Are You Feeling Stressed? How to Recognize If Stress is Affecting Your Health & What to do about it; Naturally
The holiday season is upon us. This is the time we focus on holiday cheer with family and friends. Even though we are getting ready for the holidays, many of us actually experience more stress during this time of the year. Meeting work deadlines before the Christmas break, getting ready to spend time with family, and buying Christmas presents. It all can add up quickly and be quite stressful for some people.
Symptoms that indicate your stress hormones may be out of balance include:
- Fatigue, especially in the morning
- Feeling tired around 2-3 pm
- Craving sugar
- Poor memory
- Gaining weight around the belly (BELLY FAT)
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Having difficulties sleeping at night and then waking up between 2-4am
- Low libido
There is a great test available at Vitalia Health Care that can measure your stress hormone levels from saliva. Click here to read more
If you can relate to any of these symptoms, you may be feeling the health effects of too much stress. Over time, this can really take a toll on your body.
The good news is that our body is wonderful at healing and finding balance. We just need to provide the body with an environment that will allow it to heal. So, during this holiday season, include some of these basic lifestyle changes and protect yourself from the harmful effects of stress.
- 1. Get enough sleep. The #1 way to protect your body from the effects of stress is to get enough sleep. This includes at least 7-8 hours of sleep every night. Other tips to get a good night’s rest include:
- Go to bed the same time and wake up the same time, even on weekends. Routine is important!
- At least 30 min before bed, do something that you enjoy and that will help you relax. Read a good book, listen to some relaxing music, have a bath. Don’t do homework, don’t watch TV, don’t work on the computer, don’t be on the phone. Get your body ready to fall asleep! Clear your mind.
- Keep your room dark and quiet. Melatonin (our sleep hormone) requires this to be properly released. If we don’t get proper melatonin release, we won’t have a good restful sleep!
- 2. Practice meditation. Even 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes before bedtime can significantly reduce the amount of cortisol (your stress hormone) that is being released by your body and causing the negative health effects. In 24 hours I am sure you can find 10 minutes to close your eyes and focus on your breathing (a form of meditation).
- 3. Don’t feel overwhelmed. Tell yourself you are not overwhelmed. It is the perception of stress that results in the release of adrenaline and cortisol, both breaking the body down. Tell yourself you have this under control, you are not feeling overwhelmed. Prioritize what you need to do and have realistic goals for yourself.
Now lets discuss 5 supplements to help your body deal with stress and help you survive the holiday season.
MY FAVORITE TOP 5 SUPPLEMENTS TO HELP YOU DEAL WITH STRESS AND INCREASE YOUR ENERGY
1. Health Supplements
Herbal medicine has some great plants that can really help to balance your stress hormones and :
- INCREASE ENERGY
- DECREASE ANXIETY
- HELP YOU SLEEP BETTER
- HELP WITH BURNOUT
1. Ashwaganda (Withania Somnifera)
is a plant native to India, Africa and Asia. It is often called the Indian Ginseng, as it
- increases energy,
- strengthens the immune system
Currently there are over 200 studies on the benefits of Ashwaganda to alleviate stress on the body.
A great study conducted in 2009 compared 75 participants with anxiety disorder. One group received psychotherapy alone (counseling). Another group received Naturopathic Care which included diet counseling, deep breathing techniques, a multivitamin and 600mg a day of Withania (Ashwaganda). The Naturopathic Care group reported a 56% decrease in Anxiety over 8 weeks, compared to 30% decrease in the psychotherapy alone group (almost double effectiveness). The Naturopathic Care group also showed better quality of life.
One of my favorite adrenal herbs, this plant is native to Siberia. As an adaptagen, it helps our body deal with and recover from stress.
Research shows it can help to increase Serotonin and Dopamine in the brain, helping to increase
- depression and
- Seasonal Affective Disorder
It helps to reduce cortisol, helping with belly fat, anxiety and insomnia.
Rhodiola has potent effects on brain chemistry. Therefore, if you are on any antidepressants or if you have a personal or family history of Bipolar Disorder, avoid using Rhodiola. Also avoid if you have high blood pressure.
3. Holy Basil
Holy Basil decreases cortisol levels in times of chronic stress.
Reduces Cortisol, which helps with all the symptoms of burnout!!!!!!!
By reducing cortisol helps to reduce Belly Fat caused by high cortisol levels
4. Vitamin C with a good B complex
I always like to include these as When we are under stress, the adrenal gland requires more vitamin C and B vitamins to make proper stress hormones.
Also, vitamin C will keep our immune system strong.
L-Theanine is an amino acid that is very effective in promoting a sense of calm and reducing the feeling of anxiety and stress. It is best taken at night to promote a restful sleep and slow down a racing mind.
You now have some great health tips to protect your body from the harmful effects of stress. I wish you a wonderful holiday season. Enjoy your time with family and friends. Happy Holidays!
Yours in health,
Dr Tasreen Alibhai, ND
Vitalia Health Care.