Stress – it’s a symptom of modern life, but how well do you cope with the stresses you face daily?
A lot of people associate a ‘meltdown’ with a traumatic event like a job loss, a break up, or even death, but often these events are just the final straw after months of chronic stress from everyday life.
If you’re constantly feeling stressed out, it can lead to something much more damaging to your health – adrenal fatigue.
Natural Stress Relief
- Hydrate – drink eight glasses of filtered water daily. Sounds simple enough? But staying adequately hydrated is important for your stress response. All of your organs, including your brain, need water to function properly. Studies show being dehydrated by just 500mL can increase your cortisol (stress) levels.
- Avoid caffeine – including coffee, tea and caffeinated soft drinks. Caffeine causes your adrenal glands to release adrenaline, giving you a temporary boost, but can make you feel fatigued and depressed later. Caffeine has a half-life of 4-6 hours. You can then end up in a fluctuating cycle of highs and lows, relying on more caffeine to get you through the day. By the evening you’ll be wired and tired – agitated and exhausted, but unable to sleep. Caffeine also increases your body’s level of cortisol, which can lead to other health consequences like weight gain, moodiness, heart disease and diabetes.
- Practice mindfulness while eating – chew well, eat slowly and don’t drink with meals (drink 15 mins prior, or one hour after). Every time you eat is an opportunity to stop, sit down, check in with how you’re feeling and take time out to nourish your body. Being mindful while eating helps to avoid making the poor choices, overeating and aids digestion. My simple rules: don’t eat in front of the TV and never eat on two feet.
- Eat natural whole foods daily – include lots of organic fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as good quality proteins and fats. Wholefoods are chocka-block full of nervous system loving nutrients, minerals and antioxidants. Superfoods such green tea, berries, salmon, broccoli and turmeric are also beneficial for their high levels antioxidants and anti-inflammatory
- Move your body daily – Enjoy a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate activity every day. Go out for a walk in the morning or afternoon sun and get a healthy dose of vitamin D.
- Maintain a healthy weight – avoid foods that are highly inflammatory and lead to weight gain, this includes: sweets, refined foods and processed foods. Instead snack on nutrient dense wholefoods, that keep you satiated for longer such as: raw almonds, fresh fruit, yogurt, or hummus and carrot sticks. These low GI foods are also perfect snacks for maintaining a balanced blood sugar level, which can impact stress levels.
- Get plenty of good quality sleep – ensure a minimum of 8-9 hours of sleep per night. Remember, it’s the hours before midnight that count and yes quality is just as important as quantity.
- Prioritise regular relaxation practices – try Tai Chi, Yoga or Meditation. Find something that works for you to take your mind off what stresses you. These free mediations from ABC’s LifeMatters have been helpful for me and there are so many apps available now that offer guided meditation practices at your fingertips. Apps include: Headspace, Calm or Insight Timer.
- Take natural medicines – a good quality, practitioner recommended vitamin and mineral supplement which contains antioxidants, plus a good quality high-dose fish oil will help nourish your nervous system. There are many herbs that can also aid your stress response, find our three favourite stress relieving herbs here. Our Herb Bar Naturopaths can help with individualised herbs and supplements that are specific to your needs.
- Plan regular holidays – break the year up into manageable chunks. Planning regular mini-breaks, particularly for special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays to give yourself something to look forward to and add some excitement to your daily routine.
Do you want to find out how to keep your stress and adrenal fatigue under control naturally?
Click here to access our free guide on treating stress and adrenal fatigue.