Stress is a completely normal response that can be experienced by our bodies on both a physical and mental level. Living in a fast-paced city, our minds are running a mile a minute and it is hard to slow down. Whether it is relationship issues, loss of a loved one, work/school stress or financial constraints, we all have our own worldly struggles. When the stressor is short-lived, our bodies have amazing mechanisms in place to respond accordingly. It only becomes a problem when the stressor becomes chronic and unmanageable leading to long term health concerns.
How Do Our Bodies Handle Stress?
The Adrenal Glands sit atop of the kidneys and release hormones in response to stressors you experience. They are in fact one of the most overworked and overused glands in our bodies. Acute stressful situations, like sitting in traffic for 2 hours cause the release of cortisol for about 60 minutes. Post the 60 minutes they should return to baseline. However, when these acute stressors become chronic, cortisol levels never return to baseline and the adrenal glands never get a break. This becomes adrenal fatigue.
The following are symptoms related to adrenal fatigue:
- Increased storage of fat around the abdomen
- Tiredness, particularly in the afternoon
- Hormonal imbalances (Menstrual irregularities, Thyroid dysfunction)
- Raised blood sugar levels
- Increased carbohydrate cravings
- Poor digestion
- Disturbed sleep
How to help your Adrenals?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, your adrenal glands may just need some support! Naturopathic treatment varies depending on the stage of adrenal depletion. There are several dietary, lifestyle and supplement changes that can be made to help support your adrenal glands.
Here Are My TOP 5 Tips To Make Stress Manageable For Everyone!
- Reduce stimulants like tea and coffee. This can help to prevent further draining of the adrenals
- Increase high protein foods for the amino acid content which will help to support hormone and neurotransmitter production
- Make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep a night! If you are not getting enough sleep, chances are you are not operating at your best the next day and this creates a perpetual stress cycle/response.
- Spend 5-10 minutes before bed and do some stretches to help clear your mind. This helps with letting go of the day's stressors and prepares your body to take on a new day.
- If you are still finding it hard to manage stress levels and you need some extra support, try an adrenal supplement. These have a combination of botanical herbs and vitamins/minerals to help feed the adrenal glands when they are fatigued or exhausted.
Stress is something that is hard to escape no matter where you live. It is always present in some form or another. The most important thing is to make positive lifestyle changes so you are able to develop different coping strategies. This will allow you to conquer your difficulties vs. letting them take over. Try my 5 top tips to help support your adrenals, reduce your stress levels and have some more pep in your step!
Written By: Dr. Saira Kassam, ND | 2017
The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.