Attuned Leadership for Women Podcast
Stress to Strength Series, Part 5
Top Products and Rituals for Boosting Energy, Mood, and Focus
**This episode is the 5th in the “Stress to Strength” Series!**
In a world of perpetual stress, it’s all too easy to overlook the small adjustments that can make a world of difference in your daily life. In this episode of Attuned Leadership for Women, I’m sharing products and rituals that are valuable in your stress resilience toolkit. From simplifying nutrition’s vital role in stress management to the wonders of adaptogens, and crafting daily rituals with sensory support tools, this episode is one you’ll want to bookmark for easy to implement ways to boost energy, mood, and focus so stress does not hold you back.
Quotes from the Episode:
“You may be thinking, Crystal, what is a Stress Resilience Toolkit? Let’s start by defining stress resilience. It’s the ability to bounce back from stress and maintain emotional wellbeing and mental performance. The toolkit is how I describe the tangible items and the somatic practices that you utilize that give you this multi-directional approach that boosts your stress resilience in the face of any of life’s demands. No matter where you are, you can use something from your toolkit, whether you’re alone at home or in a busy office. ” Dr. Crystal Frazee, PT
“Remember that you are the author of your relationship to stress so stay attuned, stay empowered, and stay stress-smart.” Dr. Crystal Frazee, PT
[00:01:28] Why you need a Stress Resilience toolkit
[00:05:19] Specific group of herbs called adaptogens
[00:10:27] Fatty fish and omega-3s
[00:12:04] Fruits and vegetables
[00:18:26] Adaptogens early history and use today
[00:23:43] Teecino, caffeine substitute
[00:25:04] Rasa for a bold, coffee like flavor with adaptogens
[00:30:00] Alcohol alternatives and Mocktails
[00:32:44] Rishi Functional beverages
[00:37:31] Sensory support practices
[00:41:14] Sensory tools for relaxation
[00:45:06] Body rolling tools
[00:51:00] Tracking heart rate variability
[00:54:08] How to Build Your Stress Resilience Toolkit
Other Episodes in the Stress to Strength Series
- Part 1, Episode 008, Build Capacity Management
- Part 2, Episode 009, Create Your Stress Map
- Part 3, Episode 010, Master Nervous System Regulation with Shawnee Thornton Hardy
- Part 4, Episode 011, Unfuckwithable Stress Resilience Using the Somatic Attunement Method™
- To get a guide outlining the main takeaways from each show in this series, email me with ‘GUIDE’ in the subject line at Crystal(at)CrystalFrazee.com
Mentioned In This Episode:
- Three Spirit
- Rishi Sparkling Botanicals
- Anima Mundi: Relax Tonic, Happiness Tonic, Euphoria Elixir
- Sensory Support Tools
- Nervous System Soothing card deck by Gwynn Raimondi
- Wearable Technology for measuring Heart Rate Variability & Sleep
Get updates about my upcoming book! REVIVE: The Working Woman’s Unexpected Guide to Recovering from Burnout
FREE Audio Training How to Run Your Day Without It Running You
FREE PDF Training Stress & Overwhelm Relief Game Plan
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Prefer to Read? Here’s the transcript!
*Just a heads up – the provided transcript is likely to not be 100% accurate.
In the midst of perpetual stress, it’s easy to overlook the little tweaks you can add to your day that do wonders to give your system a lift and create stress resilience. Today I’m going to share some of the products my clients and I have tried that have made a difference and I’m going to teach you how you can use them too. If you’ve been asking yourself, how can I feel less stressed and you don’t have a clear plan or time to do much, this episode is going to be your roadmap to building a Stress Resilience Toolkit that helps you feel more centered and energized.
Hello there, amazing leader! Welcome to Episode 012 of Attuned Leadership for Women. I’m so excited you’re here because this is going to be a fun addition to this series. So far I’ve shown you how to understand your body’s stress cues and how to respond to them using body-focused techniques to battle chronic stress, that ongoing everyday level of stress, and also in those moments when high stress hits.
Parts one through four of this series will no doubt change your relationship and experience of stress, but today’s show, part five, is coming from a different angle. Are you ready? Whether it’s chronic or acute stress you’re facing, usually it feels like it zaps your energy and tanks your performance. So today I’m sharing the most simple things that you can eat, drink, or do through easy rituals that can help your body combat the negative effects of stress.
So grab a pen or your notes app on your phone and jot down the ideas that sound interesting to you. Also, remember that you can get links and the transcript in the show notes on my website at crystalfrazee(dot).com/podcast. So if there’s anything I mentioned that you don’t catch, it’s right there for you.
You may be thinking, Crystal, what is a Stress Resilience Toolkit? Let’s start by defining stress resilience. It’s the ability to bounce back from stress and maintain emotional wellbeing and mental performance. The toolkit is how I describe the tangible items and the somatic practices that you utilize that give you this multi-directional approach that boosts your stress resilience in the face of any of life’s demands. No matter where you are, you can use something from your toolkit, whether you’re alone at home or in a busy office.
Now maybe you’re thinking, but Crystal, I have stress, I’m busy, I have no time to figure out what goes in this toolkit. Listen, I get it. And your brain, I know, doesn’t want one more thing to learn about. And that’s why in today’s show, I’m only sharing with you what has valid research supporting the effectiveness of it and that has worked for me and my clients.
