Guest blog by Jacqui Watts from Healthful Women’s Wellness
Have you ever stopped and wondered what this rollercoaster lifestyle is doing to us?
When I talk to women about their stress levels, many women tell me they are “fine”. As we delve deeper into it, it becomes clear to me that the long-term stress has started to affect their health, especially their hormones. What we need to remember is we often start to adjust to the level of stress we’re under, making it our new “normal”— so theoretically someone could be under huge amounts of stress and functionally be feeling ok, but underneath it all there are a lot of chemical changes taking place.
We’re not physiologically designed to cope with the day-in-day-out demands that many of us place on ourselves, whether that be emotional, mental, physical or chemical stresses. It doesn’t just come down to pressure at work or a busy family schedule either — high intensity workouts, late nights, alcohol and coffee, chemicals in cleaning and personal care, subconscious thoughts, fear of the unknown factors in life as well as sugars and processed foods are all things that place extra stress on the body.
Side effects from stress
- Break down our gut lining, causing digestive issues such as bloating and bowel changes.
- Switch on the immune system promoting auto-immune disease such as Hashimoto’s Disease.
- Stop the communication from our brains to our ovaries causing PMS, irregular cycles and period complaints.
- Promote our storage hormone cortisol to accumulate weight around the waist.
- Cause us to not reach deep sleep, resulting in restlessness and night waking.
- Impact our moods, leaving us feeling more emotional, irritable or overwhelmed.
Very few women associate hormones with how much stress they have in their lives, when actually it’s usually one of the major factors to their change in symptoms — there is a direct clinical relationship between these hormones and stress. Until we start making a connection between mind and body, women in all generations will not be able to achieve complete hormone balance. What I encourage women to do is step off the rollercoaster of life and don’t feel like you must always be pushing, pleasing and doing.
Just be — pause and relax, even if its just for a few minutes. Making small changes in your daily habits can help you manage your stress levels in the long term.
Tips for managing stress levels
- Take 5 deep breaths before you get out of bed in the morning.
- Make time for self- care in your schedule, whether it be a beach walk, a long bath, reading a book or simply sitting in the sun with a cup of tea.
- Meditation has an amazing way of helping the brain switch off the stress. Just 5 minutes a day can make a huge impact on your wellbeing and hormones.
- Rhodiola is a fabulous herb to support our stress glands.
- Give yourself a night-time routine — dim the lights, put your phone away and do something quiet at least 30 minutes before bed to make sure you are getting into the deep sleep pathways.
So, do yourself a favour and take up that meditation class, use herbs and nutrients to support the adrenals, eat clean, reduce your coffee intake and most of all… make the time to pause, and be grateful for what you have.
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