Top Stress Busting Tips

By Joel Thuna


One of the main complaints that people have these days is a lack of energy. It seems as though we are all one “cup of joe” away from slowing down and passing out. WHY is this occurring?


One key reason is that we live in hectic times where we are bombarded by information 24/7 and are expected to be on, up and ready at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately this isn’t how we are built. Our makeup is optimized for being up and ready to go during daylight hours and then relaxing and recovering during the night. We have fooled ourselves with technology. We have phones, tablets, computers and TV all around us with their brain stimulating lights. The light fools us into thinking 2 am (or some other insane hour) is daytime which throws our rhythm and energy in the trash. Combine poor sleep and overstimulation with poor nutrition and lack of exercise and you have the perfect recipe for fatigue, exhaustion and sickness. Or modern society disease.


Take back your control and GET OFF THE HAMSTER WHEEL! 


To get started, the most important thing you need is a good night’s sleep. We have covered this before here and the advice remains the same. Practice good sleep hygiene. No devices in the bedroom (phones, tablets, or computers). Stop all technology at least ½ hour before bedtime. No eating or drinking 1 hour before bedtime. Keep the room dark, comfortable and free of distracting noises. Use safe calming herbs to help prepare for relaxation. Drops of lavender essential oil on the pillow, chamomile tea and valerian extract can all help to calm your mind and help the sandman. 


Don’t discount exercise. Physical fitness is a must. Your body is designed to work during the day, relax and repair every night. Working out during the day helps to normalize your sleep schedule, tune your metabolism and boost your overall energy levels (both physical and mental).


Good nutrition is another important facet. Eating healthy enables your body to get the nutrients it needs to repair itself when you are asleep so that you can get up each day refreshed and ready to get going. Have a wide variety of nutrient-rich whole foods while avoiding stimulants to get you going in the morning. The occasional caffeine or sugar enhanced breakfast is OK but relying on them puts you on a never ending roller-coaster. While the temporary lift is great, the crash afterwards leaves you in a worse state than where you started.  My personal morning ‘go to’ items are simple: oatmeal with fresh berries or home-made blueberry muffins.


If you need an extra boost, go for healthy nutrient-based options. Before working out or when I know I am going to have a draining day, I power up with a shot of active vitamin B12 in a glass of liquid greens chlorophyll. With this combination I get tasty nutrition with no stimulants; prolonged energy and no crashing.


If I need a serious boost; for example, before a hockey game or bike trek, then I bring out the big guns. I take organic active B12, organic Imperial Ginseng and organic Turmeric. The B12 and ginseng give me energy to go go go. The turmeric enhances the ginseng and at the same time helps me avoid overdoing it and being sore the next morning. I choose organic because I want the super boosters to be safe, strong and clean.


Stress can be a serious drain on health and energy. While a little stress can be good – it can help motivate, focus and propel us – most of us are way past a little stress and are constantly living with massive stress. Job, family, politics, the economy, health, and the list goes on. You can’t avoid all stress, but you can help your body to handle both the physical and emotional aspects of stress. B vitamins, especially B6 and B12 can help you to cope with stress. A class of herbs called adaptogens are amazing when it comes to stress. As the name implies, they help your body adapt to and overcome stress, both physical and emotional. Imperial Ginseng, Siberian Ginseng and Astragalus are the most popular and well researched adaptogens, with Imperial Ginseng being the most potent.


Try to work smarter. Most of us have incredibly long lists of things we have to do. We set ourselves up to fail by setting absurdly long lists to be done in too short a timeframe. This leads us to stress out and overwork ourselves and sap the energy we have. This can include work, chores, professional, family, and social obligations. Streamline your list of “must-do” activities to realistic and achievable levels. Set your priorities in terms of the most important tasks, remove the less important ones to another day and if you can, ask for help.


For sustained energy day to day, you want to try and avoid energy drainers. These are the things that suck the energy out of you. Two at the top of everyone’s list should be smoking and drinking. Smoking is a potent energy drainer. Tobacco’s nicotine is a potent stimulant, speeding up your heart rate, raising blood pressure, and stimulating brain-wave activity, making it harder to fall asleep. And once you do fall asleep, the addictive power can kick in and awaken you with cravings. Alcohol can often work in reverse. Alcohol (in any form) is a potent sedative. If you have it during the day, it drains your energy right when the energy should be peaking. If you have it in the evening, it powers you down and may make it harder to wake up the next morning, especially if you overdo it. In either case alcohol can mess with your wake/sleep cycle by powering you down when you should be ready to go.


Drink the good stuff and lots of it. Many of us feel fatigued and hungry mid-day or in the early afternoon. Often we’ll try to stop this feeling with a quick (usually not the healthiest) snack. It turns out that more often than not our body is actually letting us know it’s low on fluids and just wants some good clean water. So next time you get that feeling try plain, simple, calorie-free non-stimulant water. It truly does your body good.


Healthy energy isn’t a destination but more of a road to travel on. No matter how much (or little) you have, you can make small changes to improve further. Go for it and Power Up!

Joel Thuna, MH, is a master herbalist with over 30 years of experience.