How to Lower Stress This Christmas

It is coming up to another busy holiday time called Christmas.  But how do you lower your stress response this Christmas season?

Thanksgiving has passed and the stores are filled with sales for the coming gift-giving season.  Can you feel the stress already?!

Its causes are absolutely everywhere. Would you agree?

When you are suffering from fatigue, you are probably wondering how to get through the next few weeks of the holidays without burning out.  After all your to-do list is getting bigger each day it seems.

Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after escaping the danger.   In today’s culture, our stress response is chronic and does not just happen once in a while.

The main stress hormone is called “cortisol.”  After your adrenaline kicks in, it’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning upon waking, and slowly declines in the  afternoon preparing  your body for sleep.

Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are associated with belly fat, poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity?  No wonder you feel tired if you are in chronic stress mode!

Do you experience any of these? Well, then read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally!


How to Lower Your Cortisol with Food and Nutrients

  1. The first enemy of cortisol balance is sugar.   So it would be wise to reduce this ingredient in our diets for better health and lower your stress response.

  1. High doses of caffeine also increase your cortisol levels. If coffee makes you feel anxious and jittery, then cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest.  Also because fatigue is part of your health complaints, then consider cutting out caffeine and using an alternative drink instead.

  1. Also, being dehydrated increases cortisol. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially if you feel thirsty.  The body requires water for so many functions including giving you more energy.  Don’t stress yourself by being dehydrated.

  1. Eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods; this doesn't just help reduce the stress hormone, it helps all aspects of your health.  These include foods that improve gut health such as probiotic rich, fermented foods such as kefir and sauerkraut along with prebiotic fiber foods found in legumes, whole grains, and some fruits and  vegetables.

Lifestyle Habits to Lower Cortisol

Lifestyle is a big factor in your stress response. 

The following habits you can adapt to reduce stress:

Mindfulness. Many studies show that reducing stressful thoughts and worry reduces cortisol.

Exercise. While intense exercise increases cortisol levels temporarily, it can reduce overall cortisol levels.  Taking a brisk walk will relieve your stress.  But be careful to not overdue it or you will be stressed from the intensity of the exercise.

Sleep.  Sleep reduces cortisol levels and also helps improve your overall health in so many ways.  It is recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night and adapt a sleep routine.

Self Care.  Habits like deep breathing, going for a massage, meditation, reading a good book, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol levels.

Nurture Relationships. Maintaining good relationships and spending time with people you like and who support you is so important.  Staying connected to positive people will inject you with positive energy that helps reduce stress.

Conclusion

Fatigue is linked to an increase in cortisol levels. 

Elevated cortisol levels have several negative impacts on your health. There are many proven ways to reduce levels of cortisol naturally.  In doing so, you can reduce your levels of fatigue and find more energy in your day.

In terms of foods and nutrients, have less sugar and caffeine.  Increase your intake of  water, fruit, vegetables, probiotics, and prebiotics.

Lifestyle factors are huge when it comes to cortisol. To lower yours, exercise (but not too much), get more sleep, relax, and have more fun.

In the comments below, let me know your favorite ways to bust the stress hormone cortisol!

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The Benefits of Lemon Juice

Have you ever thought of drinking lemon and water in the morning?

If you are feeling sluggish in the morning, that could mean that your liver is congested and needs a little help to do its job.


Lemons are considered a liver supporting food by enhancing the function of your liver in the production of bile. It is through this function that your body detoxifies excess estrogens and other toxins.

In order to contract your bile, fat in the diet is required. So think about adding these good fats:

  • olive oil,
  • avocados,
  • eggs or
  • coconut oil to your meals.


Bile is also responsible for disinfecting the colon. Lemons help to rinse the stagnant bile through the intestines. This helps with the health of your digestive tract and decreases toxic bile.


You can do this by adding 1-2 tsp. of lemon juice to 8 ounces of water every morning upon waking.

If you suffer from congestion, lemons are great mucous thinners and also helps with your stomach's production of hydrochloric acid.

Lemons are also a good source of vitamin C which acts as an antioxidant by fighting inflammation in your body.

