Your resiliency comes down to a couple of tiny glands sitting on top of your kidneys. These are your adrenal glands and the healthier they are, the more resilient you will be. Their job is to ensure you have enough energy and stamina to take on life’s challenges. When you have been under stress of any kind (physical, mental, financial, relationship, emotional or chemical) for an extended amount of time the adrenals don’t function optimally. If you have fatigue alongside other symptoms like difficulty concentrating, insomnia, inability to lose weight, feeling anxious, allergies, or brain fog. You may find relief in supporting these tiny little warriors. Things like supplements, simple lifestyle changes, and learning to manage your stress can go a really long way in supporting your overall health.
Rhodiola is a potent adaptogen that increases the body’s overall resiliency to stress and helps to normalize bodily functions. It strengthens the nervous system, fights depression, enhances immunity, elevates capacity for exercise, enhances memory, aids in weight reduction, increases sexual function and improves energy levels.
Ashwagandha is another incredible adaptogenic herb that has been used for more than 2,500 years.It is valued for its thyroid modulating abilities, neuroprotective properties, it has both anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties, it strengthens the nervous and immune system health and normalizes mood and energy levels.
Magnesium is one of those supplements that is becoming very well known for its benefits. It is involved in over 600 biochemical processes in the body. The problem with this essential mineral is that most people do not have sufficient levels for optimal health. If you are not supplementing, you are deficient. Refined processed sugar steals away our magnesium, to help the body use it up. Magnesium helps maintain normal muscle and nerve function, keeps heart rhythm regular, supports a healthy immune system, and keeps bones strong. A gradual depletion of nutrients from our soils has left many vegetables with lower levels of magnesium. Deficiency symptoms include muscle cramping, headaches, PMS, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Studies suggest that it can lift energy levels, ease PMS symptoms, combat depression, relieve anxiety, improve sleep, help migraines, aid in cardiovascular conditions and diabetes.
Magnesium glycinate is a great form of magnesium. Glycine is a well-known calming amino acid. This combination has good bio-availability and does not have a laxative effect since glycine is actively transported through the intestinal wall. Due to the calming and relaxing effect of both glycine and magnesium, this combination is lovely to take before bed.
Research has shown that magnesium plays a part in regulating neurotransmitters which are the guys that send messages throughout the brain and body. It may also help with brain functions that reduce stress and anxiety. It is believed to affect the hypothalamus, the part of the brain that helps to regulate the pituitary and adrenal glands. Remember these glands are responsible for the stress response.
Vitamin B Complex, the 8 B vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12 all play an important role in keeping our bodies running well.
These essential nutrients help our bodies convert our food into fuel, helping us stay energized throughout the day. Most people are deficient in B12. B12 protects against dementia, increase immune function, maintain nerves and regenerate cells. B vitamins work synergistically, taken all together in a B-complex has better effect than taking singular B vitamins. Each of the B vitamins play a key role in helping your body manage stress symptoms, anxiety and depression while maintaining a healthy immune system.
Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant helping to protect cells from the damage caused by free radicals. It is required to manufacture glutathione, it enhances immune function, helps with connective tissue formation, protects against heart disease, and nourishes our adrenal glands. Vitamin C is used as a co factor to produce stress hormones. The adrenal glands have the highest concentration of vitamin C in the body. During times of stress, the demand to produce stress hormones increases, so the body naturally has a higher demand for vitamin C. This causes vitamin C stores to be rapidly depleted in stressful situations leading to a higher chance of adrenal fatigue.
Eat a healthy, whole food diet. Try a high fat, low carb way of eating. Get those refined sugars and processed foods out of your cupboards and out of your life! When we eat sugar regularly it can mess with our blood sugar levels and when our blood sugar levels crash we call on the stress hormone cortisol to help bump them up. This over time is tiring on the adrenal glands. Try reducing your caffeine intake, caffeine also raises cortisol levels in the body. So short term caffeine is energy producing but long-term over-consumption may come at a cost. Minimize or eliminate your alcohol intake, this fun friend also wreaks havoc in the body in more ways than one!
