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Are you feeling stressed? You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge!

4 Types of Stress Warning Signals:

1. Physical Symptoms

Headaches, indigestion, stomachaches, sweaty palms, sleep difficulties, dizziness, back pain, tight muscles, racing heart, restlessness, tiredness, ringing in ears, bowel problems, increased urination

2. Behavioural Symptoms

Smoking, bossiness, compulsive gum chewing, attitude critical of others, teeth grinding, overuse of alcohol, compulsive eating, inability to get things done

3. Emotional Symptoms

Overwhelming sense of pressure, loneliness, unhappiness for no reason, crying, nervousness, anxiety, boredom, edginess, feeling powerless to change things, anger, easily upset

4. Cognitive Symptoms

Inability to make decisions, trouble thinking clearly, forgetfulness, thoughts of running away, lack of creativity, memory loss, constant worry, loss of sense of humour

How many of the above symptoms are you experiencing on a daily basis? We are not designed for long term stress. We are better suited for acute stress; you either run away from the bear, or you get eaten by the bear! When stress goes unchecked, it really effects your health.

What is Adrenal Stress?

When stress goes unchecked it can lead to what is often referred to as adrenal fatigue/adrenal dysregulation. A more appropriate term is probably adrenal stress. Signs of adrenal stress include feeling wired and tired, irritability, trouble falling or staying asleep, problems with low blood pressure or blood sugar fluctuations. Sugar and salt cravings. Feeling overwhelmed. Trouble coping with life.

Here are 10 ways to strengthen your Adrenals:

  1. Whole food diet. Real food provides the basics building blocks for the repair and rejuvenation of our bodies. Refined and processed food may provide a quick energy boost but we end up crashing after.
  2. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates. When our adrenals are stressed we are prone to sugar cravings due to blood sugar fluctuations. When we eat sugary foods we may get a temporary buzz but we will be left with; our blood sugar even lower, more sugar cravings, even more tired and dreaded weight gain.
  3. Eat balanced meals. Protein, healthy fat and fiber are important blood sugar stabilizers especially when eaten along with carbohydrates. Make sure you get enough protein in the morning. It will set the tone for the rest of your day.
  4. Supplement with extra vitamins especially vitamin C and a B complex. Vitamin C is found in the highest concentrations in the cortex and medulla of the adrenal gland. It is also a cofactor in the production of catecholamines and adrenal steroids. Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid) plays a role in the production of adrenal hormones especially in times of high stress. Vitamin B6 stimulates the release of adrenal catecholamines and alters cell response to steroid hormones. Vitamins A and E are also important for adrenal support.
  5. Get outside. Ground yourself in nature. Also make sure to get some sun exposure. The sun is an important source of vitamin D production (from May to Sept). But even in winter, sun exposure at mid day is important for regulating our circadian rhythm and has been shown to be important for stimulating melatonin production later at night and improving the quality of our sleep.
  6. Make a commitment to Relaxation. You can’t be stressed and relaxed at the same time! Relaxation/meditation can reverse the harmful effects of stress on our body. In order to illicit the relaxation response we need two things. First, a mental focusing device – your breath, a sound, reciting a phrase or prayer, a guided imagery etc. When we have a mental focusing device we are not thinking. And when we are not thinking we are not stressing. Secondly, we need a passive attitude to our thoughts. Expect your mind to wander, and when it does gently bring it back to your mental focusing device. Check out the Internet for lots of free relaxation and meditation guides. But remember it’s kind of like dress shopping – you have to try them on and if they don’t fit try another!
  7. Find your rhythm! Routine is important for resetting our bodies natural hormonal rhythms. Wake and go to bed at the same time every day. Eat regular meals at regular times.
  8. Make sleep a priority. It is important for repair and rejuvenation. Relaxation before bed can be helpful at lowering cortisol levels to help with falling and staying asleep. If needed, ashwaghanda, magnolia, theanine, phosphatydyl serine can help calm an over active stress response and improve sleep. *
  9. Disconnect to reconnect! We are always connected and always on. Set boundaries with your tablets and cell phones. It is hard to be in the present moment when we are always wired and this adds to our stress.
  10. Supplement with adaptogens! Adaptogens are herbs that help your body adapt and handle stress. Some of my favourite include Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola, Cordyceps, and Holy Basil to name just a few.*

**Always check with your health professional to determine which adaptogens and herbs are most appropriate for you and to ensure no interactions with medications or health conditions.

Still feeling overwhelmed? Contact us to make your next appointment. We are here to help you live well, love life.