Headache? Nausea? Back pain? These natural remedies can help when stress hits you where it hurts.
When super stressed I end up with a stomachache. Some people get headaches when things are tense, others get tight muscles or back spasms, I get nausea. And what might be butterflies under a minor case of nerves turns into a riot of rambunctious pterodactyls when things reach a high pitch. So I headed for some ginger tea and figured that others might be similarly feeling the effects of stress in their body. So with that in mind, here are some natural quick fixes that may at least soothe some physical discomforts.
- Chamomile tea may sound cliché for calming, but it really does help and studies have shown that it can help to reduce pain as well.
- Studies show that lavender essential oil helps reduce headaches; one study found that inhaling it for 15 minutes helped reduces a headache significantly.
- Headache-relieving stretches are recommended by health.com:
1. Neck range of motion (chin forward, upward, and toward each shoulder).
2. Shoulder shrugs (shrug up, up and forward, and up and back).
3. Neck isometrics (press palm into forehead and hold; press hand on each side of the head).
Hold the stretches for five seconds, relax for five seconds, and repeat each stretch three to five times.
- Applying ice to the temples can also help.
Stomach upsetIn 5 natural fixes for a stomachache we sing the praises of cayenne, chamomile, ginger, peppermint, and fennel to help placate a grumpy gut. (For more information on how to use each remedy, see the whole story here.) For my morning ginger tea I simmered about six thin slices of fresh ginger root in two cups of water for around 10 minutes; added some honey and commenced soothing.
Tension in the neck
- If your neck is aching, you've probably already tried stretching. It's the natural reaction, and the stretches described under headache help (above) are also good for the neck.
- Try heat; a warm compress or a hot shower can do wonders.
- If you have arnica, use it! It's my (scientifically-proven) go-to homeopathic cream for aches and stiffness. As described by the University of Maryland Medical Center:
Arnica (Arnica montana) has been used for medicinal purposes since the 1500s and is still popular today. Applied to the skin as a cream, ointment, liniment, salve, or tincture, arnica has been used to soothe muscle aches, reduce inflammation, and heal wounds. It is commonly used for injuries, such as sprains and bruises.
FatigueStress eating is a bad idea, but snacking on healthy fatigue-fighting foods to help combat lethargy is a good plan. In 8 foods to fight fatigue, Katherine recommends: Edamame, melon, fish, nuts, quinoa, dark chocolate, eggs, and pumpkin seeds.
Sleep woesFatigue's comrade in arms, insomnia. Ugh. I've been fighting the midnight "crazy brain" for as long as I can remember and have found several things that help. I love this five-step plan (which you can read more about here):
- 10 hours before bed: No more caffeine
- 3 hours before bed: No more food or alcohol
- 2 hours before bed: No more work
- 1 hour before bed: No more screen time
- No hitting the snooze button in the morning
Meanwhile, if you're going to stress eat, you could always multitask by eating one of these 7 foods to help you sleep better.
Back painBackaches vex the best of us, stress can amplify it immensely. These 5 simple exercises to alleviate back pain are as good for chronic sufferers as they are for those of us with intermittent stress-related complaints.
Of course the best way to alleviate discomfort from stress is to ease the anxiety in the first place. Next up: 8 natural remedies for anxiety.