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top 5 tips and herbs to energise

Have you ever wondered how chronic stress can affect your overall health and well-being? Grace Hawkins, a qualified Naturopath and Nutritionist, has been studying the holistic influence of stress on the body for years.

Grace Hawkins

Naturopath and Nutritionist, Health with Grace

Recognizing the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit, Health with Grace personalizes each client's healing journey, using individualized testing to understand their unique needs and address a diverse range of health concerns.

Let's dive into the science behind the detrimental effects of chronic stress on our bodies.

What is Sympathetic Dominance?

According to Grace Hawkins' clinical observations, it has been found that when the body is in a state of Sympathetic Dominance or ‘fight or flight’ for extended periods of time, the level of chronic or long term stress can have detrimental effects on the body. 

Chronic stress can lead to sleeplessness, anxiety, irritability, digestive issues, poor immunity, mood disorders, and disease states.

Maintaining a healthy stress response and being able to quickly return to parasympathetic ‘rest and digest’ mode is necessary for overall health, good quality sleep, well-being, longevity, vitality, and to feel energized with consistent and quality energy levels.

Here are the top 5 tips and herbs to help you on your journey to better health:

Small changes in lifestyle can have a big impact on overall health and wellbeing. 

  1. One of the quickest ways to signal to your body that it is in a safe environment is through intentional breathing practices. Focusing on diaphragmatic breathing, for example, can support a shift towards parasympathetic dominance, promoting relaxation and reducing stress levels.
  2. Nourish your body with whole, preferably organic or spray-free, foods to maximize nutrient absorption and replenish essential nutrients depleted by stress. Start your day with a protein-rich, balanced meal like a smoothie packed with fiber, healthy fats, greens, and suitable fruits. Leftover dinners, reheated eggs on toast with avocado and steamed greens, or your favorite cooked vegetables are all great options. This approach helps maintain healthy blood sugar levels and provides sustained energy throughout the day.
  3. While regular exercise is crucial for overall health, listen to your body and avoid overexertion during periods of depletion. Opt for gentler activities like nature walks, yoga, dancing, tai chi, or swimming, as these can effectively support your body's natural de-stressing mechanisms.
  4. Sharing your burdens with trusted friends, family, or professionals can lighten your load, just like the old saying "a problem shared is a problem halved." This open communication can offer fresh perspectives on stress responses and help you feel less overwhelmed.
  5. Regular meditation or quiet contemplation can help you observe and detach from negative thought patterns, contributing to stress. Remember, your thoughts don't define you. These practices can also create inner space and relaxation, promoting better sleep. However, for a restful night, establish a consistent sleep schedule with healthy habits like avoiding screens for at least an hour before bed and moderating caffeine and alcohol intake, especially if you struggle with sleep.

Grace Hawkins also highlighted some of her favourite adaptogenic herbs that can support the nervous system and promote healthy energy levels.


Siberian or Korean ginseng

Schisandra, Rhodiola

Holy basil, 


and medicinal mushrooms such as Cordyceps.

She reminds us that while these herbs may offer potential benefits, consult your healthcare provider before taking any due to potential interactions with medications and opt for high-quality, practitioner-recommended options for optimal safety and effectiveness.

Essential oils can also be powerful adaptogens, supporting our bodies resilience to stress, supporting the nervous system and promoting healthy energy levels. My favourites at the moment are: 

Lavender: Lavender oil is widely researched for its calming and sedative properties. Studies suggest it can significantly reduce anxiety levels, improve sleep quality, and possibly modulate the stress response by affecting the nervous system. Its adaptogenic qualities help in balancing the body's response to stress and promoting relaxation.

Rosemary: Known for its cognitive-enhancing effects, Rosemary essential oil has been found to improve alertness, memory, and focus. It can also help in reducing stress and anxiety, supporting the body's adaptation to stress and enhancing overall energy levels.

Frankincense: Frankincense oil is revered for its ability to provide psychological and spiritual upliftment. Research indicates it can lower symptoms of anxiety and depression. Its adaptogenic effects are attributed to its potential in inducing tranquility and mental clarity, supporting the nervous system.

Peppermint: Peppermint oil is celebrated for its invigorating and energizing effects. Studies show it can enhance mental alertness and physical energy, making it a useful adaptogen for combating fatigue and boosting energy levels.

Cinnamon: Cinnamon oil has been studied for its potential to regulate blood sugar levels and improve metabolic health. Its adaptogenic properties may include supporting the body's response to physical and metabolic stress, thus providing a supportive role in maintaining energy and vitality.

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