We all know what stress is and, unfortunately, face it daily. Some stress factors seem small, where other times, stressful situations can seem catastrophic and cause our lives to turn upside down.
However, our body doesn't know the difference between these types of stress, and that is what is leading our society into a whirlwind of symptoms, mental health issues, disease, and even burnout. Yes, that is right - Stress can lead to so many things within our body without us even knowing.
Let's start with what stress looks like in our body - Let us introduce you to our stress hormone, Cortisol! Cortisol is responsible for many functions in our body, including what is known as our flight or fight response ( which is where adrenaline plays a factor ). Cortisol is an essential hormone within our body; however, in high amounts, that is where we can find ourselves in trouble. High levels of Cortisol can cause a variety of symptoms within our body, such as :
- Extreme fatigue
- Weight gain
- Loss of libido
- hormonal imbalances
- low immunity ( always getting sick )
Recently the WHO ( World Health Organization ) recognized a condition called " Burnout Syndrome" due to high amounts of stress in the workplace. In a Canadian poll, 58% of people answered that they felt feelings of anxiety and depression daily due to stress. What are we doing to support our health and our bodies during these times of stress, and how can we eliminate the effects of tension in the body? More and more people are starting to ask themselves how they can combat the effects of stress within their daily lives and reduce the signs and symptoms they feel due to it. In the beginning, it can feel very overwhelming, especially if you find yourself in a supplement section in your natural health store or browsing the internet for " beat stress tips." So we have compiled a few of our favorite " kick stress to the curb" tips below:
1.) Nourish your body: Our body needs all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals it can get, especially during times of stress. Ensuring that we fuel our body with nutrient-dense foods, vitamin B rich greens and minerals daily helps support not only our Adrenal glands ( they are responsible for the production of Cortisol), it helps our immune system, supports our digestive tract and even our moods. Often when we are feeling stressed, our diet choices go out the window, and we reach for sugar-filled treats and or often salty foods. This can often lead us to feel even worse, more lethargic, and feeling down on ourselves for choosing foods like this. So make sure you eat the rainbow ( fresh fruits, dark leafy greens, and those healthy fats ) to keep your body nourished.
2.) Choose a support for your Adrenal Glands: Adaptogens are a great supplement and support when it comes to helping our bodies adapt to the stress that we take on daily. The purpose of Adrenal support or tonic is to help reduce the effects of stress on our body, strengthen our adrenal glands, and lower the amount of Cortisol within our body. Harmony Restore is one of our favorite brands.
3.) Take a Multivitamin every day: When we are under high amounts of stress, it reduces the function of our digestive tract, our immune system, and even our cognitive function. Meaning, that although we are trying to eat healthy and nutritious foods, often we are absorbing all the nutrients that we need leaving us in a deficit of essential minerals and vitamins that we need to keep our bodies healthy. One of the few essential vitamins you will find in an Ener-C sachet is vitamin Bs (high for energy and our adrenal glands), Vitamin C -a powerful antioxidant to reduce the free radicals we have in our body, increase our immunity and help keep our cardiovascular health in check. Magnesium, our anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is an essential mineral within our diet and responsible for over 300 different reactions within our body. Iodine, a mineral necessary for the health of our Thyroid gland. With high levels of Cortisol in our body, often, our thyroid glands are effected, leaving room for conditions like hypothyroidism or other thyroid conditions to settle in.
4.) Sleep: Sleep is often the first thing to go when we are under high amounts of stress. We stay up late on our laptops or even cell phones, tossing and turning throughout the night. Stress affects our sleeping patterns in so many ways, and when we don't get enough of our precious sleep, it can cause more stress in our bodies. So long story short - Make sure you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, setting a routine for your circadian rhythm and ensuring you are getting that REM sleep. If falling asleep is hard, try drinking some chamomile tea or sleepy time tea, take magnesium glycinate at bedtime or use a gentle sleep aid like L-theanine to help you relax.
5.) Lifestyle: This is an important one - We can't "stress" ( see what we did there ) enough how important it is to look at what is causing the stress you feel daily. Focus on making changes that allow you to feel more relaxed and enjoying life if that means taking up a yoga class, excellent. Or maybe spending time in nature or reading a book. Spending time alone or quietly has been shown to reduce anxiety levels within the body and also to relieve the symptoms of stress. Try taking 10-15 minutes a day to breathe and see how much better you feel.