If you suffer from joint pain, you may find it decreased by adding this protocol every morning.  A former client of mine had this exact experience.

There are many ways to add lemon to your diet. My sister-in-law married into the Greek culture and lemon is a popular ingredient in many dishes. Lemons go onto roasted potatoes, stuffed vine leaves and salads.

Lemons have a low glycemic index. If you are sensitive to blood sugar spikes, lemons should be good food for you to add to your menu plan.

Here is a breakfast idea to which you can add your lemon juice:


Avocado on Toast with  Egg and Lemon

Photo by Trang Doan from Pexels

Serves 1

Ingredients:
1-2 slices of sourdough bread (sourdough rye, or spelt bread, Ezekiel bread)
1 soft boiled egg  (or a scrambled egg)
½ avocado mashed
lemon juice (1 tsp.)
sea salt to taste

Instructions:
1.Soft boil the egg in a small sauce pan with boiling water for no more than 4-5 minutes. Add some vinegar to the water to help soften the shell.  
2. Drain the egg and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Set aside to cool.

3. Toast the bread slice.
4. Mash 1/2 of the avocado and spread onto the toast
5. Squeeze some lemon juice on top to aid digestion
6. Peel the egg and slice on top of the avocado and (if using a scrambled egg, it is easy to spread on toast)

7. Sprinkle with sea salt.

Enjoy one serving.

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Sleep Troubles? How One Nutrient May Be the Key.

What is the one nutrient you may need to improve your sleep?  Magnesium deficiency may be the key.

I use to suffer frequently with irritability, PMS, inability to fall asleep and frequent migraines. I knew that stress played a big role but it took some research and confirmation from a naturopathic doctor that magnesium deficiency was also playing a big role in my symptoms.

Are you finding sleep difficult? Not feeling your best self so you can enjoy your life and be fully present with your friends and family can make life very challenging.


The Problem with Our Food

One of the main minerals required for plant growth is magnesium. There are a total of 17 required. However, there are only three that are used in the modern fertilizers which are potassium, nitrogen and phosphorus.

Why do we suffer from a lack of this one nutrient, magnesium. For one thing it plays a huge role in our overall health. Most of us do not eat near enough foods containing magnesium and due to industrialization, the soil is not as enriched with this mineral as it once was

There is a lack of crop rotation, erosion and continuous use of chemical fertiliizers, pesticides and herbicides which have prevented the ability of the soil to restore the nutrients needed for healthy crops.

Also if you use a water softener then you would want to use other water for drinking such as spring water since the sodium content in the water softener will hinder magnesium levels in your blood when consumed.

The Role of Magnesium

The role of magnesium in our body is numerous and 800 different roles have been identified. No wonder so many health conditions are linked to its deficiency. Our cellular energy depends on enzymes but these enzymes depend on magnesium to do their job.

Here is a list of just a few conditions that magnesium plays a role in:

  • inflammation, 
  • muscle tension,
  • high blood pressure,
  • anxiety and stress,
  • blood sugar sensitivities,
  • vitamin D deficiencies,
  • adrenal fatigue,
  • fibromyalgia,
  • migraines and headaches,
  • insomnia,

The list is much larger but for you, I am sure you can relate to at least one of them.

However, I did want to zero in on sleep. Sleep is so important for energy restoration, cellular repair and detoxification. The more stressed you are, the more magnesium you use up and the harder it is to fall asleep and stay asleep. 

The reason is that magnesium plays a role in the production of melatonin which is the hormone that regulates your sleep and wake cycle. Also if you are experiencing tension in your muscles, it will be difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. So you may want to look at the root cause which could be stress or a diet deficiency.


Here are some foods that are a good source of magnesium:

  • Swiss Chard
  • Kale
  • Collard Greens
  • Asparagus
  • Nuts
  • Whole grains

Eating your foods from an organic source will help with improved nutrient density due to better soil quality and lack of herbicidal sprays. However, if you cannot get organic, you can always take a magnesium supplement.

Also you will need to be able to break down and absorb your food properly with sufficient enzymes and stomach acid in order to absorb the magnesium through your small intestines.

So if you are using an ant acid, you need to be aware that they will hinder your ability to absorb magnesium into your body because you will not be able to efficiently dissolve it in your stomach. Stress will also hinder your body's ability to produce sufficient hydrochloric acid and enzymes for proper absorption. Any gastrointestinal inflammation will impede your ability to have sufficent magnesium for your overall health.

Supplementing with Magnesium

This is why I believe that supplementation is so important and why I always recommend this supplement as a main foundational supplement in your cupboard.

The one that has helped me with tension and improved sleep is magnesium bis-glycinate. This is magnesium bound to an amino acid called glycine to help with absorption. A study in 2016 showed that magnesium bis-glycinate absorbed better than the other forms of magnesium you may have taken called magnesium citrate or magnesium oxide.

So if you are having symptoms such as sleep disturbances, I would suggest keeping a food journal to see how many magnesium containing foods you are getting into your diet and consider supplementation.

5 Steps to Increase Your Energy



Client Support

I provide all my clients with easy access to magnesium bis-glycinate through my online dispensary and it get delivered right to your door.

You can create your own account here at: https://luanaflacco.com/products/ and scroll down to click on the Fullscript dispensary banner.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!

References:

Goh Norman, Magnesium, A Complete Primer, Toronto, CanPrev; 2018


Pawlick, Thomas F., The End of Food. Vancouver; Greystone Books; 2006


Yingting Cao, Shiqi Zhen, Anne W. Taylor, Sarah Appleton,... Zumin Shi (2018.09.21), Magnesium Intake and Sleep Disorder Symptoms,Findings from the Jiangsu Nutrition Study of Chinese Adults at Five-Year Follow-Up LINK: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6212970/

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Why Forest Bathing Relieves Stress

From a very young age, I always enjoyed the forest. Walking through the woods just for the sake of walking and sitting on a log to enjoy my surroundings has always been a fun thing for me to do.


Even in my pre-teen years, I found it a place where my imagination could just take off and I felt very happy there.


I had no idea that this was therapy or that it lowered my cortisol levels which is your stress hormone.


It wasn't until I learned about holistic nutrition that this forest therapy or forest bathing came up as a part of the lifestyle protocols I was to give my clients.


What happens when you just take in the surroundings of the forest?

There are ions in the forest called negative ions. These ions help to counteract all the positive ions that we pick up when we are surrounded by machinery and computers.


You may not realize how all this equipment and the power lines above your home affect your health, immune system and energy and stress levels.


One day when I was really stressed while preparing for my board exam, I went for a walk in the woods. It was so helpful that I actually cried the stress out while I was touching a tree. Can you believe that! 


I was so positively charged that I needed to be grounded to release the stress.  Let me know if you have had this experience.  


Forest bathing is not hiking. It is a whole experience in the forest using all your senses.


Just that act of slowing down and paying attention to the surroundings of nature is very calming and strengthening to your immune system.


If you have a chance to do it sometime, I highly recommend it.


Let me know if you have had this experience and what you think about forest (bathing) therapy.

Enjoy!!

Source: https://www.forestbathingcentral.com/tag/health-benefits-of-negative-ions/

 

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Vitamin D and Your Immune System

Photo by Skitterphoto from Pexels

Most of us know that getting vitamin D is important for bone health and absorption of calcium. But, vitamin D is also important for a:

  • healthy immune system,

  • digestive system,

  • heart and mental health,

  • blood sugar regulation,

  • fertility, and

  • resistance to cancer.

FUN FACT: Inflammation is mostly caused by the response of our immune system.

To ensure you get adequate amounts of vitamin D, you can implement any combination of the three vitamin D sources mentioned below on a weekly basis.

  1. exposure to the sun,

  2. consuming vitamin D containing food (not so much available), and

  3. through supplements

Vitamin D is also known as the “sunshine vitamin” because our skin makes it when exposed to the sun. Vitamin D acts like a hormone! That means it’s produced in one part of the body (e.g. the skin), and travels through to act on another part (e.g. the bones).