Get your beauty sleep ladies! Getting enough sleep is so important, check out the blog post Nighty night, sleep tight... so important for feeling your best! for more information about the importance of sleep!
Move your body daily. This one may sound daunting but moving our body can be as simple as rotating each joint first thing in the morning with a morning stretch. There's a spectrum with exercise just like anything else, intense workouts like running a marathon or being in a crossfit box daily is not ideal for managing stress, it can actually compound stress and makes us feel worn out. Just like being sedentary can be harmful and make us feel heavy and tired too. You need to find that sweet spot, a daily walk, gentle movement, swimming, yoga, dancing there are so many options out there. Find an activity that you enjoy doing, and do more of that! Forcing yourself to be a runner, or to go to the gym, is stressful in itself.
Movement should be enjoyable! I'm social sweater, so if I'm not working out in a group setting... I'm more than likely not working out. But dog walks are my JAM, that I can do solo no prob! Pop in some air pods for a podcast or some great music and I'm happy to walk a few miles.
When you are stressed, move OUTSIDE, find some nature, some natural beauty and soak in some sun! Vitamin D3 is actually a hormone that acts on most cells of the body, Vitamin D deficiency is a big problem in Canada. Adequate Vitamin D levels have been shown to reduce risk of cancer, increase absorption of calcium for bone and teeth health, it can help with seasonal affective disorder, enhance your immune system, diabetes, decrease pains, and aid in wound healing. Vitamin D is found in so few foods, so the main source is SUNSHINE. Most of us certainly do not get what we need, especially in the winter months. So when you can, get out and enjoy the sun but also take a Vitamin D supplement!
Give yourself a break! Ever look at your calendar and already feel overwhelmed by the week to come? Where can you say no, cancel, reschedule? We live in a society where being busy is worn as a badge of honour. Women have so much going on these days, we are super moms trying to do it all, all by ourselves. This is just not possible! When we are trying to do it all... something is suffering. Whether it is our work productivity, our relationships, or our health. We were never meant to be doing it all, this is a story that has been told over time that we really need to stop telling! Saying no doesn't make you a bad person, saying no means you are saying yes to yourself! Asking for help doesn't make you weak or less than. Asking for help makes you smart and more effective! This is a lesson I personally had to learn the hard way.
Community connection is so important for our health and well-being. We so often talk about the fight or flight instinct when it comes to the stress response, but there is also the tend and befriend instinct that encourages people (especially women) to reach out to others during stressful situations. Seeking out our social supports and nurturing others is a wonderful form of stress relief. It has been shown to be just as important as the food you eat, the amount of sleep you get and whether or not you smoke on overall health. Social isolation increases the risk for all causes of death, including cancer, stroke, heart disease, accidents or suicide and having tight ties with family and friends is protective to our physical health. So get out there and connect with the community close to you and live a longer, healthier, stress managed life!
Meditation! It's a game changer, when it comes to stress.
If you've never tried it before don't be intimidated. Start off slow, and with a consistent practise it will pay off! There are plenty of free apps and youtube videos that can help you get started. For now though give this little mindfulness exercise a try.
Set a timer for a desired time (start with 5 minutes!)
1. Bring your awareness to one single point, the breath.
Watch the breath as if you were experiencing
the breath for the first time.
2. In a second or two the mind may start to wander away from the breath and you will have a thought. As soon as you realize your mind has drifted, it means you have stepped into mindfulness.
Being aware of the thoughts you are having... is mindfulness!
3. Now that you have noticed the mind has drifted, with COMPASSION, draw the mind back to the single point of the breath.
4. Perhaps you experience a brief moment or a couple minutes where the mind is suspended. Where there is a soft awareness of the breath but no thoughts.
This is the practise simple, yet effective. If you are interested in learning more check out our Dive Deep program!