Bust Holiday Stress

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By Ali Wetherbee

The holidays can be fun and magical and ever-so-memorable — but this busy time of year can also really stress your mind and body. From holiday shopping to fighting traffic, from being cooped up indoors with germs to being cooped up with the in-laws, there are countless hits to our time, our finances, our health, our peace and sanity. We don’t eat as well and don’t have time to exercise. All of this leaves us especially vulnerable to all those colds and flus going around. So before you wind up in bed with a box of tissues and a hot water bottle, try these ideas. 

In Your Medicine Cabinet:

Instead of toxic, chemical-laden medicines, stock your medicine cabinet with organic vitamins and herbs and homeopathic formulas. Take these daily, but especially when you are under unusual stress or already sick.

Start with Vitamin C

Whole Food Vitamin C belongs in every family’s medicine cabinet. Take it daily to keep your immune system functioning optimally, and begin taking it more frequently or in higher doses as soon as you feel something coming on. Vitamin C, when taken daily, can shorten the duration of the common cold. Taking one or two extra doses when symptoms first appear can thwart a cold before it really gets started! It also prevents and reverses free radical damage caused by oxidative stress, UV rays, and environmental toxins. Vitamin C is necessary for serotonin production, so this is a must-have for anyone suffering from depression or seasonal affective disorder.

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Adapt Better to Stress

Take adaptogens during intense periods of stress. Adaptogenic herbs help you adapt to physical and mental stress and keep the body in balance. They may be particularly useful if you are experiencing anxiety, fatigue, or depression as a result of stress or tension. Stress increases cortisol levels, which may lead to chronic inflammatory conditions, weight gain, fatigue, thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, and illness. Adaptogens such as rhodiola and cordyceps lower high cortisol levels, minimizing the harmful effects of stress on the body.

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Get a Good Night’s Rest

Stress can disrupt your sleep/wake cycles, making it hard to fall asleep and sleep through the night. This leaves you even more prone to feeling stressed, and you wind up stuck in a vicious cycle. These all-natural formulas can ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep, whether you are up late wrapping gifts or at your company Christmas party past bedtime. Healthy sleep is critical to a healthy immune system, and those who get poor-quality or insufficient sleep are more likely to succomb to colds, flu, and viruses.

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Support Your Immune System with Antioxidnts

Take supplements loaded with antioxidants to keep your immune system in tip top shape. This is an excellent way to boost your body’s resistance to illness during this stressful time of year. Inadequate sleep, poor diet, stress, lack of exercise, increased exposure to germs, aging, and chronic health conditions can all leave you much more susceptible to illness, but these supplements strengthen the immune system, naturally.

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Treat Your Cold Naturally

If illness hits despite your best efforts, you will be glad to have a medicine cabinet stocked with healing herbs, vitamins, and supplements! Keep these items on hand for when you start to feel stuffy or achy. Sovereign Silver is a colloidal silver supplement that my family goes to whenever any of us has a cold. It can be taken every 2 hours or so to help kick the cold out before it gets a firm hold. Calm Balm is an all-natural alternative to petroleum-based chest rubs, and is great for colds, aches, and pains. Wedderspoon Manuka Honey Nuggets help soothe sore throats with organic antibacterial ingredients.

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‘Tis the Season to Stay Healthy!

Keeping healthy and fighting stress is not just a physical process. Every choice we make and each action we take can leave us more stressed or more relaxed, sicker or healthier. Try these tips to stay on track toward a healthier holiday season:

Learn to Say No

You do not need to attend every party or gathering you are invited to! Pick your favorites and skip the rest. The same goes for gift swaps among friends or at the office. Feel free to opt out of those that bring you more stress than pleasure.

Designate one day a week as a “day off” and avoid errands, shopping, planning, ordering, and organizing for the entire day. Instead, read a book, watch a movie, go for a walk, or do something else relaxing. If an entire day seems unrealistic, aim for at least one stress-free evening a week. 

Focus on the Important Things in Life

Spend time with your family. Your kids or grandkids won’t remember every present under the tree or how perfectly the gifts were wrapped, but they will remember the days spent baking cookies, playing games, building snowmen, and cuddling by the fire. Take time out each day to do something that builds memories.

Be grateful. At the end of the day, instead of thinking about all the things you didn’t get done, spend some time thinking about all the things you are thankful for. Keep a Gratitude Jar with scraps of paper for family members to write down each happy moment or blessing, and read through the papers every night at dinner. Bake cookies for someone who has helped you out sometime this year. Bring gifts or food to those who are less fortunate.

Get Plenty of Fresh Air and Exercise

Go for a jog before work or take an evening walk with the family to see neighborhood light displays. Enjoy winter sports such as sledding, skiing, snowboarding, and ice skating. Build a snow fort with the kids or have an improptu dance party. It’s fine to do your workout indoors if the cold is too harsh for you, but also bundle up in a blanket and sit on your front stoop for a few minutes with a hot cup of tea and breathe in the fresh air.

