January is one of the darkest times in Vermont. We are mid-winter, leaving the land gray, often icy and barren, reminding us that we are far from spring.
It’s the perfect time to focus on our dreams and rebuild our vital energy through sleep. Dreaming is often overlooked as a powerful way to answer questions, gain insight or process feelings.
Herbs can be an excellent ally to support dream potential as many of them allow us to get in touch with our imagination and intuition. Most of our favorite dream herbs soothe occasional anxiety and tension, allowing us to enter a deeply relaxed state.
One of the most compelling aspects of dreaming is that we can tap into our subconscious.
A few herbs to support dreaming potential:
Mugwort is a plant that herbalists have turned to for centuries as a tool for magic and dream work in many different countries. Known to support our ability to tap into the fantasy world, both in sleep and in shamanic trance work, mugwort was called upon in ancient times to help a person to visualize life dreams and desires. It is also a symbol of protection and is burned as an incense or smudge stick in ceremonies.
As an aromatic plant, it supports a healthy nervous system gently soothing tension and stress.
Passionflower supports the nervous system in unwinding when you are feeling wound up from occasional anxiety. Being in a state of relaxation, allows for the dream work […]
We live in a world where we are always connected and stimulated. Whether it’s the nature of our work, busy social lives, expectations or following our dreams, we are continually excited by the world around us. The average person spends 75% of their day on screens, and people today are more connected to one another than ever before. Social networking and the rise of technology give us the opportunity to stay fully engaged at all times. But people are also more lonely, distant and unhealthy every year. And unfortunately, it has become common to forgo our need for self-care and rest.
The body craves solitude and downtime. And sleep is essential. It is when we do our best work at keeping ourselves healthy. Sleep is often disregarded as a tool for well-being and its priority on our lists can get lower when something seemingly more important comes along. We know we need it, but are often not getting enough. Sleep allows us to be still and gives our body a chance to rebuild itself physically. It makes us more capable of being happy and healthy, and supports a better emotional connection to the world.
Now that fall is here and we are readying ourselves for winter and slowing down, it’s a good time to look at our sleep patterns and see how they can be improved.
Why Sleep Is So Important:
- Healthy Brain Function
Our brains needs a reset– the studies out there […]
Kava, Passionflower, California Poppy, Hops
Sleep latency: This term refers to the delay between getting into bed and actually falling asleep. The most common way to address this is with sedatives: from prescriptions such as valium or narcotics, to supplements like GABA that “turn off” brain function or address neurotransmitters like serotonin, even to classics like alcohol. The problem with relying only on sedatives is that they inevitably wear off (some sooner than others), and can often lead to dependence. And while they work on the mind, they often neglect relaxing the body. We use a little hops, but it has the smallest share of the formula, just to help support normal sleep latency without sedating or leaving you feeling groggy.
Sleep maintenance: Often, falling asleep isn’t the problem. Sleep can also be disrupted by waking up way too early – difficulty with sleep maintenance. We all can experience this occasionally: them mind goes around in circles, and restlessness follows – sometimes at 1am, 2am, 3am. Very few conventional sleep aids help with this; the strategy instead is just to use a long-acting sedative that knocks you out for eight hours. Other options, especially if the body’s sun-based sleep-wake rhythm is disturbed (like in jetlag, or for night-shift workers), include remedies like melatonin: this hormone can help reset our body clock and improve sleep maintenance if we’re out of sync with the sun. But there are also excellent herbs that help maintain normal, deep sleep throughout the night: California poppy is one of the best, which […]
After the long Northeast winter and this year’s chilly and hesitant spring, the arrival of the bright, expansive energy of early summer feels like a golden nectar. Schedules soften, we feel a sun-warmed sense of ease, and the season’s fruits and flowers invite us to pause and savor. By summer’s end, we glow with the vibrant energy of the season, and we feel ready to take on whatever lies ahead.
In my work, I am often asked for my thoughts on the most important part of a healthy skincare routine. We all want to know what we can do to look and feel our best, but people are often surprised to hear that one of the very best ways to support healthy skin is get to get plenty of rest and to reduce and mitigate our exposure to stress. As our largest organ, and the gateway between our inner and outer worlds, the skin sends us important messages about finding balance in our overall health. Good rest gives our bodies, skin and spirit a chance to recover from the day, and we both look and feel our best when we give ourselves plenty of restorative downtime and make choices that help us get enough good quality sleep. In the midst of our busy days, time for rest and rejuvenation can so easily be overlooked in favor of seemingly more pressing projects and deadlines, but we can use the feeling of spaciousness that summer offers to help us make room in our lives for self-care rituals and healthy habits that we can carry with us through the rest of the year.
Here are a few of my favorite tips for glowing brightly in the midst of this season and beyond: