My wedding is in a week. Translation = I'm stressed.
What Even is Stress Though?
Stress can manifest in SO many different ways for different people. For me, stress today is very different from stress a few years ago, or a few months ago, or this morning for that matter. As our lives change, what stresses us out also changes. It's interesting to reflect back on this past year of being engaged. Before I got engaged, I was stressed about when it was going to happen (our proposal story can be found here). After getting engaged (literally like the weekend after), I was stressed about finding the perfect venue and making sure they had availability in the following summer. Next was dress stress. Luckily, my V indecisive self fell in love with the 3rd dress I tried on so that stress didn't last too long. For the rest of the year until about a month ago, I stressed about getting everything else in order (ya know, the never ending and forever growing to-do list: save the dates, invites, guest list, bridal party, DJ vs. band, hotels, shoes, wedding bands...I could fill up the rest of this page with our to-do list). Now, about a week out, to my surprise I actually feel less stressed than I've been the last few weeks. I think it's because everything is done for the most part, other than (all of) the little things. I can't say that I won't become a cray cray bridezilla next week...but we shall see. I've done a lot of investigating of my stress over the past years and have realized that a major root cause stems from time management. While I always manage to get everything done, the thought of "not having enough time" to do everything on my list really gets to me. This effect me in all aspects of my life from something as simple as not having enough time to do my laundry and clean the apartment, to something more moderate such as not having enough time to answer all of my client emails and deadlines by the end of the work day, to something more extreme such as wedding planning.
OK so enough with the negatives about me and all of my stress. I'm sure you have enough of your own and don't need to hear about mine :) Moving on to the positives and what I'm doing to help cope with it...
Once you can clearly identify the triggers of your stress, such as time management for me, it's much easier to catch them before they catch you. Additionally, there are ways we can supplement our body to help it's response to stress and to help the way we "adapt" to stress...
HELLO ADAPTOGENS :) I LOVE YOU. BUT WHAT ARE YOU?
To put it very simply, adaptogens are herbs that improve and support your adrenal and immune systems by helping you better "adapt" to stress. People are much more stressed out today than they were back in the day when we didn't have iPhones, Pads and computers all of which are always-on and expect responses immediately. Life is different with all of this technology and the increase in stress is leading to so many other problems if not taken care of, such as adrenal fatigue, anxiety, depression, hormone imbalances, and weakened immune systems.
The world of adaptogens can be very overwhelming and confusing because there are many different kinds, with very weird names, and that all have different benefits. To make it even more confusing, they are often referred to by different names (adaptogens, superherbs, medicinal mushrooms etc.). Superherbs are just a trendy name for "herbs" with super benefits (such as adaptogens) and medicinal mushrooms are a type of adaptogen (cordyceps is made from a fungi). Adaptogens have different reactions for different people as they "adapt" to the specific needs of your body, so my main piece of advice is to have a general understanding of what each one is used for, choose the ones that make the most sense for your personal needs, and to most importantly, listen to your body and the way it reacts.
HOW I USE THEM
My introduction to adaptogens was through the company Root & Bones. I tried all four of their adaptogens - Reishi, Chaga, Cordyceps and He Shou Wu...and while I love and still use all of them, I specifically fell in love with Reishi and Cordyceps so those have become my go-tos. Reishi zens me out so I use it in my afternoon tea when I need to get through the end of the day and relax at work. Cordyceps are taken for their ability to replenish my energy/focus and stamina after a good workout. Cordyceps also aren't as new and trendy as they seem...they were used in 1993 when the Chinese national running team set 9 new world records and after testing negative for steroids, theyir coach revealed that they were supplementing with Cordyceps to boost stamina. My last favorite is Moondeli's Ashwagandha Ginger blend, which I started using in smoothies or teas to help balance my hormones. I also recently started adding their Cacao Chaga Cordyceps blend to my Greek Yogurt in the morning with flax and bee pollen as a fiber (flax) + allergy fighting (bee pollen) + antioxidant (chaga) loaded breakfast. To conclude, I like adding the Root & Bones adaptogens to my matchas and teas because they are pure and the Moondeli adaptogens to smoothies or foods because they are blends. I've also done some experimenting with cooking with them in raw treats and lentils.
It's definitely confusing when you're told that the benefits of adaptogens (along with anything else that's trending in the wellness world) are pretty much everything. Literally, I've read that all of these are benefits of adaptogens: kills anti-tumor cells, anti-cancerous, helps fatigue, anxiety, depression, inflammation, strengthens hair, skin and nails, benefits immune, cardiovascular, reproductive and nervous systems, detoxes the liver, regulates mood, helps allergies and imbalanced hormones...the list goes on. At the end of the day, I don't directly feel or know that taking my adaptogens is killing tumor cells in my body...but the most common benefit that I do keep seeing pop up is the help with stress. Am I now all of a sudden not stressed because I take them? No. I'm still stressed but I'm less stressed and feel like ever since I started taking adaptogens consistently, my overall stress is more manageable and that this along with everything else I do to round out my wellness picture (working out, eating healthy, meditating, self-care, listening to my body, etc.) has contributed to me feeling generally well.
HOW TO TAKE THEM
If you're not feeling your optimal self and your dealing with fatigue, low libido, weakened immune system, elimination problems, hormone imbalances, I would recommend to try supplementing and see how you react. Adaptogens can take a few months to start working so you need to take them consistently and can't expect to see results over night. If you're taking them every day, take 1 day off every week, one week off every 6 weeks and one month off every 6 months. The breaks are supposed to help them have a greater effect on your system. I typically take 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of 1-3 different adaptogens a day (example day: matcha with cordyceps + greek yogurt with chaga cordyceps blend for breakfast and reishi tea in the afternoon). I also take CBD oil for stress and the calming effect (more on that here).
If you're ready to get your adapting on, you can use the below codes for 15% off :)
Root & Bones code: lexsentials
Moondeli code: lexmoon15