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, when you have more than enough, it gets stored in the liver, and isn’t flushed out in the urine like water soluble vitamins such as B and C.

It’s also the most common nutrient deficiency!

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How can I get enough vitamin D from the sun?

Our skin contains “pre” vitamin D. When exposed to UV rays from the sun, this “previtamin” is converted into vitamin D (calciferol).  That's why it's referred to as the "sunshine vitamin."

How much vitamin D your skin makes depends on many things. Location, season, clouds, clothing, all affect the amount of vitamin D your skin can produce from the sun.

One standard recommendation is to get about 5–30 minutes of sun exposure between 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. to the face, arms, legs, or back. This should be done without sunscreen, at least twice a week.

How can I get enough vitamin D from food?

Vitamin D is not naturally found in very many foods. The best sources include:

  • fatty fish and fish liver oils
  • some is also found in beef liver
  • some cheeses
  • and egg yolk

Because these are animal sources, they are in the D3 form. Some are even already converted into 25(OH)D which is thought to be 5 times more potent than the regular D3 form.

Naturally occurring plant sources of vitamin D2 are some mushrooms that have been exposed to the sun. That’s about it

Some foods are "fortified" (which means vitamin D has been added).

  • milk
  • some orange juices
  • breakfast cereals
  • yogurt

It will say on the label how much vitamin D has been added per serving.

Because vitamin D is fat-soluble, you can increase absorption of it from your food if you eat it with some fat (ie. healthy fat such as olive oil).

Between sun exposure and food, it still may be difficult to get even the minimum of 400 IU of vitamin D each day; this is why vitamin D supplements are needed.


LINK:  https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/food-nutrition/food-nutrition-surveillance/health-nutrition-surveys/canadian-community-health-survey-cchs/canadian-adults-meet-their-nutrient-requirements-through-food-intake-alone-health-canada-2012.html#a331

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How can I get enough vitamin D from supplements?

Having enough 25(OH)D in the blood is associated with higher bone density. Studies show that supplementing with vitamin D may reduce the risk of falls and bone fractures

FUN FACT: Fish liver oil contains vitamin D, but not fish oil - it’s the liver that stores vitamin D.

At higher doses, however, vitamin D2 is less potent than vitamin D3.

But before you take vitamin D containing supplements, make sure you check that it won't interact with other supplements or medications you may be taking. Always read your labels, and ask a healthcare professional for advice.

Do not take more than the suggested dosage on the label of any vitamin D supplement, except under medical care.

The maximum amount recommended (for the general population) is 4,000 IU/day. Too much vitamin D can raise your blood levels of calcium (to an unsafe level), and this can affect your heart and kidneys.

The best thing, if you're concerned, is to ask your healthcare professional to do a blood test and make a recommendation about how much vitamin in supplement form is right for you.

Your healthcare practitioner may recommend higher amounts of vitamin D supplementation for a short time while under their care.

Conclusion

Vitamin D is an essential fat-soluble vitamin which; many people have a hard time maintaining adequate levels of vitamin D.  

There are three ways to get enough vitamin D: sun exposure, through certain foods, and in supplements.

I've given you some ideas how you can get the minimum 400-600 IU or vitamin D daily.

If you're concerned, it's best to request a blood test that tests your vitamin D levels to be sure what's right for you. Always take supplements as directed.

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References

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Calm Inflammation for more Energy

The fire within.  Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash

How do you calm inflammation in your body to have more energy?   Your fatigue issues can be connected to inflammation within the body.  

Being overly tired and feeling like “someone pulled the plug on you” is a sign along with other symptoms you may be having.

Scientists are measuring levels of inflammation in our bodies and finding that chronic inflammation can be detrimental to our health.

It is also linked to problems with detoxification within our gut and liver. Symptoms can lead to low immune function, causing a lack of energy and vitality along with the inability to feel well.

However, there is something you can do about it!  Anti-inflammatory foods that are rich in antioxidants are proven to be helpful in reducing inflammation in the body.

