Ask Steve, one of Rising Tide’s Supplement Buyers, how to minimize stress over the holidays and he’ll tell you to take two minutes to stop and BREATHE. Excellent advice, for sure, and we should all be doing a whole lot more of it. This is especially true when the pace of life picks up around the holiday season. Shopping, cleaning, cooking, parties, visiting with family–these can all amp up our stress quotient to the point where we’re fatigued, irritable and even physically ill with colds and other bugs.

In addition to remembering to breathe, there are a whole bunch of other tools to help you mitigate stress levels when things get loopy. Adaptogenic herbs should be way at the top of any stress-busting list. These botanicals (Rhodiola, Holy Basil and Ashwaganda, to name a few) improve the health of your adrenal system, the system that’s in charge of managing your body’s hormonal response to stress. They’re called adaptogens because of their unique ability to “adapt” their function according to your body’s specific needs, strengthening the body’s response to stress and enhance its ability to cope with anxiety and fight fatigue – slowly and gently. We’ve got adaptogens both in single herb varieties or as more broad-based adaptogenic formulas (our favorites are Gaia’s Adrenal Health and Stress Care by Himalaya).

Another great stress reducer is the amino acid L-theanine, a derivative of green tea (minus the caffeine). Known to increase the levels of dopamine and GABA in the brain (without any of the agitation caused by caffeine), l-theanine is safe to use for both kids and adults, and the feedback we get from customers is remarkable. Stuck on line at the mall? Pop an L-theanine with lemon balm by Life Extension and feel a wave of calm wash over you. Really!

L-theanine can also get your mind in the right place for sleep–something we can all use a bit more of if we want to keep stress at bay. One of our top-selling sleep formulas is Tranquil Sleep by Natural Factors. A combo of L-theanine and melatonin (the hormone that controls your sleep cycles), Tranquil Sleep will help you fall asleep quickly, sleep soundly through the night, and wake up feeling refreshed, without any of the potentially harmful side effects caused by pharmaceutical sleep aids.

Whenever you need a hit of peace, you can also look to Bach Flower Remedies. A safe and natural method of healing discovered by Dr. Bach in 1920s England, the flower remedies gently restore the balance between mind and body. Rescue Remedy, the most popular of the Flower Remedies, is actually a combo of five remedies, uniquely designed to help us get through stressful situations by helping us to relax, get focused and CALM DOWN!

As you can see, we are full of ideas to help you de-stress naturally this holiday season. A couple of other tips you can tackle on your own: spend some time outdoors (the sunlight is a mood elevator), say no to too many obligations (that cookie swap can happen without you this year) and don’t squeeze in more holiday than you can handle (less is more!). When you need a little crutch, your natural medicine chest will have everything you need to make this holiday season the most chill one ever.