Besides living through a Covid pandemic, we're also living through a stress pandemic.
Most of us have been in a state of constant stress for the last two years. It's no surprise then that additional stress might affect us negatively in obvious ways - from tight muscles, difficulty sleeping or having feelings of anxiety on top-of what you're already going through every day!
But there is an underlying process also occurring inside our bodies which impacts how we feel physically as well as mentally. Chronic stress can massively disrupt hormone function: hypothyroidism (low thyroid), chronic fatigue syndrome, low fertility and infertility issues...the list goes.
Whether you're going through a hormonal crisis or just struggling with everyday life, stress will affect your mind and body. Luckily there are many ways to support yourself during this crazy time!
The techniques I share with you today will help to lower your stress levels. So choose one technique and spend 10 minutes a day doing it, whether that be through meditation or deep breathing exercises. You can also have a friend join in on this journey if they are willing! Throughout the process of trying out these different approaches we’ll check-in often about how things feel for each of us individually so let's get started right away:
Stress Relieving Techniques to incorporate into your day:
“There are only two days per year that nothing can be done, yesterday and tomorrow. So today is the right day to love, believe, do and live.” – Dalai Lama
1. Be grateful for the little things in life. Be mindful of your surroundings and enjoy what you have right now, because it may be all that is left when something great goes wrong!
2. Brendon Bouchard says to "be present" while engaging with someone special or feeling close connections - linger longer than usual during hugs (or conversations), hold eye contact for 2 seconds longer, and really listen to what a person is saying --you'll get more connection this way which lowers stress.
3. Deep breathing is the key to relaxation. Take a few minutes out of your busy day for this calming technique and you will feel more at ease than ever before! Practice the Boxed Breath: breathe in for four counts, hold it for sixteen then exhale slowly while saying "Out" or whatever word resonates with you most closely during these times-of deep inhalation & slow exhalation (depending on if one needs extra emphasis).
Stress and your Cortisol (Adrenal Hormone) Levels
We all experience stress and the resulting cortisol release during moments of pressure. The problem is, as you age this can lead to a shortage in your adrenal glands. This then leads to added fatigue, which sets up an endless cycle that just won't break no matter how hard we try.
You may have experienced cortisol spikes at night leading people into late nights where they stay awake due not only their own exhaustion but also because those areas for optimal sleep timing are being overwhelmed by wakeup triggers such has caffeine intake or spicy foods before bedtime.
The way to get your cortisol and dhea levels under control is by measuring them now.
A simple 4x salivary test can do this, as well as show you how much energy or stress relief an individual needs throughout the day on a daily basis depending upon their specific symptoms.
Once these are measured properly then it's time for one’s first step in restoring health through natural herbs/extracts like Ashwagandha extract paired nicely with Rhodiola rosea which will help sustain healthy hormonal balances while providing stimulating properties ideal if feeling fatigue more often than not.
Other herbs that can be helpful in supporting your adrenals besides ashwaganda and rhodiola are eleutherococcus and gotu kola. These will help balance out cortisol levels giving you more energy while also increasing resilience to stressors around us all.
Stress and your Thyroid Hormone
While the primary function of your thyroid is to produce hormones that regulate metabolism, it also has an important role in regulating emotions. When you're stressed out or have low levels of stress-related chemicals like cortisol and adrenaline this leaves less room for production by impacting how fast those awesome feelings come back around!
Have your thyroid hormone levels checked – I recommend: TSH, Free T4, Free T3, TPO and TG Antibodies, Iodine and Reverse T3.
Herbal and nutrient support we use for the thyroid: low-level iodine, zinc, selenium, L-tyrosine, Forskohlii extract, Guggul extract, ashwaganda. However, I would not begin these without testing to make sure your symptoms are directly thyroid, and not one of the other glands or other deficiencies.
Stress and your Reproductive Hormones
The number one way stress impacts your body is by reducing hormones. It can reduce levels of estrogen and progesterone in women, or testosterone for men- which will lead to reduced ovulation (less pregnancies) and fertility issues later on down the line if left unchecked. A lot people don't realize this until it's too late... so keep these tips handy because they may just save you some majorly painful PMS symptoms while helping improve other areas like moods and menstruation.
Progesterone is a wonderful way to improve sleep length and quality when you're experiencing symptoms like stress. And if your goal isn't related directly with hormones, then an OTC supplement such as Pregnenelone can be helpful in supporting progesterin function through its conversion into hormone-like substances that help regulate things like moods or libido!
It's not always easy to know how your hormones work together. It can be hard on both the body and mind, so it is important that you take care of yourself by following an integrated healthcare program which ensures good balance between estrogen or progesterone (as appropriate).
Chronic stress has been found to be harmful in many ways, and can have devastating effects on your health. The first step is recognizing and acknowledging the stressful times we've been living through. Next you could consider getting specialized testing to see how stress is impacting you. Lastly, find a supportive functional or integrative doctor that can help you create a personalized plan! Or consider jumping into one of the 'done with your doctor' courses you can find at Reset360.
In February we'll be rolling out a brand new course designed to help you reset and renew your energy. I'll be leading the course and can't wait to share more as we get closer to launch.
Until next time, your partner in health and healing.
Dr. Angila Jaeggli ND