With all that is going on around us, it may feel difficult to stay focused, positive and be present. So much has changed in a short space of time and it can be rather stressful not being in control and not knowing when things will go back to what we deem as normal.
In times like this our mental, physical and emotional health is such a priority, in particular, our ability to manage our stress levels, as too much stress can have a negative impact on our immune health.
What happens to the body when we experience stress?
When we experience stress our body releases cortisol which is the “stress hormone” made in the adrenal glands.
When stress occurs, cortisol levels rise to provide a surge of energy to help us escape “danger.” However, when cortisol levels are too high it can be deceiving as it can mimic the feeling of being ultra-productive but in actual fact is robbing us of much needed sleep.
Women and high cortisol
Women who experience high cortisol levels can display several symptoms, some of which include:
- Weakened ability to fight infection
- Low sex drive
- Weight gain (especially around the belly)
- Tired (which may flip come bedtime and you’ll feel wired)
- Socially overwhelmed
- Heavy, painful, or otherwise difficult periods
- Disrupted digestion, mental function, and metabolism
Re-balancing the Adrenal Glands
Where one or more of these symptoms are present re-balancing the adrenal glands (which is where cortisol is made) would be beneficial.
The first step in balancing the adrenal glands requires the lowering of cortisol levels. To do this naturally some simple lifestyle changes can be adopted.
These can include.
- Going to bed at the same time each night, waking up at the same time, and getting out in the sunshine. This creates a good circadian rhythm, which optimises hormone balance naturally
- Limit alcohol. Some might think it relaxing, but alcohol increases cortisol
- Avoid caffeine, sugar, and processed food
Once the feeling of relaxation becomes more regular the next step will be to re-balance the adrenal glands.
The re-balancing of the adrenal glands can be achieved using adaptogen herbs and or supplements. Adaptogen herbs such as Ashwagandha and or Ginseng aid the body in recovering from short and long term physical and mental stress. Supporting with overall well-being and most importantly building a resistance to stress to protect our immune health long term.