Ever have those mornings, where you look into your coffee cup and BEG your “bean juice” to be ENOUGH??
Enough, to overcome the poor sleep. Enough, to instill that triumphant attitude we equate with success. Enough, to fix the broken washing machine. Enough, to reward you with the funds to cover the renovations on your home. Enough, to magically turn you into “parent of the year” and transform your kids into self-sustaining members of society!
It’s only the wee hours of the morning, and already I have imagined up a thousand different scenarios for my day, and determined my course of action, based on a bunch of perceived outcomes! I like to call this stressful phenomenon “Perkatory” (see what I did there)!
Before we charge off, on our caffeine-fueled mission to execute dozens of stupid ideas (swiftly, mind you), let’s take a look at what the brain is doing, in response to all this stress…..
Deep within the brain, exists an almond-sized structure responsible for connecting the nervous system to the endocrine system (via the pituitary gland). Key functions include: body temperature regulation, hunger, parenting behaviors, thirst, fatigue, sleep, and circadian rhythms.
When a person feels stressed, or perceives a threat to well-being, the hypothalamus stimulates the pituitary gland to signal the adrenal cortex, and produce CORTISOL. While this is a necessary function to preserve life, prolonged levels of elevated cortisol, in the body, can yield many detrimental effects:
Elevated blood pressure
Death of brain cells (What??)
Elevated blood sugar levels
Weight gain, specifically increased abdominal fat (Oh, H@$$ NO!)
The breakdown of collagen (There’s a reason why your skin is starting to resemble crepe paper!)
Decreased thyroid function (Are you crying, yet?)
What can we surmise from this information? …
CORTISOL IS THE DEVIL!
(We could end this article here, but we’d be discounting the fact, that some cortisol is necessary for daily function and survival! So, put away your Xanax, and let’s talk about balancing Cortisol levels!)
It goes without saying, that by reducing stress, we reduce cortisol levels! (Easier said than done-right?)
Experts give the following tips to battle chronic cortisol levels:
Get more sleep!
(Even while I write this, I am laughing! “Ha-who makes these suggestions?”)
Now, let’s talk about some simple measures we can all realistically implement!
Magnesium is a POWERHOUSE nutrient, effecting everything from energy levels and cell function, to sleep and mood! Add magnesium into your supplementation regimen and reap immediate benefits! (A note of caution-too much magnesium can cause digestive upset, so be conservative in your starting dose! Most experts recommend 400 mg, for the average adult, per day.) I prefer to take the powder form, mixed with hot chamomile tea (because, quite frankly-it tastes bitter without it). Your timing is important, here! Drinking your warm magnesium “toddy” prior to sleepy time yields a higher quality of sleep! I also soak in it, from time to time, adding the magnesium crystals or oil to my bathwater. Viola! Instant muscle pain reliever!
GABA (aka “momma’s chill pill)
GABA, in the body, is a neurotransmitter that “shuts down” the stress response, in a manner of speaking! It’s like your body’s own version of sedative! Way to go, body! You can also take the supplement form of this substance, via soft chews and quick-dissolve tabs! Relief is fast and effective! I cannot stress the need for this supplement enough! If you need to “adult”, you need GABA in your life! (Another word of caution: too much of this can cause anxiety-like symptoms, including feeling jittery, nausea, vomiting, and anxiety.) Most recommended doses start at 250 mg, per day.
This one may be a little unexpected, but stress or no stress, most of us can benefit from adding omega-3 supplementation into our daily diet! We tend to be sufficient in meeting our daily need of Omega-6, and less able to intake the proper amount of Omega-3! This imbalance actual plays a part in increasing inflammation in the body. Therefore, taking a good Omega-3 supplement can actually reduce inflammation, and reduce the workload placed on your exhausted adrenal glands! (A helpful tip: take your Omega-3’s with your fattiest meal, to increase its availability in the body!) The current recommendation is 500 mg of EPA and DHA (Please note: we don’t absorb every milligram of supplement that we ingest, therefore it is generally advised to take approximately 2000 mg of Omega-3, daily, for most healthy individuals.) Symptoms that can occur at too high a dose: nausea, heartburn, nosebleeds, loose stools, and rash. (Helpful tip: store Omega-3’s in the freezer to reduce the possibility of belching!)
There you have it! A few simple tips to manage stress and decrease those cortisol levels! Now, go put on real shoes; throw your hair up into a “ghetto-bun” (much less work than its counterpart, the “messy bun”), and accept that “parent of the year award”! You ROCK!
Christine Dale is a Bachelor’s level Registered Nurse, and Master Injector for Simply Beautiful Medical Spa, of Arkansas. Together, she and her husband, have five children! Christine enjoys blogging about aesthetic procedures and health, and spends most of her free time: reading about medical-aesthetic procedures and advancements, as well as attending educational and training opportunities, to build her skills. She and her husband also enjoy: parenting, fishing, hunting, and adventuring Arkansas’ beautiful wilderness!