It's no secret that many women experience heightened levels of anxiety. Juggling career, family, and personal responsibilities can take a toll on our mental and physical well-being and this was something that was exacerbated during the pandemic. The 2022 Jean Hailes National Women’s Health Survey found that half of all women said their mental and physical health had deteriorated during the preceding two years. These findings highlight the need for effective strategies to manage anxiety.
A staggering one in five said their mental health had stopped them from engaging in everyday activities, and 17% reported a pre-existing mental health condition had worsened. The survey was conducted in March-May 2022 and it had more than 14,000 respondents. Each survey has a different focus and the 2022 survey focused on the impact of the pandemic and it has provided us with an up-to-date snapshot of how Australian women are faring in a ‘COVID-19 normal’ environment.
As part of the survey respondents were asked to select from a list of areas they would most like more information on. The proportions who chose each topic are shown in the table below which is taken from the 2022 Jean Hailes National Women’s Health Survey Report.
More than a third of women wanted to know more about natural therapies and dietary supplements highlighting an increasing desire to incorporate these practices into their routines to help manage their physical and mental health.
In this article, we'll explore how adaptogenic drinks can be a part of a natural remedy to ease anxiety. Specifically, we'll focus on adaptogenic drinks for anxiety relief, providing practical tips and delicious recipes to incorporate into your daily routine.
Understanding Anxiety in Women
Anxiety, as a normal human response to stress, plays a crucial role in our survival and well-being. Feeling anxious in certain situations is a natural and adaptive response that has helped us navigate potential threats and protect ourselves. It is normal for all of us to experience occasional episodes of anxiety throughout our lives.
It is common to feel anxious before important events, such as a job interview, a performance, or a major life transition. These situations can trigger a heightened state of alertness and prepare us to perform at our best. The physical symptoms of anxiety, such as increased heart rate, restlessness, and muscle tension, are part of the body's automatic response to mobilise energy and focus our attention and help us to do the task we need to do well.
For example, imagine you are preparing to give a presentation in front of a large audience. It is natural for you to feel a surge of anxiety beforehand. This heightened state of alertness can sharpen your focus and enable you to deliver your message effectively. Once the presentation is over, the anxiety subsides, and you return to a calmer (and generally relieved!) state.
Anxiety becomes a concern when it becomes overwhelming, persistent, and interferes with daily functioning. In the case of an anxiety disorder, the intensity and duration of anxious feelings go beyond what is considered normal or adaptive. Instead of being limited to specific situations, anxiety may become a constant presence, making it challenging to perform everyday tasks and enjoy life to the fullest.
While adaptogenic drinks can help with anxiety relief, if you find that anxiety is persistently interfering with your ability to function and enjoy life, seeking professional help can provide valuable support and guidance. Mental health professionals can assess your symptoms, provide an accurate diagnosis, and develop a tailored treatment plan to help you effectively manage anxiety.
Anxiety in Perimenopause and Menopause: Navigating Hormonal Changes
Perimenopause and menopause mark significant transitional phases in a woman's life, as her body undergoes profound hormonal changes. While many women are aware of the physical symptoms that accompany these stages, such as hot flashes and irregular periods, fewer may be prepared for the potential impact on their mental and emotional well-being. Anxiety, in particular, can become more prominent during perimenopause and menopause due to the hormonal fluctuations that disrupt the delicate balance of neurotransmitters in the brain.
During perimenopause the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen and progesterone, resulting in irregular menstrual cycles and a decline in fertility. These hormonal changes can have a ripple effect on the body, affecting various systems, including the brain. Estrogen, for example, plays a vital role in modulating the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and GABA, which are involved in regulating mood, emotions, and anxiety levels.
As estrogen levels fluctuate unpredictably during perimenopause, it can lead to imbalances in these neurotransmitters, contributing to an increased vulnerability to anxiety. Women may find themselves experiencing heightened levels of worry, restlessness, and irritability that go beyond their usual emotional responses. It's important to note that not all women will experience significant anxiety during perimenopause and experiences vary widely. However, for those who do, it can be an added layer of challenge during an already transformative time.
Menopause, marked by the absence of menstrual periods for 12 consecutive months, is another stage that brings hormonal shifts. Estrogen levels remain consistently low during menopause, further impacting the delicate interplay of neurotransmitters in the brain. Some women may find that their anxiety symptoms intensify during this phase, while others may experience a reduction in anxiety due to the stabilisation of hormones. The experience of anxiety during menopause is highly individualised and can be influenced by a combination of genetic predisposition, lifestyle factors, and overall health.
It's essential for women approaching perimenopause and menopause to be aware of the potential impact on their mental health and seek support when needed.
