Are you feeling strained and drained? Those are the best words I can find to describe what I’m feeling myself, and also seeing in my patients.
We’ve had so much to deal with this year and some days it feels like it’s only getting worse.
How are you coping? How are you keeping away the strain and drain?
There are three specific effects of the strain and drain I’m seeing right now and I’m seeing them in most everyone: foggy thinking, trouble sleeping, and feeling tired. This makes a lot of sense.
Most of us are running around in fight-or-flight. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, start here. This causes elevations in the stress hormone cortisol. Short-term elevation of cortisol affects our sleep and our energy, and long-term elevation of cortisol can actually reduce the number of brain cells and/or stop new brain cells from being made.
The best way to handle this is to do everything we can to keep cortisol levels down. This can be done in several ways. You can do deep breathing and meditation. You can add an adaptogen herb as I discuss in this article. And, here are some specific tips for each of the three main areas of strain and drain.
The 3 Effects of Strain & Drain:
#1: Trouble Sleeping
As you can imagine, all the extra cortisol is affecting our sleep. My patients are describing fitful sleep and waking up for no reason and not being able to fall back asleep.
If this is you, too, it’s more important than ever to practice sleep hygiene. This means getting off of technology at least an hour before you want to be asleep, making sure your room is as dark as possible, maybe taking a warm bath or long shower before bed, and considering a nice cup of relaxing tea.
We have to allow the body time to let the cortisol levels reduce. If we go to bed when they’re still high, we won’t be able to fall asleep or stay asleep.
So, just like Peter Rabbit’s mother, why not try a nice warm cup of chamomile tea?
Science has yet to definitively prove that chamomile actually does something in the body that induces sleep, yet herbalists have been using the herb for centuries for this very purpose.
With very few side effects, it’s worth a try.
Add 1 T. dried flowers per cup of water, cover, and let it steep 20-30 minutes. Then strain and enjoy.
#2: Feeling Tired
If we’re feeling more stressed in general and not sleeping, it makes sense that we’d be feeling tired during the day.
One way to get more energy is through B-vitamins. B vitamins help you convert your food into energy. Without a proper amount, we can feel low in energy.
I always recommend more mindful eating of vitamins first and add a supplement only if needed. Foods high in B-vitamins include whole grains, nuts/seeds, dark green leafy greens, meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs.
If you need more support, you can visit a health food store like New Seasons and purchase a Vitamin B-Complex. Some people have genetic issues which make it difficult to properly assimilate B-vitamins, so taking large amounts could cause anxiousness. Be sure to come and see me or another expert for advice on which supplement would be best for you.
#3: Brain Fog
The last effect of these times I’m seeing frequently is brain fog. This can be helped with all the above, as well. Here’s another fun tip… rosemary.
Rosemary has gotten a decent amount of press for its effect on memory. Small studies have proven that when people smell the oil, they remember things better. Interesting.
What I find with rosemary is that is makes me think better in general. It’s like a mini mental stimulant. You can use the essential oil and smell it as you start to feel foggy or you can simply use the plant. It grows everywhere here in Portland. Simply cut a small sprig and keep it near you. When the brain fog hits, rub your fingers along the leaves and smell. It’s that simple.
Here’s some rosemary oil I have brewing right now. I’ll use it on food and to rub it on my skin on days when I need a little boost.
Right now, it’s the simple things that seem to make a big difference. Slow down and stay in your body. Try not to let you mind run wild all the time. This doesn’t support healthy cortisol levels and can cause all the effects we’ve discussed.
Staying out of your mind means staying grounded. On the Sacred Sundays Blog this week, I’ll talk about what it means to be grounded and how to stay grounded. If you’re not on that newsletter list, you can sign-up here.
Then, on my Wednesday at Noon Facebook Live, I’ll show you an easy exercise for getting grounded quickly and effectively. Make sure you’re following The FLOURISH page so you don’t miss it!
I’d love to hear from you. How are you handling the strain and drain? Is there anything else I can do to support you?