I also want to go ahead and disclose that I don’t have any relationship with any of the companies that I’m suggesting. I don’t receive any financial benefits whatsoever. I’m not an affiliate with any of these companies. I’m purely sharing these with you so that you can easily fill your toolkit and feel the impact of turning Stress to Strength in your own life by choosing what from today’s show is most appealing and interesting to you. And that’s why I’m giving you lots of different ideas.
I’m really excited because I’ve taken all the stuff I’ve learned about how our brains handle stress and resilience over these years. And I’m hoping I can spare you the effort of having to figure it out on your own. And my training over the past 15 years has been in yoga therapy and Ayurveda, functional nutrition and integrative women’s health.
Of course, before we start, I want to make it clear that the information shared in this episode is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It’s not meant to be considered medical advice or a substitute for professional medical guidance for your specific situation. This is very general. Consult with a qualified provider in your world before making any big changes to your wellness routine, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or taking medications or if you’re pregnant. If you decide to try any of the products or techniques that I’m sharing with you, just do it responsibly with an awareness of your own health and your limitations.
Now that we have all that housekeeping out of the way, I want to give you a quick outline of what I’m going to cover. First up is nutrition. It’s a powerful tool in your toolkit because eating some nutrients fortifies your defenses from stress, meaning by eating certain things, stress impacts you less negatively. And from another perspective, the truth is that stress depletes your body of certain nutrients and you need to know what to replenish with. So I’m going to give you some of the big hitters to focus on there.
Then I want to share about a specific group of herbs called adaptogens that you can consume through delicious mocktails, tinctures, commercially prepared beverages and teas, all kinds of things. And I definitely have my favorites in this category that I’m obsessed with.
The next thing I’ll touch on is how to create daily rituals with sensory support tools. That may be something that you’ve never thought of before, but it can make a big difference in your regulation. These are simple things like eye pillows, adding aromatherapy like essential oils and different scents, adding weighted blankets. These things massively help with relaxation and turning off your thinking mind when you need to so that your nervous system gets to rest.
I’m not 100% sure yet if I’m going to share with you about how I use wearable technology to help women use data to determine if their stress management is actually working. It belongs in this episode, but I just want to feel it out and make sure that I’m not giving you too much in one show. I mean, having this kind of data as direct feedback is incredibly helpful when you’re not used to listening to your body. But I’m trying to keep these solo shows shorter. So maybe I’ll just include it and keep it brief and then I can go further on it in a future show if you’d like.
So if you combine just one thing from each of the categories that I’m going to share with you today, you’re going to have this robust and reliable Stress Resilience Toolkit. And as you know, the more stress resilient you are, the more sustainable and satisfied you feel and giving you the strategies and support to attune to yourself and be the leader you are meant to be is my purpose for the podcast.
Okay, so there’s an undeniable link between food and stress that I need you to understand. It’s not just that when you’re stressed, you may eat too much or too little or reach for the wrong foods. The food you eat directly affects how well you keep stress in check. And like I said before, there’s some foods that you can think of like defenses that bolster your stress response and others that replenish depleted nutrient stores.
The first protective food group that I’m going to share is proteins, because the hormones and neurotransmitters that make up your body’s stress response are made up from the amino acids you get from protein in food. If you’re not getting enough protein, it can impact how your brain functions and your mood.
The nutrition governing bodies say that the recommended amount for protein is 0.36 grams of protein per pound of body weight. So to put that in real terms, I weigh 135 pounds. That’s 49 grams of protein per day. That’s actually pretty easy to reach. But consider a few other factors to get an idea of how much you really need. As you age, you need more protein because your body, get this, naturally loses one to two percent of muscle mass per year after the age of 35. It’s called sarcopenia. You can look it up. But that means that even with regular daily activity, you’re losing muscle because your body is breaking it down. And if you’re over 65, then you lose three percent per year of your muscle mass, which is huge. Muscles are made of protein. And so eating enough in your diet is critical. And of course, so is lifting weights.
Basically, if you’re physically active at any age, then you need more protein because you’re replacing what gets broken down as you’re building more muscle. So if you’re moderately active and you’re middle aged, then I like to say shoot for one gram of protein per pound of body weight. So for me at 135 pounds, that actually means I need 135 grams of protein a day. And if I’m mostly trying to just eat three meals a day without a lot of snacks, that’s 45 grams of protein in each meal. And to reach that, I actually do have to be intentional. So that’s why I’m bringing this up as the first one. Most people feel like they’re getting more than enough and you may be as far as what type of protein lean proteins like chicken, turkey, eggs and tofu, as well as beans, nuts and seeds are great. There’s so many options.
Just look at every meal or snack and you should be able to identify a source of protein on your plate. And it doesn’t hurt to do a Google search so that you know how much protein is in what you’re eating. So you know, Google your meals for a few days and kind of get a rough estimate or use one of the tracking apps like my fitness pal, just to get an idea of how much protein, in general, you tend to consume.
My favorite group of proteins that I want to point out is fatty fish. That’s things like salmon, sardines, which have a totally bad rap, and tuna because they deliver a big hit of protein and the incredibly incredibly important omega-3 fatty acids. So if you don’t eat fish, you can get omegas through flaxseed and chia seeds.
Definitely follow me along Instagram because I’m going to be sharing my own favorite chia pudding recipes and some other things that you may want to try. But your body cannot produce the amount of omega-3s you need to survive. So you need to get them from foods and or add them through supplementation. They’re so important for your brain. What happens is they travel through the blood after you’ve eaten or consumed them into the brain and they help the brain cells communicate with each other. And that results in better memory and more clarity and better mood. And the reason why omega fats help your mood is because they help serotonin function better. And serotonin is this very important neurotransmitter that’s responsible for you feeling happy, for having an appetite, for being able to sleep, for having a libido, and so many more important things. And omegas are also anti-inflammatory. And when you can reduce inflammation in the brain, then you can prevent a relief depression. So omega-3s are very important to be intentional to include.
