The holiday season brings a lot of stress for many of us, although the type of stress varies. There’s emotional stress:

  • Having to be with people you don’t really enjoy being with, or who aren’t supportive of your choices.
  • Arguments
  • Housework that doesn’t get done “perfectly”.
  • Financial stress over all the money used on food, gifts etc.

And then there’s the physical and mental stress the body is subjected to:

  • Overeating.
  • Drinking too much too often.
  • Lack of sleep.
  • Trying to be “perfect”, doing it all.

Some of these can be lessened with herbs, others need different kinds of help. First of all, in the real world there is no such thing as “perfect”, accept that you can’t do everything all the time, that you can’t work, have a spotless home and be happy at the same time. If you’re not going to celebrate your holidays inside the drawers, you really don’t need to clean them. Families and friends will always have disagreements, that’s just a part of life. But we can choose how much we let these get to us. While we can’t really choose our families, we can choose our friends. Surround yourself with supportive people as much as possible. When you feel like you’re walking on the edge of a cliff, there are some herbs that might keep you from falling off it.

  • Chamomile is really good all round anti-stress remedy, and also has some restorative effects.
  • Rosemary relaxes the muscles, which helps if you’re tense.
  • Tarragon also promotes calmness and has been used for hyperactivity.
  • St. John’s Wort removes the stress hormone norepinephrine and makes it easier for the pituitary gland to do its work.

As for the physical stress, I bet you know what I’m going to say; Eat and drink in moderation, and get some sleep. If you need something for indigestion, there are a few herbs that might help:

  • Dill soothes the upset stomach and relieves the cramps associated with indigestion.
  • Peppermint soothes cramps in the digestive tract, helps with the over-full feeling, and the smell calms the nerves.
  • Ginger works well for gas, bloating and pain. It may also help regulate your digestion.

As this is a season when many forget, please remember that kids deserve sober parents. If you’re going to drink more than the odd glass of wine or so at dinner, save it for when you have a sitter, or after bedtime. Emotional and physical stress from being too busy is only resolved by planning and learning how to say “No“. Nothing that beats that, not even herbs.

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