Nourish Your Soul

Engage in soul-friendly practices. While you’re sitting at a red light or stuck in traffic, take some deep breaths and relax your shoulders. When someone cuts you in line at the store or pushes you aside to grab the very last can of cranberry sauce, take some time to think loving, forgiving thoughts about this rude person. Be present and live in the moment instead of spending the entire holiday season tallying your mental lists. Practice yoga, mindfulness, or meditation. All of these things will reduce your stress load and leave you stronger, healthier, and happier.

The Natural Remedies Your Natural First Aid Kit Is Missing

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By Ali Wetherbee

So you have the basics — some bandages, gauze, tape, scissors, and a thermometer — but what are some natural remedies you can include in your natural first aid kit or medicine cabinet? What can you use to replace chemical-laden over-the-counter medicines and ointments from the drugstore? Below we have some of the best natural, herbal, and homeopathic remedies to help you build a natural first aid kit to be prepared for common injuries and ailments. Keep a small kit of essentials in your car, bag, or backpack to naturally treat minor injuries on the go. At home, consider creating a “healing basket” full of your favorite natural remedies, herbs, salves, teas, tinctures, and hot/cold packs or hot water bottles, so you’ll have everything on hand when anyone in your family becomes ill or injured.

Sovereign Silver First Aid Gel: A Natural Antibiotic

Sovereign_Silver_First_Aid_SpraySovereign Silver is the top-selling colloidal silver nationwide. Silver is a natural antibiotic, making this homeopathic First Aid Gel the perfect substitute for OTC antibiotic ointment, burn cream, and calamine lotion in your natural first aid kit. Use it on cuts, scrapes, burns (including sunburns), bruises, rashes, acne, and bug bites and stings, to prevent infection, soothe pain, and reduce swelling, redness, and inflammation. While you’re at it, grab a bottle of Sovereign Silver Fine Mist Spray, too, and keep it in your natural first aid kit for internal use in treating bacterial, viral, and parasitic infections.

Blue Ice Calm Balm: Natural Remedy for Muscle & Joint Pain, Colds & Congestion

Blue_Ice_Calm_BalmPetroleum-based vapor rub does not belong in a natural first aid kit. Toss the vapor rub and replace it with this all-natural Calm Balm from Green Pasture. Rub it into the chest to ease stuffiness and chest colds, or use it on sore muscles and joints for relief of aches and pains. Blue Ice Calm Balm is made from nutrient-rich oils (high vitamin butter oil, coconut oil, fermented cod liver oil) and menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus oils. Plus, you’ll get a dose of vitamins A, D, and K right through your skin!

Bentonite Clay: Draws Out Toxins

Bentonite_Liquid_ClayBentonite Clay is an excellent product to have on hand in your natural first aid kit because it can treat a variety of ailments. If you’re suffering from nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or food poisoning, take some bentonite clay to speed recovery. Bentonite clay is able to bind to or absorb toxins and bacteria so that your body can eliminate them quickly. Bentonite clay can also be used for heartburn, acid reflux, bloating, and indigestion, as it has an alkalizing effect, reducing acidity in the body. Use bentonite clay externally on burns, cuts, stings, and bites (including bites from bugs, spiders, and snakes) to help draw out toxins. This is also a soothing, natural anti-itch relief for those with rashes, chicken pox, poison ivy, or skin conditions like psoriasis, eczema, and acne.

Natural Calm: Natural Relief for Constipation

Natural_Calm_PacksMagnesium is a gentle, natural laxative, and  Natural Calm will fit neatly into your natural first aid kit. Natural Calm magnesium is better absorbed than milk of magnesia, and much safer than OTC habit-forming laxatives. No one enjoys being all stopped up, so this is definitely one you’ll want to add to your natural first aid kit! Start with a small dose and work your way up until things are moving along well again. As a bonus, magnesium can also reduce stress, tension, and anxiety, helping you relax and sleep better, and it can ease muscle pain and stiffness.

Wedderspoon Manuka Honey: Natural Remedy for Infections

Wedderspoon_Manuka_HoneyHoney in your natural first aid kit? Yes! Wedderspoon Manuka Honey Active 16+ is a highly bioactive manuka honey with antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Manuka honey has even been found to kill antibiotic-resistant bacterial superbug strains like MRSA. Use it either internally or externally to eliminate infections naturally. Take a spoonful up to three times a day for digestive issues and infections. Externally, you can apply a layer of manuka honey to wounds or skin infections or rashes to speed healing, prevent infection, and reduce scarring.

Walkabout Emu Oil: Soothes Muscle and Joint Pain

walkabout-australian-emu-oil-topicalYou may also want to add a bottle of Walkabout Emu Oil to your natural first aid kit. Walkabout Emu Oil is available in a topical formula, perfect for rubbing into sore muscles and joints. Whether you have a recent injury, shin splints, or growing pains, this oil (which, yes, is indeed from emus!) reduces inflammation and soreness. What’s more, emu oil can also be used for sore gums, bruises, cuts and scrapes, burns, and bites, as it is also antibacterial, reducing pain, swelling, and scarring.