The next group that’s probably pretty obvious but that I have to mention because it’s so protective is fruits and vegetables. Because physical and emotional stress depletes your body of vitamin C. All the reserves you have get used up. And that reduces your ability to tolerate stress and makes you more vulnerable to disease and infection. And it becomes this cycle. So if you’ve ever been highly stressed out and you seem to get one cold or illness after the next and it’s really hard for you to move back into wellness, this can be a piece of that. Vitamin C is every woman leader’s best friend because it helps you recover more quickly from stress and helps to rapidly reduce cortisol levels in your body. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the way to go. It’s how you can get more vitamin C. And it has lots of other benefits for you like fiber and powerful antioxidants that are anti-aging. I mean there’s so many good things. So if you aren’t eating fresh fruits and vegetables every day, then you can always talk to your doctor about whether you should supplement vitamin C to make sure you’re getting enough.
Personally, I use a powdered vitamin C and I mix it with water in the morning during times of stress or if I’ve been around anyone with a sickness. My husband has a cold and I’ve definitely been taking it every morning. During the height of flu season I will take it every day and depending on what’s going on for me I take anywhere from 500 milligrams to 5000 milligrams. And that’s one thing I love about the powder because I just measure it and take however much I want at a given time.
The next thing I want to tell you about is magnesium. And it’s a recommended supplement. You can definitely get it through foods but it’s recommended also for most people to supplement because it gets depleted with chronic stress and then low magnesium levels actually intensify your experience of stress and that is an awful cycle to be in. Magnesium is a mineral that’s typically consumed through foods but over the years our soils have been magnesium deficient and the studies say that almost 70 percent of Americans fail to get enough magnesium. Magnesium is a natural calming agent and it’s necessary for your body to clear cortisol, your stress chemicals. It can calm your experience of stress that you’re having. It can also improve your mood and enhance sleep.
The foods you want to eat to get more magnesium are things like leafy greens like chard, black beans, avocado, almonds, flax seeds, and the queen of magnesium superfoods I like to say pumpkin seeds. They’re so good for you.
I take 400 milligrams of magnesium at night and my children take a much smaller dosage in a gummy as well and I’ve taken it for years and I swear by it I can tell when I don’t take it. Now the thing to know about magnesium is that it comes in different forms as a supplement. I typically recommend you start with a low dose of magnesium citrate and make sure your GI system tolerates it because it can cause loose bowels and take it for a month or finish the bottle and then when you’re done with that if you’ve tolerated it well especially if you’ve noticed benefits switch to magnesium glycinate which is better absorbed into the cells into your body. Again consult a provider for specifics for your situation and if they aren’t knowledgeable seek out a clinical functional nutritionist or an integrative health coach.
Okay, real quick I want to touch base on the foods that increase stress. These are low-nutrient foods like refined carbohydrates that’s you know oh my goodness just about anything that’s in a package right or that comes out of a bakery. Processed meats, caffeine, fried foods, and alcohol. Now I know you’re thinking like my husband does that I’m the ultimate party pooper with this list but really seriously those foods increase inflammation they spike your blood sugar and they elevate cortisol. If you’re doing all these other things to try to improve your stress response and then you’re eating foods that actually elevate cortisol it’s really counterproductive. So they feel good at the moment but they all the things that I listed have this unwanted domino effect that can leave you with insomnia and weight gain and low mood and lingering stress. So it’s just something for you to think about.
Let’s switch now to something a lot more fun yummy drinks that are delicious and health-enhancing. I had a client recently that said I don’t want to drink another herbal tea. Her experience was that they were all bitter bland and nowhere near the yummy things that she would be drinking in their place if she wasn’t trying to improve her stress resilience.
First I want to share about a brand called Teecino. It was created by a designer who was sensitive to caffeine and acidity and had a vision of creating a rich full-bodied bold flavored coffee alternative. So Tea-Cino is not a tea and it’s not a coffee it’s Tea-Cino. You can brew it like a coffee or you can steep it like a tea but without caffeine. I’ve tried a dozen of her blends and she has over 30 of them and honestly I drink one to two different cups you know different blends from her every single day. And it’s not only comforting and satisfying and smooth like a cup of coffee but it also notice the benefits from the added herbs that she uses.
My top favorite just the one that I think anybody would enjoy is a dark chocolate blend. It’s chicory so it has this dark roast kind of flavor with this chocolate aroma and there’s others that come from Teecino that include adaptogens.
Now before I name those specifically I want to take you a little deeper into what the term adaptogen means because it’s going to be in several of the next few products. Adaptogens are quite the buzzword right now but their use by humans has a really rich and interesting history. Adaptogens are plants that have chemical compounds that help you adapt to situations that would normally make you feel nervous or anxious or angry and they enhance your body’s performance without increasing the demand for oxygen.
The use of plant adaptogens actually goes back 3,000 BCE in China and India but the word adaptogen wasn’t coined until the 1940s and I find this little piece just so cool. Soviet scientists discovered adaptogens and coined the term in their pursuit of the perfect all-natural performance tonic for their military during the Cold War and they did thousands of studies throughout the 50s and 60s mostly on three adaptogens rhodiola, eleuthero, and Schisandra after discovering their benefits use them to enhance the resistance to illness and burnout in their military. So think of the demands of working long hours, critical decision-making in positions like being a pilot or being an on-ground troop or captain of the submarines, and the need to stimulate their internal survival mechanisms because rest and recovery were insufficient. The studies in people and animals have shown that the adaptogens decreased their hunger and thirst, decreased their exhaustion and even improved night vision just to name a few of the things that they found.
