Stress Signs for Women: Top Tips for Relief

Stress Signs for Women: Top Tips for Relief

signs of stress for womenStress and anxiety go hand in hand. Addressing those physical stress signs for women is an important part of forging a healthy holistic lifestyle.

When we are under stress, there is a domino effect of chemical reactions in the body that cause our entire nervous system to feel shaken up.

There are also a whole host of physical stress signs for women that can show up before you may even realize just how much stress you are under.

These physical discomforts may seem like a mystery in terms of why you're having them, It is common to mistake the symptoms of stress to mean something is really wrong, but in most cases, it is your body signaling that there is something happening that is causing high levels of stress.You may wish to see your health care practitioners to first rule out any true medical issues.

There are many holistic healthy ways to manage stress signs for women so that you can feel empowered to build a plan for prevention and relief.

(There are links to other sites for resource reference, some of which are affiliate links which will yield small commission to us if you choose to make a purchase).

Top Tips for addressing  some of the physical stress signs for women

1. Handling Headaches

Headaches often have biological reasons including food allergies or hormone imbalance and interestingly those factors can also one of the many stress signs for women.

Special Neck Stretches

  • When stressful events or situations arise, we often automatically, naturally tighten our muscles, This is a natural reaction for the body because when our ancestors realized a grizzly bear was chasing them they needed those muscles to tighten in order to run fast or climb a tree. But muscle tension in the neck and shoulders (where a lot of us carry our stress) can cause terrible headache pain. Try gentle neck stretches on a regular basis.

Consider Food Sensitivity

  • Turn to your nutritional choices. Keep a  detailed food journal to track what you are taking in and any symptoms that show up.

An Essential Oil Blend

  • A particular blend of the essential oils of wintergreen, lavender, peppermint, frankincense, cilantro, marjoram, roman chamomile, basil, and rosemary applied to the hair line and base of skull can bring almost immediate release because this blend relaxes the muscles of the scalp and opens the capillaries. This roll on blend works really well.

Plenty of H²O

  • Staying hydrated is an important way to ensure proper circulation and head off headaches at the pass. Studies have shown drinking plenty of water can relieve headache symptoms if you have early signs of dehydration within 30 minutes to three hours.

B Vitamins

  • B-complex vitamins contain all eight of the B vitamins and are a safe, cost-effective way to naturally prevent and treat headache symptoms.

2. Mitigating Muscle Pain

As mentioned above, muscle tension is one of the common stress signs for women. You can develop chronic pain in your muscles throughout your body. As a yoga instructor over the past 20+ years I can share with you that most people don't have awareness of their muscle tension until they are in so much pain they feel desperate for relief.

Scan for Tension

  • My top tip, especially for women over age 40, is to make it a practice of tuning in to your body, scanning for even mild levels of tension before it develops into pain. Chances are you are feeling stressed from pressures in your life and work and you are staying in particular physical positions for too long. This can cause serious damage to your muscles and your joints over time.

Take Breaks From Sitting

  • Set a timer for 30 minutes when you sit down to work and when the timer goes off, get up, stretch in all directions and go for a 1 minute brisk walk around the room or better yet step outside for some fresh air, look up at the clouds and the tree tops to stretch your neck and go for a 5 minute quick walk swinging your arms.

Daily Stretch-Walk-Stretch

  • We all know regular exercise is recommended. Create a daily routine that includes regular consistent stretching before and after your strengthening or cardio exercise. Try gentle yoga postures in the morning taking your time, breathing slowly and deeply as you stretch.

Magnesium

  • The right kind of magnesium can help your muscles naturally relax. Try an Epsom Salt Bath, soaking in the tub for 20-20 minutes with 1-2 cups of these salts dissolved into your very warm bath water. You also can take a chelated magnesium glycenate in capsule form or you can try this magnesium citrate supplement called Calm dissolved into warm water before bed time.

3. Ease Irritable Bowel Syndrome

One of the stress signs for women shows up in the gut. It was found that irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects 51% of women in a 2007 research study. IBS can be very painful and inconvenient. There is cramping, diarrhea, sometimes constipation and is often tied to stress. If you have noticed that you can't eat your favorite foods, or you find yourself in the bathroom more often than normal, you may have IBS.

Identify Food Sensitivities

  • Completely eliminate what nutrition experts say are the most common food allergens for a three month period. Those food allergens are dairy, yeast, gluten eggs, corn, soy, and peanuts. After the 3 month period, slowly reintroduce one food per week to detect which cause symptoms. When I eliminated all of these foods for just one week I noticed relief from my own IBS symptoms which showed me I definitely have food sensitivities and this realization helped me to begin a detective pursuit for answers.

Try Digestive Enzymes

  • Assist your digestive system by introducing enzymes before you take your meals which may help ease your IBS symptoms of gas and bloating.

Eat Fermented Foods for Good Gut Bacteria

  • These foods contain all the healthy bacteria your intestines need for proper digestion. Try kombucha drinks, sauerkraut, or kimchi.