The Power of Adaptogenic Drinks: Restoring Balance Naturally
It's important to remember that experiencing anxiety at times does not necessarily indicate an anxiety disorder or that you necessarily suffering a decline in mental health. Feeling anxious before a big exam, a challenging conversation, or a significant life event is a natural response to stress. It only becomes problematic when anxiety starts to significantly impact your quality of life, relationships, and overall well-being.
We all experience periods in our life when we have challenging situations or life events that are temporary and this is where adaptogens can really assist with providing anxiety relief.
Adaptogens are a group of herbs and plants that have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to help the body adapt to stress and restore balance. These remarkable botanicals can support our stress response system, helping us cope with anxiety more effectively. We'll now delve into the top adaptogenic herbs for anxiety relief, focusing on their calming properties and how they can restore balance naturally.
Top Adaptogenic Herbs for Anxiety Relief: Nature's Calming Allies
- Ashwagandha: This gentle adaptogen helps reduce anxiety and promotes a sense of calmness. It supports the adrenal glands, which play a vital role in managing stress hormone levels.
- Rhodiola Rosea: Known for its energizing and mood-enhancing properties, Rhodiola can help reduce the mental and physical fatigue associated with anxiety.
- Holy Basil: This sacred herb has a long history of use in Ayurvedic medicine for its calming effects on the nervous system. It can help alleviate stress and promote mental clarity.
- Schisandra Berry: This unique berry has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine for its adaptogenic and balancing properties. Schisandra berry acts as a tonic for the nervous system, helping to reduce anxiety and promote a sense of calmness. It supports the body's natural stress response, allowing you to better cope with challenging situations. Furthermore, Schisandra berry has been found to enhance mental clarity and improve focus, providing a holistic approach to managing anxiety.
- Panax Ginseng: Known as the "king of herbs," Panax ginseng is renowned for its ability to boost vitality and promote overall well-being. When it comes to anxiety relief, Panax ginseng works by modulating stress hormone levels and supporting the body's resilience to stressors. This adaptogen can help restore energy levels and reduce feelings of fatigue often associated with anxiety. Panax ginseng is also believed to improve cognitive function, memory, and concentration, which can contribute to a greater sense of calm and mental clarity.
Embracing adaptogens as part of a holistic approach to well-being can have a profound impact on your mental, emotional, and physical health.
Delicious Adaptogenic Drink Recipes: Sip Your Way to Serenity
A delicious and calming way to add adaptogens into your daily routine is through adaptogenic drinks. Adapt Drinks Relax is a sparkling adaptogenic drink that has been specifically designed to help you relax and ease the tension from your day. It includes two adaptogenic herbs - schisandra berry and panax ginseng which as noted above have been shown to provide relief from anxiety. Adapt Drinks Relax is the perfect drink to sip on as you are making dinner or when you knock off work.
If you're searching for adaptogenic drinks for anxiety relief you can make yourself, try these delightful recipes below.
Calming Ashwagandha Latte
- 1 cup almond milk (or your preferred milk)
- 1 teaspoon ashwagandha powder
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- A pinch of ground cinnamon
Heat the almond milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Add ashwagandha powder and whisk until well combined. Remove from heat, stir in honey or maple syrup, and sprinkle with ground cinnamon. Sip slowly and feel the calming effects wash over you.
Refreshing Rhodiola Lemonade
- 2 cups filtered water
- 1 tablespoon dried rhodiola rosea
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Ice cubes and lemon slices for garnish
Boil the water and steep the dried rhodiola rosea for 10 minutes. Strain the liquid into a pitcher and let it cool. Add lemon juice and sweeten with honey. Serve over ice and garnish with lemon slices. Sip this invigorating lemonade to uplift your mood.
Soothing Holy Basil Infusion
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 teaspoon dried holy basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon raw honey
- A squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Place the dried holy basil leaves in a cup and pour hot water over them. Let it steep for 5 minutes. Strain the infusion into another cup, add raw honey, and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Stir well and savor this comforting herbal tea.
Serene Reishi Hot Chocolate
- 1 cup almond milk (or your preferred milk)
- 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
- 1 teaspoon Reishi mushroom powder
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- A dash of vanilla extract
In a saucepan, warm the almond milk over medium heat. Whisk in the cacao powder and Reishi mushroom powder until smooth. Stir in maple syrup and vanilla extract. Pour into a mug and indulge in this velvety hot chocolate for a moment of pure bliss.
Seeking Professional Guidance: Your Journey to Wellness
While adaptogenic drinks and lifestyle practices can be incredibly beneficial, it's important to remember that each person's journey to wellness is unique. If you have specific concerns or medical conditions, consulting with a qualified naturopath specialising in women's health can provide personalised guidance and support. They can assess your specific needs, consider any underlying factors, and create an individualised treatment plan tailored to your well-being.
Note: This article is meant for informational purposes only and should not replace professional medical advice. If you have any specific concerns or medical conditions, please consult a healthcare professional.