Then throughout the the 1980s they were further used across the world’s military incorporated into space programs and into athletics including athletic training for physical and mental performance. Adaptogens are unique because they can create calm by regulating the body’s stress response while at the same time giving stimulation in times of fatigue without making anybody feel amped up. They’re also non-habit forming and reportedly have rare side effects. In these post-covid fall months that we’re headed into with kids going back to school and colds already on the rise having something that helps boost endurance and immunity is something I think that we can all use.
Okay now let’s get back to those adaptogenic products that I specifically love as much as Thor loves his trusty hammer. We were talking about Teecino founded by Carolyn and her fabulous blends. If you want to try their adaptogenic blends then I have a few specifically to share. I rotate them depending on what I’m working on and what I’m aiming to use them to help me to do. In the mornings I usually have the Reishi Eleuthoro. Reishi is a mushroom, Eleuthoro is the adaptogen and this Teecino has this dark roasted, earthy flavor. It infuses Reishi to give you the energy and boost your immune system with Eleuthoro which gives you this mental focus. Now drinks with mushrooms do have a specific earthy flavor so I particularly really like it but you may want to see what you think of it.
Then in the afternoon if I’m tired and I’m craving a square of my dark chocolate then I’ll have the Maca chocolate blend. Maca is a powdered root. In women, it improves energy and mood as well as reduces symptoms of menopause and PMS. So I specifically take it for the energy boost and feel like it gives me some stamina. I’ve learned that even though there’s nothing wrong with eating chocolate that for me if I have it at all after 12 o’clock in the afternoon that I will have insomnia. So this blend helps me satisfy that craving without sabotaging my sleep.
And if in the afternoon I’m trying to kind of unwind versus power through then I’ll have the Teecino Lion’s Mane Rhodiola blend. I find it really soothing. It has a slight flowery aroma of rose. Lion’s Mane is the rock star of mushrooms. It’s a nerve and brain protector and helps combat against fatigue. And it’s in this blend with rhodiola which is a mood enhancer that just creates a feeling of balance. Now the way you could use a product like Teecino is try to reduce some of your caffeine intake. So if it’s something that you can’t move away from you’re going to have caffeine every morning no matter what then try to supplement the rest of your intake rest of your day with something else that you find delicious and that can boost your health at the same time. You can try the mushroom and the non-mushroom blends to find out which ones are your favorite because they’re all very different.
Now I want to tell you about a brand called Rasa. It’s another herbal product that is probably more robust for you dedicated coffee drinkers. It’s another women-owned business founded by Lopa. I suggest starting if you’re interested in checking this out with her nine-sample pack. Then you get to try every one of her blends and see which ones you love. Rasa is affordably priced and each sample has four servings of each blend so you get to try it more than once.
My husband, who is the most dedicated coffee connoisseur I’ve ever met, and I both have different blends that we like. He likes the slightly caffeinated Rasa Dirty so it has 35 milligrams of caffeine in it but that’s still less than a cup of coffee and he also likes the non-caffeinated Rasa Bold blend and he likes those because they actually do taste like coffee and he is like yeah this could totally be a coffee substitute if you were trying to reduce your intake. I like the Spicy Rose Cacao and the Super Happy Sunshine blend. Now that last one has mood boosting and energy stabilizing herbs.
Rasa has a clinical herbalist that creates all the blends with the adaptogens including some of the adaptogens I’ve already mentioned and a lot of others. And the cool thing about Rasa is that they’re all in this powder form and you can scoop and mix them together. So I’ve had a lot of fun experimenting with that.
Another note about adaptogens is that you kind of want to take them on a daily basis but it doesn’t have to be through one specific product. It’s similar to thinking about taking one of your supplements. Let’s say probiotics. So if you take a probiotic it supports your immune system when you’re taking it but as soon as you stop taking it then the benefits gone right. Same thing is true with your adaptogens. So it’s okay to get them from different sources and to have them every day.
Now one thing that you don’t know about me is that my husband Steve is a craft cocktail expert. He can tell you everything about the history of cocktails and spirits and let me fill you in on a little secret. It all started with the invention of ice in the late 1800s and since I’m from the deep south I love a good whiskey drink like the Sazerac or the richer more complex version of the classic Manhattan, the Vieux Carre. And Steve loves making them for me but in my quest to stabilize my energy I realized just how destabilizing alcohol was for my brain and then I really went in studying this and it’s not good for your brain either.
I mean studies show that no amount of alcohol is okay for us. The whole “some wine is good for antioxidants” is not true. Alcohol is a neurotoxin and when we’re trying to build stress resilience you really want to be mindful about what substances you’re putting in your body that are going to impact your brain.
Personally, every time I have a drink I feel mildly increased anxiety and decreased mental clarity. Not to mention that if I’ve ever drank more than one drink then I will be awake bet you a dollar from 1 to 4 a.m. Some point in there I will be awake with insomnia and not be able to go back to sleep. So over the past year I’ve been sober curious and wanting to find things that give me that feeling of alcohol without sabotaging my health.
