How Adaptogens Have Revolutionized My Wellbeing

For most people, life can get pretty stressful. Whether you’re a mom or not, there are plenty of demands put on us on a daily basis. How we deal with the reality of stress determines how healthy we feel and thus our quality of life. When we’re able to roll with the proverbial punches and keep moving, we are in the best position to make better decisions, and create the kind of life we want. My story is not unique by any means, I definitely deal with stress (some days better than others) but over time I’ve developed some serious non-negotiable self-care habits that have served me incredibly well. One of my favorites is the incorporation of adaptogens into my daily coffee routine.

Before I delve into the benefits of adaptogens, I’ll explain what they are.

The term “adaptogen” comes from Dr. Nikolai Lazarev, a Russian scientist) who first coined in 1947, but Isreal Brekham, PhD and Dr. I. V. Darymovhe created the formal definition in 1968. The formal definitely includes the following criteria:

1. An adaptogen is nontoxic to the recipient.
2. An adaptogen produces a nonspecific response in the body—an increase in the power of resistance against multiple stressors including physical, chemical, or biological agents.
3. An adaptogen has a normalizing influence on physiology, irrespective of the direction of change from physiological norms caused by the stressor. (Source)

In other words, adaptogens must:

  1. Be safe
  2. Work by reducing your body’s stress response
  3. Support overall health by helping the body achieve balance known as homeostasis

The adaptogens I consume in my morning coffee and evening tea have prevented countless colds (reishi, chaga, pollen powder, he shou wu), given me more energy and athletic stamina during my workouts (cordyceps),  lightened sun spots (maitiake), improved my skin’s suppleness (tremella) and increased my sense of calm (reishi and ashwagandha). I began taking them in November 2017, and have not been sick once despite living in a veritable petri dish with two young children. I also travel a ton for work and life, and my immune system has held strong through long flights and late nights.

I am all for trying new things, and in the case of adaptogens, I am so glad I did. My health, both mental and physical, has benefited so much from the exploration of this ancient form of plant medicine. One remaining note, make sure that the adaptogens you buy are from reliable sources. My favorite providers are Root and Bones, Four Sigmatic, or Real Mushrooms. These companies care about the extraction process, and the quality of their products. Like anything, its helpful to do your homework before jumping in. And if you are on any kind of medication, check with your doctor to make sure there wont be any unsavory drug interactions.

At the end of the day, life is meant to be lived fully, and we do that by being in vibrant health. When you’re sick or stressed out, you know you aren’t really living. It’s taken me years to find balance, and the journey is happily ongoing, but when I find something I know in my gut works, I have to talk about it. In the case of adaptogens, there is no doubt that they help provide the building blocks for an incredibly happy, healthy, and less stressful life experience.

Trending: Dry Brushing and Why It’s Actually Amazing for You

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt heard about the importance of exfoliating your skin in the shower. After all, the loofah has become ubiquitous with every college dorm survival kit– it’s just that important! Exfoliation removes dead skin cells, boosts circulation, and just feels good. Recently though, more attention has been placed on the practice of dry brushing, and its’ benefits have been proven to greatly outweigh typical shower exfoliation.

First, what is dry brushing? Dry brushing is the practice of brushing the skin once or twice a day with a firm but soft brush in an upward motion. It’s best done first thing in the morning and before you get in the shower. Unlike regular exfoliation, dry brushing is said to be a powerful way to detox the entire body by stimulating the lymphatic system. It boosts circulation, sweeps away dead skin cells, stimulates the lymph nodes, improves digestion, improves the appearance of cellulite, and helps the cells and body in general remove waste.

Stimulating the lymphatic system is at the core of all its benefits. The lymphatic system is responsible for collecting, transporting, and eliminating cell waste. If the lymphatic system is congested, it can lead to a build-up of toxins, causing inflammation and illness. Dry brushing stimulates and strengthens the lymphatic system and therefore provides a quick and easy way to help detox the body in a powerful way everyday. As with any health regime, results are best experienced when it’s practiced consistently.

Now that you know what dry brushing is and why it’s so beneficial for your health, what’s the best way to do it?

  1. Make sure your brush is made with soft, natural bristles. A longer handle will help you reach more area, and make the process easier.
  2. Start at your feet and move the brush in quick, sharp upward movements.
  3. For your hands and arms, brush in the same way towards the heart.
  4. For your stomach move in a counter-clockwise circular motion.
  5. For your back, work from your neck down towards your feet.
  6. Brush for approximately 3-5 minutes.
  7. Remember to be gentle–it should feel pleasurable, not punishing.

Practice dry brushing everyday, and you’ll not only feel better physically, but you’ll be surprised how much this simple act of self-care has on your attitude towards yourself and others. Once you start engaging in small actions that show you care for yourself, you’ll find that you’re more optimistic about life and more loving towards others. So fill your cup first thing in the morning, and then go out and tackle the day.