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  • Writer's pictureThe Natural Life Shop

Spring is Springing - a newsletter

A foreword from our owner Angie

As I'm sure you all know, our shop fundamentally has always been two things:

  • Ethical through and through

  • Not for profit (it's honestly a miracle we've been here 25 years already!)

This was always how we wanted to be right from the word go. We wanted to make sure that the things we valued, the very best quality food and supplements, were attainable to our customers for an affordable sum.

You can probably imagine, over the past two years we have been squeezed horribly by lockdowns, furlough, self-isolation (several times!) and we've watched little, independent shops, as well as bigger chains, crash around us. We are hanging on, just about still here, due to the unwavering support of our wonderful customers.

As we head for even harder times to come, with the costs of fuel, importing in an unsettled global climate and seemingly everything else rising, we are already seeing the impact on every invoice from every one of our suppliers. We ask one thing, please don't head online or turn to mail order if you would like there to be a high street to come back to in better times. We won't survive the interim and the postage and packing fees will soon negate the apparent savings you hoped to make in most cases. Even the supermarkets will invariably end up having to raise booking prices for deliveries to support the cost of running their fleets.

Our team is second to none, I think our staff are fantastic. There is no added charge for the most informed and educated advice there is out there, and each customer is treated with respect and sensitivity. We're truly passionate about our customers' health and wellbeing and we hope you're just as passionate about keeping us here in the village.

Following loosely on from that, we'd love to talk to you about stress. We have so many people coming through our door each day with such a wide range of ailments. We are noticing that more and more often these ailments are either rooted in, exacerbated by or triggered by stress. Yet oddly sometimes when we ask how their stress levels are we're told 'Oh I'm not stressed, I'm fine.' Now, it's not so much that we don't think you know your own minds, of course you do. However, the past few years have spun us all for a loop and have caused physiological stresses to even the most resilient of us.

Being unable to read facial expressions under a mask creates a level of psychosocial stress, as does not being able to see family and friends when you please. A lack of social and physical contact also has this impact. Just slight negative feedback on the nervous system, but feedback nonetheless, on a near-constant drip-feed. Feedback, which has been ongoing for nearly two full years.

Coupled with changes to work habits and environment, curtailment of/or dramatic changes to our leisure activities (which for many people led to losing their main method of stress relief) and in many cases, isolation, it added up to a stressful state in which many people found themselves forcibly counting their blessings and almost trying to deny that the bad part(s) of their situation had any influence on them at all.

Now we're at a very different point. After two years of being told to stay indoors and stay safe, it feels to many that there is a mad rush to get back to 'normal'. Though after so long 'out of the game' as it were, many of us feel overwhelmed by the thought of going back to the office, participating in leisure activities, going to events and venues and in more general terms, interacting with more than just the neighbour in passing and family on the telephone or zoom. Again, all this, even if you're not actively thinking about it, is there in some form in your consciousness. It's a lot to process! Throw in growing costs of living, a humanitarian crisis in Europe, rapidly escalating fuel costs, the creep towards school exam season and it's a wonder we feel sane and capable most days.

Ongoing stress can have a huge impact on our bodies and our mental health. From increasing blood pressure to increasing the risk of obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, it can also impact your sleep, mood, mental clarity, ability to find the right words when you need to, memory etc. All without acknowledging that you may be 'stressed'.

For the days we're feeling a little more fragile than usual there are many supplements that can help to support you through the more difficult times. Some of our favourites weapons in our arsenal are:

  • Higher Nature Balance for Nerves - a fantastic complex with b vitamins and magnesium to support your nervous system alongside some great herbs to support anxiety and overwhelm. It has l-theanine and taurine, both amino acids, l-theanine is especially good at supporting anxiety in the way it increases dopamine and serotonin in the brain and also stimulates alpha waves which induce relaxation. Passionflower and lemon balm are both herbs with a very long history of use in supporting stress. Passionflower is particularly useful for those who chase thoughts around in their head and can't easily switch off, it increases our production of GABA, which is a calming neurotransmitter. Lemon balm is a fantastic anxiolytic, it also increases our production of GABA.

  • Higher Nature L-Theanine - we also have l-theanine on its own for those who are already taking other supplements or are children. This product is safe from the age of 8 and is wonderfully useful for children who develop anxiety regarding school or socialising. The capsules are tiny and they can be opened into a drink for anyone who finds it difficult to swallow supplements.

  • Viridian Lemon Balm & Theanine - a lovely combination of these two. As well as being useful in its own right for stress and anxiety, this product is also great for those who are anxious about sleep. For example, sleep has become difficult, they wake frequently or struggle to drift off and have become nervous or frustrated that they won't get enough sleep each night. Lemon balm is also known for its ability to induce sleep via relaxation and improve the quality and depth of sleep throughout the night.

  • A Vogel Passiflora Complex, Passiflora Tablets, Passiflora Oral Spray - there are several passionflower products in A Vogels' range and we love all of them. Their original Passiflora Complex is formulated with passionflower and Avena sativa (oat) which is also known for its calming effect due to the increase it has on dopamine production and relaxing alpha brain wave stimulation. The others in the range are also combined with zinc and magnesium which are both known to support the nervous system.

  • Magnesium - this definitely needs a section to itself. Magnesium has long been known as 'Mother Nature's relaxant' and it's so true. Magnesium is an essential mineral for our everyday function and it's integral in our nervous system function. Magnesium is basically for everyone at the moment, it is a nutrient that many people struggle to absorb enough of and we use it rapidly in stressful times. It quietens and calm our nervous system, eases tension, can be used for muscle cramps and restless legs, digestive health and to support liver detoxification. We have many different types of magnesium, all specialised in a way, including topical kinds. Come and talk to us about what will suit you best.

  • CBD - we've all heard of it by now. One of the best food supplements out there - come and try some samples of ours to see if it's a good fit for you.

  • Findhorn Rebalance - this flower essence is so good for taking the edge off a bad day. It soothes panic, relaxes anxiety and basically throws a warm blanket around your shoulder in times of stress whilst handing you a cup of strong, sweet tea.

  • Australian Bush Flower Remedies Calm & Clear or Emergency - these are both similar to our Findhorn Rebalance. They are superb at giving you some gentle support in troubled times. Suitable for children too so great to have for the whole family to benefit.

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