The holiday season is upon us and with that brings shopping for those perfect gifts, work parties, family gatherings, baking, traveling, school programs, and lack of sleep. Maybe the song title should be changed from “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” to “It’s the Most Stressful Time of the Year”.
All of this added stress can really wreck our stress hormones. Our hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis system has the daunting task of responding to our life’s stressful situations. As part of our body’s stress response, our adrenal glands release the hormones cortisol and DHEA in an attempt to maintain homeostasis. Initial short term stressors may elevate cortisol levels but if prolonged exposure to stress persists this will burden the system and create an imbalance in DHEA and cortisol levels.
The hormone testing we do in our office shows that some people with ongoing stress have elevated cortisol levels, some have imbalanced cortisol levels throughout the day, and others simply have a flattened cortisol level all day. These abnormal cortisol and DHEA levels can create a lot of undesirable symptoms including fatigue, brain fog, irritability, weight gain, poor libido, and food cravings. Our goal in treating this dysfunction is to support the body’s ability to respond to holiday stress and counteract the negative effects of stress hormones in Springfield Missouri.
We recommend adrenal support products by OrthoMolecular that contain a blend of botanicals often referred to as adaptogenic herbs. These herbs include Ashwagandha, Rhodiola, Holy Basil, Schisandra and Eleuthero. These botanicals have a normalizing effect on our stress response and promote balance and harmony of the stress hormones.
When appropriate, our adrenal support products also contain adrenal concentrate. The organ extract from an animal will support the same organ within humans by stimulating its activity. With those patients with flattened cortisol levels, this adrenal concentrate allows them to start feeling better much quicker.
In addition to taking an adrenal support, here are a few other tips for managing this stressful season:
- Limit sugary foods, drinks and alcohol. Food and drinks with high sugar content quickly affects our blood sugar and insulin levels which is taxing on our stress hormones. Alcohol also affects the quality of our sleep.
- Ensure you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Getting less than 7-8 hours per night has significant effects on your immune system, microbiome and your body’s ability to recover.
- Take time for yourself. Schedule in at least one hour weekly for your hobbies/interests such as reading a book, having lunch with a friend, or going to a movie.
- Practice gratitude. With long lists of “to dos” and going non-stop, take a moment daily to reflect on all the things you have to be thankful for. This is a great way to re-presence yourself.
- Incorporate relaxation into your daily and weekly routine. This can be as little as 5-10 minutes of daily meditation, taking a hot bath with epsom salt, practicing yoga, going for a walk or scheduling a massage.
Hopefully by utilizing these tips and taking an adrenal support product the holiday stress won’t wreck your health. Give us a call or stop by and we will determine if Adren-All, Adapten-All, Adrena-Vive or Tru Adapt Plus is the right formula for you.