The Top 5 Ways to Ease Stress
I’ve accepted what the “normal” day to day routine is going to be like for the unforeseeable future, and I’m okay with it.
But, while I can tell my mind that, I feel my body struggling to let go of the stress and it’s starting to take a toll on my adrenals.
Your adrenals balance your hormones and control your stress response, especially the production of cortisol (the main stress hormone).
When you are under chronic stress, like say…. a global pandemic that drastically changes up your whole life for at least 6 weeks and forces you to distance yourself from people and places that provide comfort…. yeah, that can lead to adrenal fatigue.
This certainly occurs in “normal” life too. The stress of working 50-60 hours a week, meeting deadlines, sitting in traffic, struggling to pay bills, building relationships, working towards your life’s purpose. Life is heavy.
When you’re under a lot of stress your body will prioritize cortisol and stop production of the other essential hormones. This helps you survive in the short term, but long term causes imbalance in the body.
Stress and adrenal fatigue can feel like:
- Brain fog
- Lack of sleep
- Weight fluctuation
Not to mention, stress alone lowers the immune system.
Even though stress is usually perceived as emotional or environmental, other contributing factors add stress to the body including alcohol, caffeine, sugar and refined carbs, lack of nutrients, lack of sleep, indigestion/imbalanced gut, skipped meals, excessive exercise, food intolerances.
If you are feeling extra tired, burnt-out, moody, with brain fog, body aches, headaches or indigestion; your body may be telling you it’s time to pay attention.
I help my clients tune into the message and make sure their food and lifestyle is supporting their adrenals and overall wellness.
It is especially important to incorporate habits to help you ease the stress in your life so that your body can handle everything that is going on right now and help you to stay healthy in the future. Here are my non-negotiable tools to handle life in stressful times.
The Top 5 Ways to Ease Your Stress:
1. Make a Healthy Breakfast
The key to being able to tolerate stress and take on the day is to have balanced blood sugar.
It is especially important to start your day with balanced blood sugar to stabilize hormones right off the bat. It helps to fight the fatigue and brain fog that symbolize the less stress on your adrenals.
Protein, healthy fats and fiber, are especially important to include in a healthy breakfast.
BTW, breakfast doesn’t mean you have to eat at a specific time. Breakfast is the first meal of the day. It’s when you break-fast.
You can find the perfect recipes in my Breakfast Guide here.
2. Prioritize Nutrient Dense Food
Eating a nutrient dense diet can ease or reverse many symptoms of adrenal fatigue by supplying the body with nutrients it needs to function.
To begin to heal the adrenal glands, it is particularly important to eat a whole food diet prioritizing organic vegetables, healthy fats and complete protein.
By making these foods a priority you can decrease the processed carbohydrates, sugar, caffeine and alcohol that not only harm the healing but perpetuate the adrenal exhaustion, like adding gas to a fire.
Here is a whole blog on why nutrient dense food is important.
Tulsi (holy basil) teas, ashwagandha, cordyceps, ginseng, leafy greens, broth, wild seafood, pasture raised eggs and animal protein, sprouted whole grains, nuts and seeds are especially supportive for the adrenals.
Take a deep breathe through your nose, pause, and slowly exhale through your mouth. Do this at least 5 times.
Breathing helps to regulate the effect stress has on your body. It helps turn off your body’s stress response and let it know that everything is going to be okay.
When it all seems too heavy, pause and take a moment to breathe.
Breathe to strength your body and relieve your mindset. You can use apps like Calm or Headspace for some guided breath and meditation exercises.
4. Move Your Body
This does not mean you need to take three workout classes a day or run an extra mile. It’s actually the opposite.
When you’re under extra stress anaerobic exercise is gentle on the adrenals, while excessive exercise can further tax the adrenals.
Don’t spend your whole day on the couch or in front or your computer. Move your body, but listen to it too. Do what movement feels good, but know your limit.
Stretching, walking, yoga or pilates are examples of gentle movement that your body needs right now.
Sleep is vital during periods of high stress. Sleep allows your body to heal and repair itself after each day.
It is necessary to get an adequate amount of sleep, in each of the five stages, so the body is able to fully process and regenerate to feel refreshed and function at optimal health.
An adequate amount of sleep is between 7-9 hours, every night.
A lack of sleep adds stress on the body and stress can cause poor sleep. You can see it’s a vicious cycle.
Balanced blood sugar and nutrient dense foods help to support better sleep. Moving your body will also help regulate your body for better sleep.
Bonus. 6. Go Outside
Seriously! Not only do you need to get some fresh air, you need to get out in the sunshine!
Hormones function on a circadian rhythm aligned with the sun. So by exposing your body to light it helps to regulate your hormones.
Go for a walk, sit at your front door step, open a window. Do what you can to be outside in some sunshine.
Stress has a way of creeping up on you. Don’t wait until you crash to start taking care of yourself. Pick one of these tips and focus on doing it everyday. A couple days later, add a second layer of support.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, but give your body what it needs. Be gentle with yourself and start now.
If you want to take the next step to help your body manage the stress in your life, let’s schedule a Complimentary Clarity Call. Click here to schedule your 30-minute call now.
References: Bauman, M.Ed., Ph.D., and Friedlander, N.C., J. (2016). Therapeutic Nutrition Textbook -‐ Part 1. Penngrove, CA: Bauman College, pp.18-‐26. Bauman, M.Ed., Ph.D. Stress & Endocrine Interaction Lecture 201.2. (2017). Penngrove, CA: Bauman College