Daily Meditation

  • Scientific studies show mindfulness meditation helps alleviate symptoms of IBS in women. Go here to watch my meditation instruction video and read about the benefits.

4. Eliminate Insomnia

Between hormone imbalance that comes along with mid-life and phases of menopause and the pressures and worries of life, insomnia is another of the stress signs for women. And when your sleep is disrupted exhaustion further stresses your mind and body. Ensuring a good night's sleep and eradicating insomnia requires some dedicated practices. Here are just a few of my top tips.

Create Rhythm and Routine:

  • Our minds and bodies prefer predictable rhythm and when we get out of our routine it can cause stress. Likewise, the stresses of life can throw us off rhythm. Consciously create a schedule that allows you to observe a specific sleep-prep routine by winding down your day an hour earlier than you normally do to build in time for your mind and body to slip into sleep. Observe your commitment to this schedule and guard it with your life.

Turn Off Electronics

  • Keep them out of the bedroom and stop looking at all screens one hour prior to bed time. The light emitted from screens activates your brain possibly producing a boost in cortisol which keeps you alert.
  • Get Hydration In Before 7 pm

  • You do need to make sure you are consuming plenty of water during the day but try to get it in before dinner and then have a cup of soothing organic herbal tea after dinner to begin winding down your mind and body for the day. If you drink a lot of fluids right before bed time you'll be awakened by a full bladder.
  • Keep Room Cool & Dark

  • It's been shown in studies that we sleep better when the temp is cooler as long as you have appropriate covers. And be sure any light sources are turned off or covered well.
  • Calm Your Cortisol Levels

  • There are certain herbs shown to calm the activating chemical often known as the stress hormone called cortisol. Here is one product called Cortisol Manager that I have had good result with, taken after dinner with my night time tea.
  • Don't Toss & Turn

  • If you find yourself waking between 2 and 4 am experts say this is related to your cortisol and possibly blood sugar levels. Don't stay in bed tossing and turning if you're full awake. Go to another dark room and sit up in the dark and try to do some deep slow breathing before returning to bed. Otherwise your frustration with inability to sleep will only cause more stress keeping you more awake.

Addressing the stress signs for women requires an action plan!

Creating an active plan for consciously relaxing your body and mind is so very important for your health. It's important to have a PLAN you can follow for your self-care.

Contact me for a complimentary free holistic lifestyle consultation to discuss your self care needs and how I might help you create your personalized plan.

 

10 Tips for Nourishing Your Adrenal Glands

10 Tips for Nourishing Your Adrenal Glands

nourishing adrenal glandsIf you are tired of feeling tired, sick of feeling sick or just ready to kick the stress cycle, you need these tips for nourishing your adrenal glands that I'm going to provide for you here today.

I've learned a lot about chronic stress especially over the past 3 years. Life happens and in my career as a psychotherapist treating families, children, couples and individuals since 2002, I've seen how the stresses of life affect people. And, I have had some really stressful events in my own life that pushed my health to the brink as a result.

Today I'm going to share with you what I have learned after 3 years of experience and study about the adrenal glands, stress and how your daily habits can either drive you into the ground, or nourish and nurture your body, mind and spirit.

If we were able to have some kind of magical scanner to look at the adrenal glands of just about any woman who lives a busy life, has raised children or has had a busy career we would see that her sweet little adrenal glands are TIRED. And when they get tired over time, they can't function as well as they used to. When those adrenals are tired we start relying on short term habits that actually just deplete the adrenals further.

I've been studying something called "adrenal fatigue." For women in this society it's all too common.

Here are some signs your adrenal glands need your help:

  • You feel tired ... almost all the time
  • You wake in the night between 2 and 4 am
  • You feel groggy and notice it's hard to get out of bed in the morning, even when you got to bed at a reasonable hour
  • You are dependent on coffee first thing to function
  • You often feel rundown
  • Your brain feels foggy - your memory is weak
  • You feel overwhelmed
  • You crave salty or sweet foods

So what do you do? Well, you should consult with a functional medicine doctor who has an in-depth understanding of this concept of adrenal fatigue because there are lab tests that can be run to identify exactly where you are on the spectrum of adrenal deficiency. Typically particular lab results would show that your cortisol levels are too high at night and not high enough in the morning.

The good news is there are some healthy lifestyle habits you can observe to help in the process of nourishing your adrenal glands.

After working with 9 different healthcare practitioners over the past 3 years, I've got some very clear answers finally.

10 Tips for Nourishing Your Adrenals:

1. Make Quality Sleep Your TOP Priority.

Take this very seriously. You need to ensure you are getting enough quality sleep every night. Sleep deprivation is a chronic and pervasive problem in our society. The health practitioners I have worked with indicate women truly need 8 hours of solid sleep without interruption every night. Build your schedule and your family's routine around your absolute need to get your sleep. Back up your bed time, make sure the temp in your room is cool and darken the light sources. Read more about how to get a good night sleep here.

