine that will help in getting enough sleep.
The breath is very important when dealing with nerves and anxiety. When we get anxious our breathing speeds up, but when we focus on slowing our breathing down it automatically elicits the rest and relax response in our bodies. Using these techniques for a few minutes should help your body return to a more relaxed state.
If you feel your anxiety rising, take a few minutes to change your breathing pattern:
The 4-7-8 Exercise
This exercise is simple. It takes little time yet is very powerful, requires no equipment and can be done anywhere. Although you can do the exercise in any position, sit with your back straight while learning the exercise. Place the tip of your tongue against the ridge of tissue just behind your upper front teeth, and keep it there through the entire exercise. You will be exhaling through your mouth around your tongue; try pursing your lips slightly if this seems awkward.
1. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound
2. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of four
3. Hold your breath for a count of seven
4. Exhale completely through your mouth, making a whoosh sound to a count of eight
5. This is one breath cycle
6. Now inhale again and repeat the cycle three more times, a total of four times
Note that you always inhale quietly through your nose and exhale audibly through your mouth. The tip of your tongue stays in position the whole time. Exhalation takes twice as long as inhalation. The absolute time you spend on each phase is not important; the ratio of 4:7:8 is important. If you have trouble holding your breath, speed the exercise up but keep to the ratio of 4:7:8 for the three phases. With practice you can slow it all down and get used to inhaling and exhaling more and more deeply.
This exercise is a natural tranquiliser for the nervous system.
Do it at least twice a day. You cannot do it too frequently but do not do more than four breaths at one time for the first month of practice. Later, if you wish, you can extend it to eight breaths. If you feel a little lightheaded when you first breathe this way, do not be concerned. Stop and it will pass.
Once you develop this technique by practising it every day, it will be a useful tool that you will always have with you. You can use it whenever anything upsetting happens – before you react. Use it whenever you are aware of internal tension. Use it to help you fall asleep.
This exercise was developed by Dr Andrew Weil.
When your exhalation is even a few counts longer than your inhalation, the vagus nerve (running from the neck down through the diaphragm) sends a signal to your brain to turn up your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) and turn down your sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
The SNS commands your fight or flight response. When it fires in to action, your heart rate and your breathing speed up. Stress hormones, like adrenaline, start pumping through your bloodstream preparing your body to face a threat.
The PNS, on the other hand, controls your restful and relaxation response. When the parasympathetic system is dominant, your breathing slows, your heart rate drops, your blood pressure lowers as the blood vessels relax, and your body is put into a state of calm and restoration.
The main principle of meditation is to quiet the mind. Emptying the mind of the chatter and stories we tell ourselves about our past and future can help bring calm and stability into our present lives, making us more resilient to stress and anxiety.
There are many different sorts of meditation, but a simple method is just to sit comfortably, use the breathing technique above and focus on something like a flower or a candle. Keep the focus on the object and try not to let it wander. Just a few minutes a day is very beneficial.
Yoga Nidra Network UK have many relaxing full-body meditations on-line that can help with stress, quieting the mind or insomnia:
Talking to Friends, Asking For Help
“A problem shared is a problem halved.” Think about sharing your anxieties with a close friend or write a journal to empty your mind of your worries. Make sure that you and your community are in contact to support each other if times get tough. Shared meals dropped off at the door, on the end of the phone for a chat.
Are you getting enough of the vitamins and minerals your nervous system needs to function well? Vitamin B complex, potassium, calcium and essential fatty acids ( EFAs) are all important. Eat lots of dark leafy greens, oranges, bananas, hemp, pumpkin and flax seeds. You may want to consider taking vitamin B supplements and adding lots of seeds to your diet.
Cinnamon, Tahini & Apple Porridge
Oats, packed full of B vitamins, are a wonderful nerve tonic, nourishing and supporting the nervous system.
Try cooking your porridge in the way you normally would and then add a pinch of cinnamon, a spoon of tahini, some grated apple and a heaped tablespoon of ground seeds to provide essential fatty acids.
Studies show exercise is as good for your mind as your body. Getting your blood and lymph pumping around your body brings your brain fresh blood and nutrients and can change your perspective and calm your nerves. Start more making time for your favourite sport, try an online yoga or tai chi class. Moving your body each day can be simple and done in your living room although fresh air is obviously the best, a walk in your local park, woods wild spaces is important to diary into your life.
Change your perspective
uplift the vibe of your day
Move away from anxiety and towards joy by beginning and ending your day listing 5 things you are grateful for. You might want to write these in a notebook and read them back to yourself, adding 5 more each day. Perhaps you are grateful for the trees in your garden, sweet kisses from your child, a cool glass of water, a comfy bed. Throughout the day, if your anxiety starts to rise, see if you can return to the grounded feeling that gratitude for where you are might give you.
Play uplifting soothing music, burn energetic essential oils like grapefruit or rosemary.