How to Heal a Stressed Out Body
Stress is something most of us deal with at some point in their life, if not day to day. Some people are fortunate to not have to experience much daily stress, but for most people stress plays a pretty big role in their life.
When attempting to balance hormones and boost fertility, reducing stress should be at the very top of the list of priorities. Here is a protocol I used when I was struggling with signs of adrenal fatigue and burn out last summer after losing a loved one.
Moving your body is really important when you're stressed, but over exercising can cause additional stress on your body. Finding a healthy balance is really important. If you're body is stressed it's really important that you do not exasperate this stress with intense workout routines, or working out too frequently.
This is an example of a weekly workout routine:
Monday - 20 minutes of cardio (walk/jog intervals)
Tuesday - 20 minutes strength training with weights no more than 10 lbs
Wednesday - 20 minutes Cardio
Thursday - 20 minutes strength training
Friday - 20 minutes Cardio
Saturday - Rest
Sunday - 60 minutes Restorative Yoga
5 - 10 minute morning stretch
5-15 minute daily meditation
When your body is in a state of restoration, it's important to provide it with the proper fuel needed to heal. Processed foods, GMO's, inflammatory foods and environmental toxins all cause stress on the body.
Skipping meals is another harmful habit many of us have. A hungry body is a stressed body. When you skip a meal, your body does not know when it will receive its next source of fuel, so it begins to "borrow" energy from other available sources that should be doing other things like regulating your hormones and nervous system. Skipping meals increases cortisol levels which over time, increased cortisol can lead to weight gain, especially in the belly area.
Eating breakfast early in the morning is really difficult for me, I'm just not hungry. When I am in the office with Dr. Lauren I typically don't have an appetite until I pull into work. At first I was just skipping breakfast and bringing snacks but by the time we leave for lunch I was STARVING. I now have a green smoothie that has a healthy balance of protein, fat, and carbs. I either grab a smoothie from Juiceland ( I get the Julio Verde) or I make something similar at home. Planning ahead is really important so I strongly encourage my clients to meal prep. The chances of you reaching for something unhealthy are less likely if you already have lunch prepared.
Warm Ginger tea with lemon to wake up digestive system.
Eat a nourishing breakfast within one hour after waking to maintain blood sugar levels. A typical breakfast for me after I've warmed my digestive system up includes one poached egg, half a sweet potato, 2 cups of greens, and half an avocado or Warm GF Oatmeal with stewed apples, Nut mylk, pecans, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, and almond butter or a Green Smoothie if I am on the go.
Eliminating caffeine is very important when nourishing your adrenals. This can be really tough for some people and I truly get it. Coffee is good and it also helps you get through your day. And in some situations it can be beneficial for your health. But ultimately it is a stimulant and it can be very taxing on your adrenals and disruptive to your hormones unfortunately. If you feel you absolutely need caffeine in the morning try substituting with Matcha or Chai. Matcha actually helped me kick coffee for the second time last summer (Another contribution to my stress).
I drank it on the mornings I felt like I was struggling and eventually I found myself needing it less and less. I do believe matcha has great medicinal properties so if you find that you really love it, by all means enjoy it. Just no more than 1x/day
Eat a small snack every two - three hours to maintain your blood sugar levels. I typically have some sprouted nuts, fruit, a bliss ball, almond butter with celery, or coconut yogurt with fruit depending on how hungry I am.
Eating lunch is also really important, I found a late lunch around 1:00 fits my needs better. I try to make this the largest meal of the day so that my body has plenty of time for digestion.
To avoid any blood sugar issues overnight, I try to eat very little grains and try my best to avoid sweets before bed. (I am still working on this )
Additional tips* - Avoid eating cold foods as they are harder to digest. Cut out sugar and refined carbs. Eat relaxed, eat slowly and mindfully without the texting or talking on the phone.
Tips* - Incorporate adaptogens like Ashwaghanda or Holy Basil into your supplement regimen. CBD Oil is also wonderfully supportive for stress and anxiety.
Rest is extremely important if your body is stressed. We live in a society where overworking is praised, and resting is seen as a weakness. Many of us think we successfully function on four to five hours of sleep when really our bodies are crying out for rest.
Take naps! Naps are completely underrated and if you have the opportunity to take a nap a couple of times a week, please indulge.
Get to bed earlier. I know this really hard for some people but you should try to aim to get at least eight hours of sleep. I try my best to get in bed by 9:30 so that by 10:00 I am snuggled in bed and hopefully sleep. That doesn't always happen, but it's much better than me staying up until 1:30 every night.
One thing that helps me fall asleep faster is to get off my phone at least an hour before bed. Unplugging is a good habit no matter what time of day, but it's even better at night when the blue light from our phone tells us to stay awake instead of prepare to sleep. Also having a designated area for electronics OUTSIDE of the bedroom will help you get more sleep. If you're worried you"ll miss your alarm, take it old school and by an alarm clock.
Another great nightly routine is to diffuse essential oils before bed. I love the classic lavender.
Self Care |
Warm baths with Dead Sea Salt & Magnesium Flakes
Foot massages at night
Time in nature
Deep breathing from belly
This may be the hardest part for some people outside of diet. Changing the way you have always done things can be really difficult. Start by implementing a few of these lifestyle changes to see if it helps your stress levels
Limit violent/scary tv or news
Unplugging (Turn off your phone or put it on airplane mode 1x/week)
Start saying no to things that do not make you feel good.
Release guilt about prioritizing yourself.
Limit time on social media
Create a list of things that cause stress in your life in order of importance. What can be cut from your list? Can somethings be rearranged on in order of priority? Are there things that stress you that you can change?