Updated: Mar 29, 2021
10 WAYS TO BREAK OUT OF THE STRESS CYCLE
1. Reset your circadian rhythm. We need 7 to 8 hours sleep at night. Less than 5% of the population has been found to be alright on 5 hours sleep a night and even that is conjecture. We do eventually pay for lack of sleep. Even losing 1 hour of sleep can cause blood sugar disruption and immune system issues. We need to start intentionally waking up and going to bed at times that give us 7-8 hours per night.
Getting circadian rhythms on line is so powerful. Women getting 7-8 hours sleep tend to automatically reset their inflammation, their weight and their immune system. Their sugar and coffee cravings are reduced. Women who are losing 1-2 hours of sleep even on a semi-regular basis have been found to have worse menstrual cramps and endometriosis pain. The lack of rest can also effect fertility and contribute to anxiety and depression.
2. Create a healthy morning routine. Set your alarm for about 10 minutes before you need to wake up and wake up 30-45 minutes earlier to have time to have a slower, healthier morning. The extra 10 minutes is for meditating or deep breathing. Then get up slowly, have a little warm water with lemon, stretch and make sure to eat breakfast.
3. Create a healthy evening wind down. Red wine is one of the worst sleep disruptors, particularly for menopausal or perimenopausal women. It is also very bad for PMS. Have a bath with some relaxing essential oil such as lavender, create your tomorrow to do list or offload everything on your mind into a worry journal, read a paper book not a kindle, audio or IPad and once you do go to bed switch off the lights and do some deep breathing. Also try keeping a gratitude list or a list of what you are looking forward to in order to keep things in perspective.
4. Restrict screen time before bed. Screen light blocks melatonin. The optimum rule is no screen time whatsoever in the hour before bed and not checking your phone/IPad first thing in the morning.
5. Don’t skip meals. Hunger can lead to low blood sugar levels. Low blood sugar is actually being registered by the brain as an emergency. 80% of the energy you consume / glucose that your body is making is consumed by the brain. When you get hungry (and hangry!) it is because your brain is telling you it has to eat now or it is going to pass out / will not be able to function. Women are notorious for multi-tasking and skipping meals then feeling foggy and trying to counteract that by having some sugar – a blood sugar roller coaster leading to a blood sugar crash. This pattern can lead to inflammation, blood sugar imbalances and insulin resistance and if you are eating a lot of sugar and a lot of fast carbs it can also lead to high blood sugar which can lead to a lot of inflammation, pre-diabetes and diabetes.
6. Get your blood sugar balanced. You need to make sure that you are not skipping any meals and each meal has a healthy compliment of good quality protein that can be animal, vegetarian or vegan, good quality fat which would primarily be from vegetable sources such as avocado, olive oil, coconut oil or ghee and some form of energy whether from wholegrain carbohydrates or starchy vegetables. Practising blood sugar balance is critical for women as skipping meals can leave us feeling shaky, exhausted and reaching for high sugar snacks with no nutritional value or caffeine that can leave us even more tired and wired. Blood sugar balance will keep the brain from going into survival mode due to blood sugar imbalance. This is really important for life long health and critically important for anyone who has a higher risk of diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol.
7. Relax and breathe. Adopting some form of relaxation such as yoga, meditation, breathing or just being in nature is an absolute necessity now. Very few of us are not in a state of stress and overwhelm, very few of us are actually breathing properly, most of us are holding our breaths as we lunge from one deadline to another. We have to get out of chronic sympathetic overdrive into parasympathetic mode in order to stay healthy. Countless studies show how powerful meditation and breathing practices are for quickly resetting the stress response which in turn improves focus, reduces depression, reduces anxiety, improves cognitive function and critically – reduces inflammation. Incorporating a simple breathing or meditation practice into your life has to be a priority. It does not have to be anything fancy or another thing on your to do list to feel guilty about. It can be a quick 5 minute practice you can use while waiting in the shopping line, waiting for an appointment, falling asleep, or something you can implement before or during a stressful situation. Learn one breathing exercise that you can do for yourself to reset your own rhythm. You Tube and many meditation apps have countless free practices so whatever your preference you are bound to find one that suits you.
8. Accepting reality is not perfect. We live in a world of perfectly curated Instagram posts. However the reality could not be further from that. Our lives are messy and we need to be compassionate with ourselves. The more we can be real in our own lives, the more we can be relaxed and happy. Done is better than perfect. Good rather than excellent is just fine. Give yourself permission to live your messy life. Stop following media/social media accounts that are making you feel inadequate, guilty or less than yourself.
9. Connect. We are primed to live in tribe and to live in community. We need to reach out. The person reaching out for help gets benefit and the person they reach out to also gets benefit. When we let ourselves connect to the people we love and trust we can let go of the need to look like we have it all together. The healing from that is immeasurable. Loneliness increases heart disease risk more than two times that of obesity, smoking, diabetes, high blood pressure combined. Love, happiness, joy and connection are some of the most important ways that we can reset our adrenal health.
10. Book a session with a Health Coach. Working with a Health Coach is much more than following a diet and being attached to the scales. I will show you how to apply deep health to all aspects of your life so you can eat healthier, relax more, move better and feel great! Think about it, and if you need help with your diet, stress levels, sleep, exercise or any other aspect of your life, let me know!