“Whether you love or dread the holidays, we all have higher stress levels during this time of year.  Nature has some amazing offerings to bring our bodies back into balance no matter the time of year.”

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – Or Not

Some of us love the holidays.  Some of us dread the holidays.  No matter which camp you fall into, we all have higher stress levels during the holidays.  Family gatherings, work parties, end-of-year deadlines, school finals, and more all converge at this time of the year leading to higher demands on us and higher stress.

Nature has some amazing offerings to help bring our bodies back into balance no matter the time of year.

If you are experiencing stress, this article is designed to offer some help.  However, let me say if you need more help REACH OUT.  If you need my support from a naturopathic doctor’s point of view, I am here.  If you are feeling the need for someone to talk to, reach out to a trained therapist, psychologist, counselor, or psychiatrist.  It is especially important to reach out if you or someone you know may be contemplating harming themselves.  One place to call is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.






If you’ve followed or worked with me before, you know I like to start with the basics when possible. Food is a wonderful place to begin to look at improving your wellness and your stress level.  The nourishment we give our bodies helps to make them stronger and support holistic wellbeing naturally!

The foods listed here all help the body combat stress.  Include a variety for best results and please always choose organic if you are able.


  • Leafy Greens (especially dandelion green)
  • Salmon
  • Turkey
  • Sprouted, organic, raw nuts & seeds (especially walnut)
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Wheatgrass
  • Apple
  • Cranberry
  • Pineapple





Sometimes, we can feel cooped up during winter.  The days are shorter which means many of us may not have lots of daylight hours.  However, it is important to try to get outside during daylight hours–even if only on the weekend or your days off! Go for a walk, sit on the porch and watch the activity of daily life, play at the park with the kids, whatever it is, it is important to be outside for some time during daylight hours to help the pineal gland regulate.

Just as important to help keep your sleep/wake cycles regular is to sleep in total darkness. Again, the pineal gland needs the cycles of light and dark to properly regulate itself.

If you are experiencing depression, you may want to consider seeing me or another naturopath.  Did you know parasites can cause emotional symptoms like depression?  It is true.  If you haven’t done a parasite cleanse in the last 6 months, you probably have parasites. Your naturopath can test you for parasites and help you find the right cleansing protocol for your body.

Also, here are a few other lifestyle additions that can be helpful with the winter blues:

  • Develop a good exercise program
  • Practice the law of attraction at night before sleep
  • Focus on gratitude and positivity as you are drifting to sleep
  • Make sure you are breathing deeply and fully



Flower Essences

If you have worked with me, you know how much I LOVE flower remedies and how POWERFUL they are!  Have you ever wondered how they work?

In Flower Essence Repertory by Patricia Kaminski and Richard Katz, flower essences are defined as “subtle liquid extracts, generally taken in oral form, which are used to address profound issues of emotional well-being, soul development, and mind-body health.”

According to Dr. Edward Bach, discoverer of these remedies, “This system of healing, which has been Divinely revealed unto us, shows that it is our fears, our cares, our anxieties and such like that open the path to the invasion of illness. Thus by treating our fears, our cares, our worries and so on, we not only free ourselves from our illness, but the Herbs given unto us by the Grace of the Creator of all, in addition take away our fears and worries, and leave us happier and better in ourselves.”  (The Twelve Healers)

All life is interconnected in many ways.  Plants and flowers are another example of this.  In fact, flowers are an outward expression of particular patterns of life force, patterns that express themselves in us as thoughts and feelings.  These patterns or qualities function on an energetic level.  By harvesting and specifically processing these plants, we are able to maintain their energy.  Then, when we ingest or absorb the liquid storing the energy, our energetic patterns are changed.  This change can be subtle yet life altering.

In understanding how this is possible, it is important to remember it is not the chemical composition of the liquid.  It is the life force of the plant that is contained within.  Flower essences are vibrational in nature, similar to homeopathic remedies.  By working vibrationally on the energy field of a person, flower essences are able to have an influence on all levels of human life – mental, emotional, physical, and energetic (or spiritual).

Imagine hearing a moving piece of music or seeing an inspirational work of art.  Both sound and light reach us as waves, or vibration, and affect us on many levels.  They resonate with us and within us.  This is one way to think of how flower essences work.

Kaminski and Katz offer this further explanation.  “Another model which may be useful in understanding the vibrational resonance of flower essences comes from holography. A holographic photograph consists of light-wave interference patterns, any portion of which contains information from the whole and can be used to re-create the original three-dimensional image. Thus, we can describe the water containing the blossoms as receiving a kind of holographic imprint of the essential qualities of the plant. Each drop of water contains the whole configuration of the plant’s archetype. As we dilute the flower essence, we attenuate the physical substance of the infusion so that it is no longer biochemically significant. However, the full etheric “message” of the plant essence remains in the few highly dilute drops we take into our bodies.”

While I prefer to craft custom blends for people that are specific to what they need, single remedies chosen to address a specific concern can be wonderful as well.

Here are some of my favorite remedies for holiday stress:

  • Agrimony – pain and sadness hidden behind a cheerful mask
  • Borage – discouragement, especially with grief or heavy-heartedness
  • Chamomile – stabilizes the emotions; calming and soothing
  • Elm – despair about own ability to meet responsibilities and expectations
  • Gentian – doubt and discouragement from setbacks; lack of faith
  • Gorse – hopelessness; expects suffering
  • Hornbeam – depression over daily life tasks like work
  • Milkweed – deeply depressed state; inability to cope with daily affairs; wishes to obliterate consciousness
  • Mustard – “black cloud” overhead for unknown reasons; wide mood swings
  • Wild Rose – apathy and resignation when faced with challenges of life and illnesses





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Using natural modalities, Dr. Hartford works to transform her clients’ health every day. She has worked with hundreds of clients from all walks of life. Let her help you find the natural solution for your natural health.

Dr. Ylona Hartford

Traditional Naturopath


The author is not an attorney, physician, mental health practitioner, dietitian, or nutritionist.  Content on this website is for information purposes only.  No warranties are expressed or implied.  Any application of the material provided is at the reader’s discretion and is his/her/their sole responsibility.

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