So there’s a couple of product lines that I’m going to share with you that you can play with if you’re sober curious too. Since we’ve been talking about adaptogens to this point I’m going to start with Three Spirit. They say on their website they’ve created elixirs designed by plant scientists and bartenders to make moods and enhance connections throughout the day and into the night. Wasn’t that written by a good copywriter?
Steve and I have tried their collection of three bottles and we’ve enjoyed them. I think people drink to either get a pick-me-up or to feel more relaxed and these blends can do that. It’s definitely not alcohol. It’s definitely not exactly the same but it does give some similar effects. So the first is the Livener. It’s energizing and euphoric with this taste of watermelon and ginger and you could just drink it right over ice or mix it as a cocktail. Then they have one called the Social Elixir and it has lion’s mane mushroom and Damiana which is an aphrodisiac that creates this just mildly floaty feel in your body and cacao and herbamante which is really good for energy levels. So you know when you’re at a party you just want to let go, you just want to feel a little boost of your energy, you want to feel you know relaxed, not inhibited. That’s what they’re going for with the social elixir and they’re doing it with adaptogens. Steve and I have used it to make a modified dark and stormy which is two ounces of the social elixir in a glass topped with ice and then some ginger ale and you could make something like a summer sangria in a glass by adding lemon juice, simple syrup, strawberries, cucumber and orange pieces just kind of mixing it all together. That’s really nice. The other one from Three Spirit is called Nightcap and it has this woody spice to it with a hint of maple syrup and it’s a blend of adaptogens to help you relax and unwind.
Nightcap does have six grams of sugar per serving so I wouldn’t drink it right before bed but it’s nice to have in a glass as an after dinner sipper before I start the process of getting my daughters ready for bed or if I’m going to be reading for a while and I just like it over the rocks or I just add a few dashes of bitters for an old-fashioned type drink topped with a luxardo cherry. So three spirits is nice for when you want to create an altered state feeling, you want to enjoy something that’s really yummy but you don’t want the negative effects of alcohol.
I’ve shared some of my favorite cocktails with you already but my husband’s favorite is the Negroni which is a gin drink and you can mix the Seed Lip alcohol alternative product with any of their three profiles with tonic water and garnish with your favorite herbs and get that same sort of gin and tonic or you know Negroni type feel. We’ve tried the Seed Lip garden which is one of their three different products with just olive brine as a martini. We’ve had their grove product with fresh lime and simple syrup for a margarita type drink and it’s been fun to play with that. Seed Lip doesn’t have any adaptogens in it and the ingredients don’t have any euphoric effects like three spirits but sometimes you just want to make a drink that tastes like the drink that you’re craving and this can do that.
Another product similar to Seed Lip that’s on the market is called Ritual. It’s kind of expensive and when we started playing with that to make like a gin and tonic my husband just realized, “you know why don’t I just drink tonic water and lime juice over ice” and he started realizing that he actually didn’t even need the spirit alternative that he was enjoying just having the flavor of the bubbly water and the fresh lime juice and that that was satisfying.
So to summarize when you’re working to build your stress resilience alcohol has several drawbacks. It causes disruption of sleep and dehydration, mood swings and it’s a depressant. It interferes with your nutrient absorption and even though it definitely creates relaxation temporarily it increases your anxiety in the long run because of its influence on brain chemistry. It contributes to your inflammation and undermines all of your other attempts at stress management. So I encourage you to mix some of these things in or do like I have and experiment with being sober-curious. It doesn’t mean that I don’t ever have alcohol or I won’t have alcohol. It just means I’m really discerning about when I drink and how much I drink and it’s really challenged me in positive ways to learn how to relax how to put myself out there you know and to be confident without relying on alcohol to do that for me.
And something else I’ve been doing a lot over the past two years is drinking what are called functional beverages. These are drinks really similar to canned sparkling water like Pellegrino or La Croix but they go beyond just the basic hydration and provide additional health benefits from ingredients like adaptogens, vitamins, minerals, herbs and other kinds of compounds. But these drinks are designed to improve how you function hence the name functional beverages such as like stress relief, energy enhancement, immune support along with tasting great and being hydrating. They’re fun.
I’ve really enjoyed experimenting with these types of products. They’re refreshing and I have found that they boost my mood just by pouring it into one of my fancy glasses to drink it over ice and I’ve also enjoyed using functional beverages to make mocktails. But here is the thing – What I like about the products I’ve suggested so far is that they require you to first check in with yourself and ask the critical questions because this podcast is called Attuned Leadership. It’s all about tuning in right. It’s about you asking yourself, “What am I feeling?” “What’s happening inside of me right now?” “What do I notice?”
For example, Rishi is a line of functional beverages that I enjoy. They have a variety of flavors with different purposes. And before I grab one out of the fridge, I have to check in with myself and identify what I’m feeling so I can choose best which product will help me move towards homeostasis. If I’m amped up for example, then I’ll grab this Shisandra Berry flavor. Shisandra is a berry that grows like grapes on a vine and has this really unique flavor. It’s a balance of sweet and salty and sour and bitter. It’s kind of pungent like a cranberry. And then it’s mixed with this wild rose and citrus in the product. It’s an adaptogen and it’s taken usually on its own for detoxification and as a mood booster. This functional beverage is this beautiful, light pink color. It has this slightly sweet aroma and it’s sparkling and so I like to drink it in a champagne flute or in a martini glass.
