On a daily basis, adrenaline and cortisol are pumping around our body, changing our biochemistry and having huge effects on our health. Our body cannot keep this high level of activity for very long without causing harm.
….Headaches, fatigue, brain fog, irritable bowel syndrome, high blood pressure, sugar cravings, fatigue, weight gain, thyroid issues, poor immunity, low libido, hot flushes, anxiety, depression, insomnia, inflammation…
These are all symptoms of chronic stress!
What you can do about it….
It is difficult to avoid the triggers that make us stressed and make us feel exhausted. However here are a few simple steps you can take to improve your bodies’ resilience to stress:
1- Get enough sleep. This sounds obvious enough, but often the first thing that we miss out on when under stress. Our brains need a minimum of 7.5 hours sleep to thrive and we do best with 8 hours. Time for sleep needs to be prioritized just like anything else in your day. Try to get to bed by 10pm to ensure you have enough time for sleep.
2- Start each day with some early morning exercise. Exercising first thing in the morning has many benefits (such as weight loss, improved mood and increased energy) however it also allows some time to yourself to start your day and prepare for what’s ahead. It can be as simple as a 20 minute walk outside in the early morning sunshine. Exercising at the end of the day is still useful; however it doesn’t allow much time to wind down before bed. Studies have found that morning exercise aids cortisol regulation for the rest of the day.
3- Avoid sugar and caffeine. Caffeine and sugar both stimulate our adrenals and cortisol and adrenaline production, which is completely counterproductive when trying to stabilize these levels! I know that it is so easy to fall into the trap of reaching for sugar and coffee to give you that energy boost, but you will simply coming crashing down soon afterwards only to reach for your next ‘hit’. Limit to 1 coffee daily and ensure this is before 10am. Replace with herbal teas such as green tea or rooibos for an energy boost or try ginger, fennel, cinnamon or peppermint based teas to reduce sugar cravings.
4- Eat regular meals to keep your blood sugar levels stable. Stable blood sugar levels are essential for good energy, concentration and focus. Start the day with a good breakfast and don’t allow more than 4 hours between meals. Snack on protein rich snacks that won’t spike your blood sugars such as natural, unsweetened yoghurt, cheddar cheese, raw and unsalted nuts, cottage cheese on crackers or hommus and vegetable sticks. Portions only need to be small however eating regularly makes a huge difference to your energy and cognitive function.
5- There are also a variety of well researched natural supplements that you can take that makes a huge difference to how your nervous system responds to stress. These include herbal medicines such as licorice, siberian ginseng, withania or astragalus. A B complex is also useful when feeling exhausted and overworked. However these should be prescribed from a professional so please seek advice from one of our Naturopaths before starting yourself on supplementation.
Is stress getting the better of you? Come in and see one of our Naturopaths for a personalized stress management program and herbal medicine or nutritional prescription to help you feel yourself again
Thanks for reading!