2. Program Your Brain to Focus on the Lighter Side of Life.

Dr. Christiane Northrup says, "If you...regularly pay attention to areas of your life that bring you joy and fulfillment, you will evoke biochemical changes in your body over time that will recharge your adrenal batteries." I recommend you brainstorm a list or create a vision board with images that contains all of the people, places, things, memories, events that bring you a feeling of lightness and joy. Take a photo of it and use it as your wall paper on your phone. Look at it often. Pin it up in a prominent place in your house. When your mind goes to stressful thoughts, consciously change the channel in your mind to focus on the lighter side of life.

3. Load up on Greens Every Day.

The center of your meals needs to be leafy greens when you are nourishing your adrenal glands. Spinach, broccoli, romaine, arugula, kale, mustard greens, collard greens, dandelion greens, watercress, parsley, celery. Rotate the kinds of greens you are eating and eat them at every meal. You also can drink your greens in a smoothie. The phytonutrients in greens provide your adrenals with all they need to heal and grow strong again and there are so many other health benefits to making greens the headliner of every meal.

4. Kick the Sugars and White Foods to the Curb.

I have learned that there is a vicious cycle with these guys. When your adrenals are taxed, you'll crave these sweet and salty white carbs because when you eat them you feel better. . . for a few minutes. . . and then you crash. It's an addictive cycle, honestly. And we gotta stop that habit. Read labels. Aim for whole foods not refined and processed. If you have a craving for sweet, eat a teaspoon of pure almond butter on a celery stick or an apple slice. You can use pure stevia or monk fruit sweetener in moderation to satisfy the desire for sweet treats.  Sugar and all things that turn to sugar in the body (white flour breads, pastas, etc.) have an exhausting and draining effect on the adrenals.

5. Rethink the Drink.

Alcohol is hard on the body. It's a huge part of our culture and apart and aside from the issue of addiction and alcoholism, casual drinking on a regular basis taxes the adrenal glands. In order to heal and invest in nourishing the adrenal glands, it's important to eliminate alcohol consumption for a while. Once you have healed you can always return to having an occasional glass of wine or cocktail.

6. Opt for Walks and Gentle Yoga Rather than Hard Workouts.

This one is one of my more recent discoveries. Experts on adrenal deficiency say that hitting the gym hard can actually exacerbate your adrenal exhaustion. When healing your adrenals, you will benefit from getting out every day and just taking a 20-30 minute walk followed by some gentle stretches. My yoga over 40 guided mini gentle sessions will be available soon!

7. Sip on One of These Herbal Teas Before Bed.

Try chamomile herbal tea has been shown in one empirical research study to help decrease anxiety, depression, and all those symptoms of stress when consumed regularly over the course of 2-4 weeks.  Another herbal tea that is from the African red bush,  known as Rooibos, and can have a balancing effect on cortisol.

8. Get Plenty of Magnesium.

You can eat foods naturally rich in magnesium such as leafy greens, avocado, salmon and walnuts but you may also need to supplement. Personally I take magnesium glycerinate before bed every night. You also can apply magnesium oil to the bottoms of your feet at night before sleep. Magnesium is an important agent in nourishing adrenal glands, relaxes the muscles and nerves, and promotes quality sleep.

9. Create No-thing time on your calendar and Practice Saying "No."

I have to keep working on this one myself. I have learned (still learning!) that we need to accept that there is only so much time in a day. Think of your time as a pie. You can divide that pie into as many pieces as you want but it's still the same amount of pie as a whole. I have also learned that our fast-paced, tech-driven society pushes us to do more, more, more! Yet, we have to consciously choose to slow it all down. Examine your calendar and your list of to-do's and consider that maybe you could take some of that off your plate. When people ask you to go somewhere or show up for something or take on a new task, instead of defaulting to "Yes!" try, "I promised myself as a part of my own self care that I will take a day to think about any request that comes my way before saying whether I will or won't be able to participate." Or, you could just practice saying "No thanks!" or "Not at this time." Preserve time in your days for no-thing. No-thing to do right now. No-thing time allows you to be in that moment where you can choose to rest, go for a walk, read a book, listen to music, or whatever feels right then and there.

10. Learn to practice meditation.

There is ample scientific evidence providing that the regular practice of meditation improves brain function, reduces stress and helps with the mind-body connection. I've been practicing meditation for over 25 years and it's the one habit I can say I would not live without. Read and watch more here about what I teach when I'm providing meditation instruction in my retreats and classes.

Nourishing your adrenal glands is a matter of releasing old habits that are doing your body harm and embracing new daily practices consistently. It's a good idea to be under a functional medicine doctor's care to monitor your hormone balance along with living a holistic lifestyle and having a plan for your self care.

Contact me for your complimentary holistic lifestyle consultation so we can discuss your personal self care plan.