Less Stress 101: 5 Daily Habits for Busy Lives By Jentri Jollimore, Guest Blogger on behalf of Badger Balm, October 11, 2016

Lake Champlain sights and sounds

Spoiler alert: there’s no single silver-bullet to manage your stress. Because there’s probably not one single thing that’s stressing you out. That’s normal – you’re busy, and busyness and stress often go hand-in-hand.

And that’s ok. In fact, some stress is actually good for you.  

But most of us (me included) could do with less stress. And that’s when stress management techniques become helpful.

Here are five simple ideas to try when the going gets tough.

  1. Deep breathing

Stress response can include difficulty breathing. When we take shallow, rapid breaths, it signals to our brain that things are not ok.

One simple technique is to concentrate on breathing deeply. You can try roll breathing for daily maintenance, and 4-4-4 breathing throughout the day as-needed. Simply inhale slowly for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and exhale slowly for 4 seconds.

Seems easy right? That’s because it is! But don’t let the simplicity fool you: this exercise can have a profound effect on stress by quieting your mind and slowing your heartbeat.

  1. Move

Sometimes the best response to stress is to think about something else until you are in a place to calmly (and productively) address whatever is stressing you out. But that can be difficult in the moment. A trick that works for me is to move my body.

Go for a short walk. Do some stretches. Do a handstand (safely). Jump […]

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Medicinal Mushrooms by Aisling Badger, September 22, 2016

Reishi Mushroom

Fungi are fascinating. The more I get to know them, the more there is to know. They pop up anywhere they want and truly have a life of their own–one which we are only beginning to fully understand. Think about the mycelium–the tiny, intricate threads that weave together to form a reproductive network. Mycelium are fine white threads that behave in ways similar to the neurons of our brain, allowing the mushroom to grow into a living, web-like system that adapts to its environment. The spore of the mushroom is like the seed. It drops from a mature mushroom, then germinates, then meets another compatible spore where the mycelium originates from, and a new mushroom then forms, develops, and drops its spores to complete the cycle. The mycelium is responsible for absorbing nutrients from the surrounding area which aid in the breakdown of material–which some studies have shown includes the breakdown of toxic material such as pesticides. Not only do they play a major role in our health but there may be the potential for environmental use as well. Paul Stamets, the Mushroom guru, describes mycelium as the “the neurological network of nature” that behaves like an “emotional membrane.”   

While I am certainly not a mycologist (someone who studies mushrooms), I know the mushroom world is rich, just like the plant world. There are thousands of species. Many offer food or medicine, and some are highly toxic. It is endless and somewhat mind-blowing. Today, scientists are still uncovering the long history of using medicinal mushrooms in our medicine cabinets. There is a good deal of research on their […]

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Adrenal Balance Guido MasÉ, July 7, 2016

Our two adrenal glands are located on top of each kidney. From this perch, they not only have access to a rich blood supply, but are also close to the site of fluid and mineral balance in the body. This makes sense given their role: they participate in the stress response, of course, but are also involved in energy, libido, lean muscle growth, immune response, blood pressure, blood sugar, and water balance. So you can see how the hormones secreted by our adrenal glands have far-ranging effects: from the short-acting jolt of adrenaline to the longer-term influence of cortisol, which modulates metabolism in the liver, reduces our sensitivity to insulin, and suppresses inflammation (and immunity). We think of the adrenal glands as producing stress hormones, and this is true – but while we can perceive the effects of acute stress (heart racing, clammy hands, perhaps some anxiety), it is the more subtle ongoing hormonal activity of the adrenals that ends up having more profound effects on energy, metabolism, sleep, and mood. Unfortunately, this is hard to see until it’s gone: when our adrenal function begins to drop off, we notice fatigue, lack of motivation, metabolic slowdown, sleep disruptions, and more pain.

Running Shoes

It is this last piece that usually serves as a good indicator that our adrenal function is sub-optimal: if we recover more slowly from vigorous exercise, feeling more fatigue – and crucially, more pain – after a big hike, or an extra-long jog, it can often mean that our reserve of adrenal hormones is flagging. This ability to recover and feel ready again is a key piece of the adrenal response, and, as it turns out, to healthy sleep patterns, too. […]

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Simmer Down vs. Joy Tonic by Rachael Keener, May 24th, 2016

Joy Tonic vs. Simmer Down

The Mood and Stress Support You Need

When it comes to mood support, herbs are a reliable place to turn. From aromatic nervines to adaptogens to nervous system restoratives, herbal extracts have an impressive track record in both traditional use and modern scientific studies for supporting mental and emotional well-being. While the nature of our moods and how we feel in everyday ups and downs varies, the nature of herbs available for mood support varies as well. To this end, we have more than one formula here at Urban Moonshine for helping maintain good mental and emotional health–so that you can find the right herbal match at the right time. Joy Tonic was our original mood support formula, followed by our newly released Simmer Down Tonic. If you’d like to know more about the difference between the two, read on!

 

Urban Moonshine Organic Simmer Down Tonic for Nervous System Support

Simmer Down Tonic s a dynamic formula made of some of the world’s most trusted herbs. What sets it apart from Joy Tonic is that it contains herbs that support adrenal as well as nervous system health. Our adrenals are what regulate our response to stress–and in today’s world most of us could use a little added support in this area. The adrenal herbs (also known as adaptogens) in this formula include ashwagandha and tulsi–both world-renowned and longtime favorites of herbalists. These adaptogens are all about protecting your body from the long term effects of stress and supporting healthy stress management.

Simmer Down Tonic also includes two […]

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