Think about all the things you’ve been told to do to try and de-stress. Yoga—check. Deep breathing—check. Hot tea, hot bath, meditation—check, check, check.
If you’re doing all these things, why aren’t you super zen 24/7? A hot bath feels great for 45 minutes. But once we drain the tub, the real world is waiting outside of the bathroom door ready to greet us with term papers, finals, and work schedules.
Deep breathing and yoga have their undeniable perks—I would never characterize them as ineffective stress-management techniques. But sometimes, when the going gets tough, we all need something a little longer-lasting.
Ever thought of going botanical? There are several all-natural supplements for stress relief that can be found right in your neighborhood drug stores. Herbal supplements provide your body with what it doesn’t get from the food you eat. They’re mild, but safer than Rx medication because they don’t carry with them the same drastic side-effects.
Choosing the right supplement for you is the next step. Here are five super sweet, super soothing supplements to look at:
If you couldn’t tell by the name, Ashwagandha is an exotic herb. It’s most commonly found in India and has remarkably stress-relieving properties. Ashwagandha is an adaptogen, which means that it helps us adapt to our environments. This includes the stressful work/school/social environments with which we all have experience.
GABA is an amino acid that acts as the main inhibitory (calming) neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA is mainly used to remedy stress, nervousness, and anxiety by reducing high levels of the hormones adrenaline, noradrenalin, and dopamine. Instead, GABA helps our bodies make endorphins—those kickass hormones that make us feel great after we exercise. Having too little GABA in the body can lead to depression and anxiety. Taking a GABA supplement will replace what your body is not already getting from the food you eat every day.
For all you worriers and over-thinkers out there, Kava has your back. The roots of the Kava plant are brewed into a tea that is great for calming an overactive mind. It’s actually commonly used for those that struggle with social anxiety because it “takes the edge off” no alcohol necessary.
Whether your muscles are sore after a tough workout, or you’re trying to calm down after a (mini) panic attack during finals week, magnesium is the supplement for you! It’s great for relaxing tense muscles and lowering blood pressure, which can transform you from stiff and strung-out to chill and ready to roll. Taking magnesium before bed is also a great way to combat insomnia. It’s calming principals quickly quiet down your entire body just in time to get a much needed 8 hours.
Rhodiola is a herb that has a historical background in treating depression. Studies show that Rhodiola seems to balance serotonin levels in the brain— a shortage of serotonin can lead to depression. Rhodiola is essentially a mood stabilizer in this way, and lots of people use it for seasonal depression in the wintertime.
Always remember to talk to your doctor if you are taking any other prescription medications before starting any new supplements. Until then, stay herby my friends.