Stress is a result of our bodies responding to a situation whether it be negative (fear or injury) or positive (love and excitement). Regardless the nature of your stress whether physical, mental, social or emotional it is how our body responds to the stressor that is essential. We naturally need some stress in our lives to motivate us, however it is when we find ourselves in a situation where we are unable to wind down and rest that causes havoc to our adrenal glands. I know all too well what this was like especially when I was working FIFO for 3 weeks at a time.
Cortisol and adrenaline are the main hormones produced by our adrenals during periods of stress. When we cannot switch off this ‘flight or fight’ response it becomes dangerous as our body cannot then switch off the production of hormones leaving us feeling tired, anxious, irritable, and weak. Often people experience gastrointestinal disturbances, sugar cravings and blood sugar disorders as well. This can lead to adrenal exhaustion when our body effectively shuts down, telling us it has had enough and needs to stop, rest, recover and reset.
Reduce your Stress
- Find a hobby or something you enjoy doing (yoga, walking, beach, reading, TV show, video game etc.) that allows you to relax and not think too much. Spend 30 mins doing an activity that you enjoy each day to unwind.
- Lay on your back with your legs up against the wall for 10 mins, to allow blood flow to go to your head and just breathe focusing on your breathing only.
- Become a planner. Start each day off with a list of what needs doing in order of priority making it realistic.
- Eat lots of wholefoods (vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, lean meats, legumes and pulses) to reap the benefits of nutrients and antioxidants.
- Try herbal teas (e.g. camomile, liquorice) which can provide relaxant properties and support your adrenal glands.
- Aim for 8 hours of sleep at night. If you do not get 8 hours of sleep don’t think too much about it, just focus on aiming to get 8 hours sleep the following night.
- Try to avoid TV, phone and computer lights an hour before sleep or at least 30 minutes prior to give your body the best chance of being able to fall asleep.
- Exercise regularly aiming for 30 mins each time – 4 times a week can boost mood.
- Enjoy quality time with friends and family.
- Limit caffeine during stressful periods. If you really need caffeine stick to 1 per day maximum) as caffeine enhances our bodies reaction to stress.
- Take a magnesium and B vitamin supplement to help support your adrenals and calm your nervous system during periods of stress.
- Practicing deep breathing exercises or try meditation can also help you relax and handle stressful situations more effectively.