Here are some of my top anti-inflammatory food recommendations:

Berries, Grapes, and Cherries​​​​

Are the following sweet foods your favorite?

Berries, grapes, and cherries are packed with fiber, and antioxidant vitamins (e.g. vitamin C) and minerals (e.g. manganese).

Phytochemicals (phyto=plant) such as “anthocyanins” and “resveratrol” are found in these small and delicious fruits.

In fact, berries, grapes, and cherries may be the best dietary sources of these amazingly healthy compounds.

Broccoli and Peppers

Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable that contains the naturally occurring chemical called “sulforaphane.” This anti-inflammatory compound helps neutralize harmful toxins in the Phase 2 liver detox pathway that we are exposed to in our food, water, and air.

Bell peppers, on the other hand, are one of the best sources of antioxidants vitamin C and quercetin.

Be mindful to choose red peppers over the other colors. Red peppers are fully ripe and have more anti-inflammatory properties than the other colors.

Healthy Fats

Choosing the right fats is so important for your health. The fat controversy is still alive and well. It is recommended to keep your daily intake of saturated fats below 10 percent and increase your consumption of unsaturated fats.

However, damaged or “trans fats” are very inflammatory. So it is best to consume more anti-inflammatory foods that are listed below:

fresh avocados

extra virgin olive oil,

small fish (e.g. sardines and mackerel),

and wild fish (e.g. salmon).

Omega 3 foods like chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds.

Green Tea

Green tea contains the anti-inflammatory compound called “epigallocatechin-3-gallate”, otherwise known as EGCG.

EGCG is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease, certain cancers, obesity, and Alzheimer’s. I think we can all use more of this compound, don’t you?

Drinking steeped green tea is great, but have you tried matcha green tea? It’s thought to contain even higher levels of antioxidants than regular green tea.

Turmeric

This list would not be complete without the amazing spice turmeric?

Turmeric contains the antioxidant curcumin.

This compound has been shown to reduce the pain of arthritis, as well as have anti-cancer and anti-diabetes properties.

You can easily add turmeric to your egg dishes, smoothies, soups or teas.

Dark Chocolate

I had to save the best for last! This *may* be slightly more decadent than my #1 pick of berries, grapes, and cherries.

Dark chocolate, with at least 70% cocoa is packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants (namely “flavonols”). These reduce the risk of heart disease by keeping your arteries healthy.

They’ve even been shown to prevent “neuroinflammation” (inflammation of the brain and nerves). Reducing neuro-inflammation may help with long-term memory, and reduce the risk of dementia and stroke.

Make sure you avoid the sugary “candy bars.” You already know those aren’t going to be anti-inflammatory!

Conclusion

There are just so many delicious and nutritious anti-inflammatory foods you can choose. They range from colorful berries, vegetables, and spices, to healthy fats, and even cocoa.

Feeling sick and tired all the time can be reduced by adding these amazing foods to your weekly meal plans. I would love to talk with you about how I can help you do just that. Just click the link below and schedule a free call with me.

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Your Health is Worth It

Are you feeling tired and unable to find the energy you need to do the things you want to do?  This can be so frustrating!  I know you want to be all that you were created to be.

Does this sound like you?

  • You do not bounce out of bed like you use to and feel that you just did not get enough rest.  
  • Falling asleep seems to take forever and once you do, you may wake up one or more times before your alarm.
  • You spend your days feeling stressed with so much to do and can hardly get dinner on the table.   
  • If you could start a new hobby or work more for yourself,  that would help you feel like you were fulfilling your life’s purpose.   
  • Having more energy means you can say yes to a volunteer opportunity at your favorite community charity or church.  Giving back in your community would give you so much joy. If only you could find the energy to do so.
  • You love spending time out with your friends but sometimes you just feel too tired to do so.
  • Taking longer walks or joining an exercise class seems like a chore.  Even too much exercise makes you tired
  • Eating nutritious foods seem boring to you and you struggle to eat from scratch during the week since eating healthy makes you think you need to be a gourmet cook.  Prefab and oven ready is so much easier!
  • You experience digestive and intestinal disturbances no matter what you do to fix your diet.  


