Herbal Remedies for Holiday Stress Relief - Botanica

Herbal Remedies for Holiday Stress Relief

Lisa Kilgour, Nutritionist

‘Tis the season of glittery lights, sweet music, and warm memories. It’s a wonderful time of the year…if you have the energy to enjoy it. And for many of you, your energy bank might be feeling pretty empty right now.

This has been a hard year. I’m not saying that to bum you out, but I think it’s important to acknowledge the reality. We’re coming up to our 2-year anniversary of this pandemic and we’re collectively TIRED. It’s not a normal end-of-the-year tired, this is a burnt out, down-to-the-bone kind of tired.

December comes with its own challenges as well. It’s the end of the year rush for many projects at work and carving out some space in an already tight budget for holiday celebrations can add to the stress. Plus, those early symptoms of mood changes tend to show up as we head toward those long, dark nights of late December.

I never want to miss out on all of those golden memories, but I don’t want to drain my energy further, which is why at this time of the year I pull out all of the stops to support my body and energy throughout this month.

Here my favourite holiday stress solutions:

1- Get some sunlight

Your body is craving sunlight! During these dark days of early winter, your body needs sunlight as much as it does in the summer. Get outside at least once a day and if you’re struggling with sleep, try to get outside for a few minutes at sunrise and sunset. This helps your body reset its circadian rhythm [1].

If your mood and energy really plummet in the winter and you deal with a lot of symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), check out our Top 5 Supplements For SAD here.

2-Early to bed

Your body needs more sleep over the winter and ignoring that urge can be an added stress on your body. Back before the lightbulb was invented, people often went to sleep just a few hours after dark in the winter. They’d sleep for 4 – 5 hours, wake around midnight, and then get a few more hours of sleep before sunrise [2]. This was so normal at the time that neighbours would have late-night visits in between their sleep sessions.

Spending almost twelve hours in bed isn’t possible for most of us today, but your body might need more sleep than you did in the summertime. Head to bed with a good book an hour earlier than usual and see if you start to feel sleepy. And/or, sleep in on weekends to catch up.

3-Grab some calming Ashwagandha

I’ve been using ashwagandha for years to help my body handle stress. It’s a potent adaptogen and helps my body adapt to life stressors. Latin name for ashwagandha is “Withania somnifera”, and somnifera translates to “sleep-inducing” and lately, I’ve been also using it to help me sleep.

4-Add the mushroom powerhouse, Reishi

Known as “the mushroom of immortality”, it’s a staple in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Reishi supports the whole body and research is finding that it can balance the specific immune cells that are connected to auto-immune conditions[3].

But, it helps more than just the immune system. Reishi can also help to calm anxiety, reduce depression, and help the body adapt to day-to-day stressors[4]. This is why reishi mushroom is something I grab every day.

I always have a bottle of Perfect Protein Elevated Adrenal Support on hand to throw in a smoothie or shake up as a mid-afternoon snack. My body, especially my adrenals, love the extra boost of reishi mushroom (1500mg) along with a full 2000mg dose of ashwaghanda and some naturally-sourced Vitamin C in acerola cherry. It makes for a great afternoon pick-me-up.


You’re definitely not alone if you’re feeling extra tired for this holiday season. Sometimes, small things make a world of difference. One delicious meal, created because it’s something that you enjoy, is wildly healing. And, it sends a signal to your body that you’re important. Maybe this December, ‘tis the time for good food, extra sleep, and a hot mug of Reishi Hot Chocolate.


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/longhourstraining/light.html

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-16964783

[3] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1160565/

[4] https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24369991/

Lisa Kilgour, R.H.N.

About the Author

Lisa Kilgour, Nutritionist

Lisa Kilgour, Nutritionist

Lisa is on a mission to teach people how to heal themselves, to restore balance to body and well-being through whole food. A specialist in...

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