It’s somehow two-thirds of the way through October, well past two-thirds of the way through the year, the weather is changing, the holidays are around the corner, oh and there’s a little global pandemic sprinkled in around it all. This time of year is almost always served with a heaping helping of stress, and this year is even more exceptional in so many ways. Maybe you have less going on than you normally would this time of year or maybe you’re like me and you honestly don’t know which way is up most days. Either way, daily stress can impact just about anybody and everybody and its compounding effects could, of course, add even more stress to your life. But, there are certainly a few things we can do every day to help send stress and anxiety packing!
Movement: This may be some kind of high intensity, buckets-of-sweat-generating cardio workout if that’s your thing - bless your heart - or it could be an invigorating walk around the block with a neighbor (or even a morning volunteering on the farm!). Whatever your brand of movement is, do it and enjoy it. Better yet, enjoy it outside! The sun is still bright and warm and fresh air is so good for your soul (and your cells). Exercising is such a powerful stress buster because it helps produce endorphin based chemical reactions in your brain that essentially act as your body’s natural pain-killers and mood-lifters. Additionally, exercise has been linked to greater insulin sensitivity, lower risk of depression, better sleep, and fewer spikes in cortisol.
Fresh, local, and organic diet: Have you ever spent a very long day or few days traveling? Your sleep schedule is off, your meal schedule is off and who’s there to judge you if you have a Little Debbie or six for dinner? I would never judge you for that. But at the end of the trip, you might feel a little off too. Now imagine that this trip we’re talking about is actually just life and you’ve normalized feeling a little off every day because maybe you’re not getting a nutrient-dense diet of quality sourced ingredients often enough. I mean it makes sense, right? Your cells are built from the packets of energy that your body can create from the food that you eat. And certain types of food help build cells and connect pathways in different places.
- B vitamins help your body convert nutrients to energy
- Healthy fats reduce inflammation and improve brain health
- High-quality protein sources provide amino acids that are crucial in neurotransmitter functions
Go outside: Have you ever heard of the practice of forest bathing? If not, I went a bit more in-depth on it in a previous blog post (link to it here). It is, in fact, not the act of taking a bath in a forest, but basically, it’s the idea is that as Americans in the 21st century, we spend on average 90% of our day away from nature. Not only is that a real bummer, but there’s also science that shows that this could be detrimental to your health on a physiological level. Getting away from the rigamarole for just a bit every day and getting outside has shown to lower cortisol levels, lower blood pressure levels, reduce the risk of anxiety and depression and so so much more!
Herbal Support (my favorite topic!): I promise this blog post wasn’t written with the sole intention that you read my other blog posts but… I did write a blog a few months ago about using herbal support to help fight stress. The gist of this post was about using adaptogenic herbs to help combat the impact of stress on the body. Adaptogenic herbs have shown to improve anxiety symptoms as well as protect the body from suffering a large blow due to high levels of cortisol. I know I write about this herb a lot but my favorite adaptogenic herb grows right here at Woodside Farms: tulsi/holy basil. It smells so warm and inviting and makes the most delicious tea. Make sure you grab a bundle from the next farm stand. It’s so tasty!
Stress has the ability to follow us around like a creepy shadow. I hope the strangeness of this year has actually offered you a bit of a respite and a recharge. If that’s not the case, you’re always welcome to take a morning off and join us Fridays from 9 am-noon at the farm for volunteer hours. We promise we won’t talk about deadlines and chore lists!