For a sparkling wine like experience. I go for Rishi’s Elderberry Maqui blend, it’s a beautifully dark red colored and bold flavored drink. It’s made with elderberries and maqui berries, both of which are really dark, but it’s combined with red wine grape skins, and raspberries and hibiscus. And those ingredients combined become a powerful detoxifier and also give you a good immune boost. A yummy drink that I like to make is a Blackberry spritzer and I just muddle a blackberry into the bottom of a tall glass. Top it with ice and fill the glass with the Elderberry Maqui drink and then stir and I’ve had it just like that or with a fresh thyme sprig, garnishing it or even muddled in with a Blackberry and that’s really nice.
Another one of Rishi’s drinks I really enjoy is the Grapefruit Quince. It’s bitter in like the perfect way if you’d like bitterness. One of my favorite alcoholic cocktails is the Americano which is made with Campari and Sweet Vermouth. So for a mocktail, I’ll squeeze a quarter of a fresh blood orange into a cocktail glass with ice and then top it with the Grapefruit Quince beverage from Rishi, stir, and then garnish with some thin slices of blood orange inside the drink and it’s perfectly refreshing on a hot day.
With all the Reishi drinks they have no added sugar and around like 10 calories per can and they will have this excellent flavor profile without being sweet because I am not a sweet girl. They have eight flavors. So if that sounds interesting, then definitely check it out. And for me I just enjoy having one at the end of the day. I like to have one of these drinks or you know on a Friday afternoon that’s when I get out my champagne flute and it just feels celebratory of the week and it’s a nice way to create a new ritual to unwind that doesn’t have alcohol.
Next I want to introduce you to a company called Anima Mundi. It’s an online apothecary and founded by another really incredible woman, Adriana, who’s an herbalist. You can call this company and get a free consultation with an herbalist to choose which of their products are best for you and that is hugely valuable. Definitely take advantage of that.
Adriana’s products are lab tested so we know they’re pure and they are what they say they are which is really important with supplements and products like this. I only buy things that are third party tested. What I want to share from Anima Mundi are the tinctures there’s three that really belong in today’s show but I use many of her products and I also have her book about adaptogens and I use it to make my own blends.
The first one that I want you to think about trying is called the Happiness Tonic. It’s a liquid herbal blend that you drop on your tongue with a dropper and it helps stabilize mood and hormones. And creates a soothing effect for the nervous system. It’s got in it Rhodiola and another adaptogen you’ve probably heard of called ashwagandha and a bunch of other herbs that relieves stress. And what’s fun is that you can drop it into your beautiful mocktails for an added effect. It can really be added to anything. It doesn’t taste overly herbaceous. It’s actually slightly sweet.
Another tincture they have that I was really curious to try as the Euphoria Elixir. The bottle says joy, ecstasy and bliss. Now who doesn’t want that bottled up? It’s said to boost mood and libido to increase the sense of connection with self and elicit joy. That Euphoria Elixir is an aphrodisiac, but you don’t have to think of it as a sexual aphrodisiac. Think of it as something that you would add to your daily ritual to feel more enlivened more connected it contains an herb called Damiana and I’ve used Damiana personally to make tinctures over the years. It’s something that just creates the slightly floaty feeling without really creating a fully altered state. If it’s been a long day and I want to unwind this is a great addition to any of the other drinks that I’ve mentioned. You can mix it with water and just drink it or put it in food or even just put some in a smoothie.
The last one that is great for helping move from stress to strength is called the Relaxed Tonic is made of a class of herbs called nervines and those specifically have been shown to help with repair of the nervous system. That’s herbs like passionflower, lemon balm, chamomile and ashwagandha and it’s in a dropper bottle so you can literally carry this in your purse and use it whenever you want. It’s also great to use right before you go to bed so that you get better sleep. And if you’re interested in learning more about these types of products or integrating specifically these herbal products into your rituals Adriana’s email newsletter is really valuable. It’s something I look forward to reading when it comes in my email box which is not something I say for many emails. I’ll have the links for both of these products so you could easily take a look right in the show notes. So make sure you bookmark the page on my website for this episode so you can come back to it. I think that most of the products I’ve listed off so far on your first order on their website they give you a discount so check that out as well.
I hope you’re enjoying hearing all these ideas I really had fun playing with this show for you it was great to revisit everything I’ve been exploring the key is that I want you to realize that the more you make lifestyle choices that make nervous system regulation, instead of dysregulation, a part of your everyday life that you won’t feel like you need to do anything to experience more calm a better mood or to have more energy and focus. When you create little rituals, like I have with my tea or these products, as a time to reconnect with yourself it signals to your brain that you’re safe and calm and in control and the rituals you create can bring you joy and add to everything else you’ve learned already in this series.
Okay we’re gonna keep moving on while everything that I’ve shared so far may involve you buying products the next section is different and I’m gonna share some sensory support practices that belong in your Stress Resilience Toolkit there’s nothing I’m gonna say that you haven’t heard before so this is an opportunity for you to just ask yourself if you’re implementing these things because knowing and doing are two very different things, right? Let’s start with sensory support when you’re feeling stressed and anxious this is when you want to do something that feels calming for your stress system and you want to move those stress chemicals out of your body. Remember from Episode 011 how you need to meet your nervous system where it’s at? I won’t go into that detail because I’ve already done that so if you haven’t listened definitely go back it’s a really deep dive, but basically if you’re feeling high stress notice where in your body you feel that and then ask yourself what can you do to move that energy through you.