No need to suffer, click the button below to book a complimentary End Your Fatigue strategy call.   Let's get acquainted and see if we can work together.


Here are 3 things you can start doing right now:

  1. You need to shut off you screens at least 1 hour before bed.  Blue light interferes with the production of melatonin which prepares you for sleep. That means no bright lights, no TV, no stimulating activities.  

Instead read quietly or drink a calming tea like chamomile or passion flower tea.

  1. Stop eating refined sugar and processed foods.  If you take white or brown sugar out of your diet, you will start to see a big difference in your energy levels.  

Sugar is in so many things.  Added sugars are detrimental to your health in the form of processed foods and drinks containing empty calories and lacking nutrition.

Sugar contributes to a lot of fatigue issues.  When your body has too much sugar in your blood, the result is inflammation and unstable blood sugar which leads to fatigue.  Food labels to watch for contain fructose, sucrose, dextrose, glucose and high fructose corn syrup.

  1. Drink more water.  

Water helps to detox your body, metabolize nutrients and hydrate your cells.  Just drinking ½ your weight in ounces of water per day can help you to feel better.


If you want a strategy that works this time, book your free End Your Fatigue strategy call with me by clicking the button below.

You feel your best years are behind you and just want to feel well.  But what does well feel like since you have settled for feeling so tired all the time.  It seems normal.

Do you have some of these symptoms?

  • Catching a cold is the norm and when you do get sick, it seems to take a month for you to get back to yourself again.  Only then you fear getting another virus that will keep you from your goals.
  • Sore throats
  • chest colds
  • laryngitis
  • occasional fevers every year are just no fun and you think that this is normal for you at your age.


You spend at least $200 a month on supplements and you feel you have chosen the ones for you but still you have not found the solution to your problems.


If only you could find a solution!  You know your hormones are out of whack and your immune system is not the best.   Where is that magic pill?


You turn to Google searching for answers. However, you continue to be groping in the dark with quick fixes that never bring you lasting results.  It like “throwing spaghetti at the wall.”


No more groping in the dark and hoping.   Book your complimentary End Your Fatigue strategy call with me by clicking the button below.  Let's talk. No obligations. Let's get acquainted.

I sympathize with what you are going through.  After I turned 40 it seemed all downhill from there.  My body started turning on me too. I needed to learn the right way to nourish myself and eliminate the irritating foods until my body was better able to digest them.  

I needed accountability and a coach to help me find my way. I needed education about my hormones and digestive system.

If you haven’t joined my closed Facebook Support Group yet, please click Here.

I know you want to live your fullest potential.  You know you need help but fear of failure is holding you back.  

Investing in your health is what will give you the ability to move forward but you are scared of spending your hard-earned money in the wrong places and seeing very little results.

What you need is a system or a Roadmap.  If someone could give you a Roadmap to get to where you need to go, you would take it right?

You’ve been to your MD and probably a naturopath but need a better Roadmap and coaching partner.  Someone that will give you the steps to take, accountability and encouragement along the way


Take a minute to book your free End Your Fatigue strategy call with me by clicking the button below.

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3 Ways Stress Can Mess With Your Health and Energy

Photo by Matteo Vistocco on Unsplash

Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.  This type subsides after the cause of the stress is over which is usually short-term.

It's the chronic stress that's a problem.  It is these stress reactions that are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health and cause unwanted symptoms of headaches, illness, sleepless nights and weight gain.

Stress may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).

Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.

Let's dive into the 3 effects of  "stress mess."

Effect #1 Immunity

It’s that time of year when the weather is changing that adds more stress to your system.  This is when you need to be careful to support your body or you could end up getting sick.

It’s bad enough when you do not have enough energy on a daily basis but to get sick on top of it makes life more challenging.

Did you notice that you get sick more often when you're stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?

Well, that's because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.

Did you hear that 70% of your immune system resides in your gut?  

Effect #2 Gut Health

Stress puts a strain on your intestinal microbiome otherwise known as the ecosystem of your gut bacteria and gets it out of balance.

Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as "intestinal permeability." These "leaks" can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.

The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other. These are called gap junctions.

Picture this: Have you ever played "red rover?" It's where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right through.  

Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in creating the imbalance in your intestinal system which leads to these gaps in the lining being open too long!

This can lead to a host of health problems relating to your fatigue issues including painful joints, allergies and skin conditions.

Effect #3 Poor Sleep Quality

So many women I talk to are not sleeping well.  I think we have too much on our minds and list of things to do don’t you?  The amount of stress we as women have can be detrimental to our sleep.

Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.

And when you don't get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.  

More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health.  Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren't doing you any favors especially when you wake up feeling exhausted.

If you have read this far and are interested in getting on a call with me to discuss how to increase your energy and reach your health goals, click on the button below for a complimentary 30-minute call.  No obligations. Let's talk.

Stress Busting Tips

Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step to fighting fatigue and other health challenges.

Can you:

  • Put less pressure on yourself?

  • Ask for help?

  • Say "no"?

  • Delegate to someone else?

  • Finally, make that decision?

No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:

  • Deep breathing

  • Meditation

  • Walk in nature

  • Unplug (read a book, take a bath)

  • Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)

  • Connect with loved ones

Please click on the button below for a complimentary 30-minute call.  No obligations. Let's talk.

Conclusion

Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realize.

Stress has been shown to increase  affect your immune system, gut health and sleep quality.

There are things you can do to both reduce the stressors and also to improve your response to it.

Be aware of what is causing your stress and eliminate one thing that is not serving you well.

You can bust through the stress with less!

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Stress and the Fatigue Connection


Stress!! Can it it lead to adrenal fatigue?  

Did you know that your fatigue issues may be connected to stress?

Does this sound like you? You are stressed and cannot sleep. You are constantly tired and crave sweets and even salty foods?  

Stress is a physical and emotional reaction to danger either real or not.  Even the day to day demands on our time cause the same stress response in our bodies as real danger.

Since your adrenal glands produce stress hormones, adrenal fatigue is a common subject matter these days.

Your adrenal glands look like walnuts that live on top of both of your kidneys. These important glands produce many hormones, including stress hormones.

But what happens when they become “overworked?”

The fight or flight response to physical danger causes an increase in the hormones adrenaline and cortisol.  This is your body's normal reaction to stress.

Stress can sometimes be positive when it helps us avoid dangerous situations like crashing into a vehicle in traffic.  Our heart rate increases and we are given the strength to respond on demand.

After a short time, the fight or flight response dissipates and your body goes back to normal.

But what would happen if you felt constant stress? Like all day, every day? This is called “chronic” stress.  

Too many women like you are living in chronic stress. Why do you think that is? Maybe there is just too much to do in a given day.

What do you think happens to your poor adrenal glands when they’re constantly working?   Have you ever felt this rush of “false energy”? This is another reason you may feel “wired but tired”. 



Do You Have Adrenal Fatigue?

When your adrenal glands start getting tired of secreting stress hormones day in and out, you can start getting other symptoms:

  • fatigue,
  • difficulty sleeping,
  • mood swings,
  • weight loss or gain,
  • joint pain,
  • sugar cravings,

And even frequent infections like colds and the flu are signs that your adrenals are probably overworked.

There are no medically accepted blood tests for adrenal fatigue. In fact, it's not recognized by most medical professionals until the point when your adrenals are so fatigued they almost stop working. At that point, the official diagnosis of "Adrenal Insufficiency" or "Addison's Disease" may apply.

However, if you do have symptoms, you should see your doctor to rule out other conditions. He or she can give you some wellness strategies that can help to reduce your stress (and symptoms).



What To Do If You Have These Symptoms?

There are many actions you can take to reduce your stress and improve your health and energy levels.

