by Hannah Kuenzi –
Does this daily planner look familiar? Odds are, if you’re like the rest of the working population, this type of routine not only looks familiar, it’s your daily routine. You feel like you’re living a seemingly broken record, stuck on skip until Friday at 5 p.m. (TGIF!)
This ongoing chaos and inevitable stress takes a toll on you, but are you aware of how much? According to Dina Aronson, MS, RD in her article “Cortisol – Its Role in Stress, Inflammation, and Indications for Diet Therapy“, featured in Today’s Dietitian, increased levels of the stress hormone cortisol in the body has been linked to a host of health issues including:
- Blood Sugar and Diabetes
- Weight Gain and Obesity
- Immune System and Suppression
- Gastrointestinal complications
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Fertility Problems
With so many serious complications from ongoing stress, it’s never too early to take stress and stress management seriously! Try incorporating these natural stress relievers into your daily life to combat elevated cortisol levels and it’s negative effects.
Exercise and Yoga
One of natures greatest ways to relieve stress, exercise releases mood-lifting endorphins into the brain. If you’re feeling a little tense, a little physical activity may be just the remedy you need for an instantly better mood! A long walk, a hike on a nature path, a soul quenching yoga session, or a quick jog may be just what your body needs to regulate itself.
Healthy Fats & Omega-3s
Healthy fats and omega-3 fatty acids are known to reduce inflammation and stabilize moods. Incorporate nuts, seeds, avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and cold water caught fish such as salmon into your diet to reap the “happy mood” benefits.
Foods High in Calcium
The calcium found in nutrient-rich foods such as yogurt, milk, leafy greens, broccoli, beans/legumes, and nuts has been linked to increased levels of restful sleep. A healthy sleep schedule is crucial when attempting to regulate your stress levels. It looks like mother was right, a warm glass of milk before bed may do just the trick!
Other foods that have been linked to reduced stress levels and increased levels of restful sleep include blueberries, oatmeal, and dark chocolate (which sounds like a yummy dish in and of itself!) (3)*.
Conversely, some foods and beverages may actually enhance the symptoms of stress anxiety. When attempting to manage cortisol levels within your body, be sure to avoid or limit the following:
Sugary/processed snack items
Foods high in sugar cause blood sugar highs and lows. This irregularity can lead to fatigue, moodiness, and anxiousness.
Too much Caffeine or Alcohol
While caffeine is a stimulant and alcohol is a depressant, both can heighten feelings of anxiety. Further yet, caffeine and alcohol both have the ability to interfere with your sleep schedule which is a crucial component to maintaining healthy levels of stress (2)*.
The aromatic effects of essential oils have proven to assist many in inducing feelings of calm. Essential oils can be placed into diffusers or prepared into aromatic baths (click here for a great bath recipe!) for ultimate relaxation. Try the following essential oils for feelings of calming, soothing, and mood uplift:
Adapto-what? Adaptogenic herbs! These super herbs support the body in coping with stressors and other influences by helping to regulate hormones, support the adrenal glands, level nerves, reduce fatigue, and support immunity.
Try adding some of the below adaptogenic herbs to your stress management regimen:
Adaptogens can be brewed into herbal teas or prepared into herbal tinctures such as the Native Remedies product, Adrenoboost.
No matter how you choose to do so, take the time each day to “unwind” and replenish your mind, body, and soul to continue to be the very best you.
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Aronson, Dina. “Cortisol — Its Role in Stress, Inflammation, and Indications for Diet Therapy.” Today’s Dietitian Nov. 2009: 38. Print.
Axe, Josh. “Always Stressed? 8 Natural Stress Relievers To Try.” Dr. Axe. N.p., 01 Nov. 2016. Web. 16 Feb. 2017.
“12 Superfoods for Stress Relief.” Health.com. Health Magazine, n.d. Web. 17 Feb. 2017.