Most likely you’re going to need to do something with a high intensity to meet high energy. That’s where most people get it wrong just wrong, wrong, wrong, when you have high stress you’re not going to lie on the floor and try to still your mind, you know? That makes you just want to crawl out of your skin because your body is literally in survival mode in that moment so instead from a sensory perspective take a ball and throw it against the wall. Throw it against the wall it bounces off and catch it and then keep doing that or in our house we use balloons where I will hit it hard over and over for a solid minute and then I’ll start just bopping it up into the air and trying to keep hitting it so it doesn’t hit the ground and then as my energy starts to come down in my body and I don’t feel so intense inside then I’ll actually lay down and bounce the ball trying to keep it from hitting the ground using my feet and legs.
Another high energy idea is to do jumping jacks or squats for 10 second intervals as your energy drops then you just keep meeting it at its new level use your breath make sounds do whatever you need and from a sensory point of view. It’s about touching your body where you feel the sensations of stress and meeting it with a matching intensity. So press, tap, rub it, or sweep your hands along your body until that sensation changes. Also use sensory stimulation like a fidget toy or a stress ball – something that you can really squeeze really hard with your hands or stand on it and push down or put between your knees and pull together you can alternate between the focus on a fidget toy or one of these high intensity sensory activities followed by gentle slow breathing and just a lot of internal awareness. You will notice that you can move from high intensity effort to rest, high intensity effort to rest, and slowly by going back and forth you’ll find that you can stay in that calm state for longer than you could have at the beginning. That’s how you regulate your system. You taper it down. You don’t go from 100 miles an hour to zero. You slowly tap the brakes by doing these different activities and as your body is starting to regulate, that’s a great time to really bring in sensory tools.
I think everyone should at least have an eye mask or an eye pillow. In Episode 010, Shawnee Thorton Hardy shared how she uses a weighted eye pillow and gave many other really awesome ideas for what she does – so check that out if you haven’t tuned in to episode 010!
If you’re in your office and you don’t want to put something on your head like an eye mask because someone can see you then you can just cup your palms over your eyes for a moment of darkness. If you have a weighted eye pillow and you don’t want to put it on your head because that brings attention to yourself drape it over your thighs or put your hands in your lap and place the weighted eye pillow over your palms. You just need some sensory input!
You can also experiment with essential oils in a diffuser and that can stimulate your sense of smell and your brain for either more relaxation or more mental clarity or shift in your mood, depending on what oil you use. What I do is I keep a few options on my desk. I always have at least two; I have one that’s energizing and one that’s good for grounding. You can also just put a drop of essential oil on a tissue and inhale it for a moment and you get the benefit if you really don’t want to diffuse it into an entire room because you’re in a workspace.
Something that you may not ever have thought about is how you can use your own body weight to create regulation. In standing, if you are feeling really high energy and really activated and stressed then stand up and feel your feet on the ground and just notice where your body is in space. Literally, just notice where you are relative to the room that you’re in. It can be very grounding feel the outline of your feet on the ground. For more sensory input lower into a squat and just hold it. As you start to feel your muscles work you’re going to help move that cortisol through your body.
For even more sensory input go into a hands and knees position and just rock side to side and for even more input into your body then lay all the way flat on your stomach, if the energy level has come down to allow you to do that. When you’re laying on your stomach on the ground and you’re breathing you get so much sensation because with every breath you’re literally pushing your chest and your abdomen into the ground through your ribs. For me, when I do that to keep my neck comfortable I fold my forearms one over the other and prop my forehead on top of it. Then I just focus on feeling pressure of my body on the ground. It can be great when you feel like your head’s going to explode and you have so much energy in the upper part of your body and you just need to ground somewhere else in your body. From here you could roll over from laying on your stomach to your back or get in your favorite chair or in your bed with a weighted blanket just to give you some gentle pressure that helps you really feel here and now. It can help you feel focused and stabilized to have that kind of input into your body.
Sometimes I don’t like a weighted blanket on my whole body because it makes me feel kind of claustrophobic in that case I’ll fold it and just drape it over my thighs or over my pelvis or over my low back. If I’m in sitting that’s really easy to do. I just lay it over my legs.
The last tools from this sensory category that I’m going to mention are body rolling tools. That’s things like foam rollers and balls or a muscle roller stick that you use to add compression to your body. It doesn’t have to be heavy pressure. Even really gentle pressure is input to your body that can break the stress cycle and help you regulate. Again these things just help you feel connected to your body and to the present moment. They’re also a great distraction from whatever’s causing your stress. By using the body rolling tools you can also release endorphins which are your feel-good chemicals that can boost your mood.
In my room I have a basket with my sensory support tools that my oldest daughter and I both use. It has a short foam roller that I roll my body on and a muscle roller stick. I’ll link that in the show notes. It’s small and portable and very easy to use. I have squeeze balls that you squeeze with your hands and body rolling balls like the Yoga Tune-Up balls. I have brushes for skin brushing and that really helps when I have a lot of energy in one part of my body. I’ll sweep it with a with a dry skin brush and that just helps dissipate that feeling. I have big fidget toys like a pop-it and I always have balloons on hand that can be blown up and bounced. In my basket I also have a heating pad because turning on some heat and putting it on my body is like instant support for relaxation for me. Then nearby is the weighted blanket and a yoga mat.
On my desk I have a smaller basket with some additional items like the weighted eye pillow. I have some gemstone rocks that are pretty small but they’re heavy so if I just hold one in my hand then it’s kind of grounding. I have a picture of myself when I was little riding a horse and that brings me joy. When I’m stressed I like to see that.