Stress reduction is key to overcoming fatigue issues. There are tons of ideas how you can reduce your stress. My favorites are:

  • scheduling your day ahead of time so you you don’t have to think about it.  I just look at my day planner and see exactly what I am to being doing and where I am to be.   
  • Practicing quiet time (even for just 20 minutes is so important.)
  • Deep breathing
  • Walking in nature, 
  • Go to bed earlier and sleep longer (7-8 hours)
  • taking a bath.
  • spend time with friends
  • Plan a fun activity


Of course, I also recommend reducing sugar and processed food intake and eating more fruits and vegetables. Better nutrition can only help your body. So make sure to prioritize this in your life.




Conclusion

Your adrenal glands produce hormones in response to stress. Adrenaline is released for only a few seconds.  After that cortisol is the main hormone released in a stress response.

After long-term daily stress, your adrenals may get tired.  It is sustained high cortisol that is the problem. Normal levels are fine since it is what wakes you up in the morning.

Adrenal fatigue is a controversial disease that doesn’t have a true diagnostic test, nor specific evidential symptoms.

The most important thing you can do is to get tested to rule out other potential conditions. You can also try stress reduction techniques like meditation, walks in nature, light exercise, more sleep, or even a calming bath.

Photo by Jared Rice on Unsplash

Recipe (Stress-reducing bath salt):
Lavender Bath Salts

Per bath

2 cups Epsom salts

10 drops lavender essential oil

As you're running your warm bath water, add ingredients to the tub. Mix until dissolved

Enjoy your stress-reducing bath!

Tip: You can add a tablespoon of dried lavender flowers.


References:

https://www.thepaleomom.com/adrenal-fatigue-pt-1/

https://www.dietvsdisease.org/adrenal-fatigue-real/

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Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep to Beat Fatigue

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

Would you like to know the five ways to improve your sleep?  Not getting the rest you need can make you feel “tired and wired”.  Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?

 Lack of sleep affects just about everything in your body and mind.  People who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for so many health issues like

  • diabetes
  • heart disease
  • certain types of cancer;
  • slower metabolism,
  • weight gain,
  • hormone imbalance,
  • and inflammation. 

And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.

Even if you want to exercise, lack of sleep can interfere with your energy to even start.

So what are the three main purposes of sleep?

  1. To repair and detoxify our body
  2. To improve our brain's ability to learn and remember things, also known as “synaptic plasticity”.
  3. To conserve energy so we can function in our lives and do the activities we need to do.

You may be surprised that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep every night.  I think we can all work on that one! Agreed!  But how do you even start!?


Five Ways to Improve Your Sleep

1. Establish a Regular Sleep Schedule

Get yourself into a consistent sleep schedule.  Make it a priority and you're more likely to achieve it.  This means turning off your lights 8 hours before your alarm goes off.  Every. Single. Night. I know weekends can easily throw this off but by making sleep a priority for a few weeks your body and mind will adjust and thank you for it.


2. Balance Your Blood Sugar

Balance your blood sugar throughout the day.  Eat less refined and processed foods and more whole foods (full of blood-sugar-balancing fiber).  Choose the whole apple instead of the juice.  Include protein in every meal.  Also a bit of fat at the meal in the form of olive oil, coconut oil or nuts will also help to balance your blood sugar with your meal.


3. Expose Yourself to Light

During the day get some sunshine and exercise.  If you are in the winter months with less sun, try exposing yourself to light by using something like a HappyLight which you can buy on Amazon.  These things tell your body it's daytime; time for being productive, active and alert.  By doing this during the day it will help you wind down more easily in the evening.  


4.  No Caffeine After Noon

If you drink  coffee, limit your caffeine and added sugar intake until after 12 pm.    Both caffeine and added sugar can keep your mind a bit more active than you want it to be in the evening. Try calming teas at night like chamomile or peppermint tea.


5. Dim the Lights One Hour Before Sleep

Have a relaxing bedtime routine that starts 1 hour before your “lights out” time (that is 8 - 10 hours before your alarm is set to go off).  This would include dimming your artificial lights, turning off your screen time and perhaps reading a hand-held book or having a bath.

These are not full proof if there are other underlying causes such as abdominal discomfort or adrenal fatigue that needs to be addressed.  

If you feel you need more individualized care to support you in restoring these functions, please book a call with me and we will see if we can work together.


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