I have a deck of Nervous System Soothing cards from Gwynn Raimondi that are just awesomely made. I will link that as well. She’s a psychotherapist specializing in nervous system repair. When you have high stress sometimes you don’t know what to do so you can just shuffle the deck pull out a card do the activity that usually just takes a few seconds and it can help you move forward.
Okay I am going to take a second and mention the wearable technology because it’s such an easy tool to start to use to help you know if these other things you’re doing are actually making a difference or not. When I say wearable tech i’m talking about things like the Garmin products and the Oura Ring. They all track heart rate variability. The Whoop is another line and to some extent Apple watch does but it’s my least favorite product for this. So heart rate variability is basically the variation between consecutive heartbeats and although you would think that you do want it to be consecutive actually the more irregular the higher your heart rate variability the better! It suggests you have a regulated system. We want a high heart rate variability. A low heart rate variability signals stress and poor stress resilience. So having wearable tech can give you data that is a stress indicator of how well your body is responding to stress. It’s physiologic! It measures things like your heart rate your breathing rate and it’s calculating the activity that you’re doing and what the load is to your system.
With this data in hand then you could recognize stress patterns for example there was a point when I was working basically two full-time jobs and raising two toddlers and everyone kept saying you’re doing too much, you’re doing too much. But I could look at my garmin and I could see that when I was working my stress was low it was almost non-existent. Working is when I actually got recovery. It was in my home life that was really stressful in dealing with children and running a household and that that is where I needed to add support. It’s been really helpful for my clients to adapt their lifestyle because they don’t really know what too much is, right? They are doing what they’ve always done they’re doing a thousand things, going at 100 miles an hour. Where do you need to pull back? You can’t pull back everywhere and if you’re going to do you know one of the sensory support activities that I’ve suggested do you need to do it for one minute or 30 minutes? Well your wearable tech can tell you because you just need to do it enough to make a physiologic difference and improve your stress response. It can give you very black and white information so my favorites for that are the garmin products. I personally wear the garmin vivosmart 4. It’s great for women. I have a very small wrist. It’s low profile. It connects with an app and I mostly interact with the app. The Oura ring is another product. Both do a great job of tracking sleep cycles and giving you lots of other information but just by tracking your heart rate variability is amazing. I hope you check that out to help you learn stress resilience.
Let me know if you want more guidance in what you’re looking for and specifically how you raise your heart rate variability score. One thing i forgot to mention about the garmin products that’s why I love them so much is that it takes all the data into a formula and calculates a body battery. Just like you buy a new AA battery it’s at 100% charge and as you use it it slowly loses its charge. That’s basically what happens for you every day and when you’re trying to learn stress resilience it helps you realize that you can’t empty your battery all the way to zero charge. Every day you actually need to leave it at 40% charge so that the next day when you wake up you have charge because it takes a long time to replenish.
Has your iPhone ever run out of battery or your computer died and you plugged it in? It does not start right away! It takes time for it to reboot and our body is the same way. That’s why the body battery score is priceless.
Okay now remember the key with this episode today and all the things i’ve shared in this series is that I want you to curate your own Stress Resilience Toolkit that aligns with your preferences and your needs so not every practice or product is going to resonate. Just explore and experiment and find what works for you from today.
Here’s what I want you to do start!
Nutrition – Choose one way from the show that you’ve learned that you can use better nutrition to support your stress resilience. Does it feel supportive for you right now to focus on what you should add in? Or do you feel like you need to focus on one thing you could take out to allow your system’s natural processes to function in your favor?
Adaptogens – Then ask if you’re curious to try any of the herbal adaptogens I’ve mentioned today or any of the other supplements, teas, or the beverages. What’s one that piqued your interest the most in this category?
Now to remind you I shared about Teecino, Rasa, Three Spirit, Seed Lip, Ritual, Anima Mundi, and Rishi.
Sensory Support Tools – Then decide which one idea from the sensory supports that you can incorporate into your day, whether it’s at work or whether it’s at home. We talked about doing dry skin brushing to help you shift out of feeling high stress or using a tool like the body roller or just trying something simple like diffusing essential oils or inhaling with a tissue that’s on your desk or using an eye mask or pillow. The idea there is that you can only focus on one thing at a time and if you’re focusing on a sensory input you cannot be submerged in the experience of stress. Start with one idea and then when it feels right to you then try another one and you’re going to learn what your body likes and so it’s great that you have options because you can start to build things in your toolkit that suit every mood.
Wearable Tech – Do you think adding wearable device to track your sleep patterns and HRV will help you understand where you need to focus your stress resilience efforts? Do you need support understanding which practices are actually moving the needle?
Today’s show is all about simple and fun ways that you can experiment with supporting your stress resilience by creating rituals and practices that help you shift from Stress to Strength. By building up a diverse stress resilience toolkit over time you’re going to guarantee that you have a variety of great ways to get stress relief whenever you need it and that you’re going to be resilient to whatever comes your way. Try the tips out that you’ve decided are important for you from today and let me know which ones you like the most.
I am going to be putting together a guide from the Stress to Strength series because it’s so full of so many incredible takeaways. If you want to access that email me at crystal(at)crystalfrazee.com and put GUIDE in the subject line. You don’t have to say anything else! I’ll add you to the list and get it to you as soon as it gets ready.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this episode. Please share it with a friend and if you haven’t yet go to Apple podcasts and write a review – just one or two sentences about what you think stands out the most about this show, Attuned Leadership for Women, will mean so much for me and will help other women discover it as well.
Until next time remember that you are the author of your relationship to stress – stay attuned, stay empowered, and stay stress-smart.