Are you having mood swings, energy loss, acne, and experiencing emotional eating lately?
Your hormones may be playing with you or sending signals that you might have nutritional or hormonal imbalances. As people age, hormones change along with their lifestyle, eating habits, and activities.
The other major reason can also be stress, which can have a huge effect on your hormones. When you’re stressed, your physical, mental, and emotional health gets affected. All these can result in a change in appetite, mood, and weight.
Hormonal imbalance is something that you should pay attention to because the effects can lead to several health conditions, such as irregular periods, infertility, diabetes, hormonal acne, or amenorrhea.
That being said, we’ll discuss in this blog how stress negatively impacts your hormones and some ways to balance them.
The effect of stress to hormones
When you’re stressed, your cortisol level interferes with your body’s insulin ability to balance blood sugar levels.
This can lead to an increase in estrogen that is also linked to irregular periods, painful menstruation, PMS, cysts, fibroids, etc. Or an increase in levels of testosterone, which can delay your body from releasing an egg during ovulation.
INFERTILITY, OVULATION, & MENSTRUAL CYCLE
When the demand for cortisol levels gets too high, the body gets the resources it needs from progesterone, a hormone needed to get pregnant, maintain healthy pregnancy, have a regular menstrual cycle, and reduce PMS symptoms.. This leads to low progesterone levels.
Low levels of progesterone can result in estrogen dominance, which can take effect in the forms of headaches, cysts, painful periods, low libido, mood swings, and weight gain. These symptoms of hormonal imbalance are also associated with PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome).
Stress also affects ovulation, which can cause a change in the length and timing of the period. Either late or early start of menstruation, spotting or heavy periods, and shorter or longer menstrual cycle.
While an increase in cortisol levels can prevent or delay an egg from being released in the uterus, thus interfering with conception.
BURNOUT OR FATIGUE & ADRENALINE DYSFUNCTION
Continuous demand for cortisol output can put a huge strain on adrenal glands, causing adrenal dysfunction and burnout. This is because the adrenal glands get too exhausted from continuous demand to release the cortisol levels into the bloodstream. Then, in due course, it will stop responding, leading to imbalance levels of cortisol.
This condition can make you feel exhausted and unable to sleep well at night.
Hormonal imbalance is a vicious cycle, and different factors affect your hormones.. Mostly what you eat, how you feel & think, and what your lifestyle is. The conditions written above are how your hormones react to stress.
How to support your hormones during stressful days
1. Eat a nutritious and balanced diet
When you’re stressed, you're most likely to eat unhealthy food cravings. Since stress comes in different forms and happens the least you expect it, allowing yourself to “stress eat” is not good for the mind and body.
Most of the foods that you crave when stressed out are packed with added sugar, high amounts of sodium, refined carbs, polyunsaturated fats, trans fats, and unhealthy fats.
So even though you’re really tempted to stress eat, try your best to have a nutritious and balanced diet. Granola with berries is a good snack that is loaded with fiber and protein. You can also try kale chips, beef jerky, apple slices with peanut butter, gluten-free tortilla and guacamole, or cottage cheese with fruit for a healthy, yet nutritious munch.
For meals, always make sure to eat the rainbow and stay hydrated. Doing this will prevent you from having imbalanced hormones, inflammation, diabetes, heart & gut diseases, and obesity.
2. Take plenty of rest
Adequate sleep is not just good for the mind & body, but it also helps balance your hormones. Sleep deprivation can progress to hormonal imbalance, which can negatively affect your sleep-wake cycle.
This means you’re susceptible to experiencing symptoms of poor quality of sleep, like still feeling tired when you wake up even though you already slept for hours, waking up in the middle of the night for no apparent sleep, and difficulty in sleeping fast.
Therefore, if you’re stressed, allow yourself to rest if your body demands to. Sleep at least 7 to 8 hours a day and never break your sleep & wake pattern just because you’re trying to solve everything in one sitting.
Don’t overthink. If your mind and body feel tired, sleep or rest as much as you can. Learn to unwind and relax. You’ll be able to think more clearly and work productively during the day.
3. Stay active
When you’re feeling down, it’s really hard to focus and do your daily activities. Most especially exercising and socializing.
However, sedentary habits can lead to hormonal changes, since your endocrine glands will fail to function properly. This may result in more stress and other health conditions, such as PCOS, diabetes, thyroid problems, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, and stroke.
At times you’re stressed out, stay active. It doesn’t mean that you have to force yourself to do a full-body workout or get your whole house cleaned. You can just walk around the neighborhood for 5 minutes, go to your favorite mall or coffee shop, or hang out with your most trusted friend and share what you feel. The goal is to go outside, stay happy, and prevent the feeling of isolation.
Your hormones will surely thank you later.
4. Embrace the power of healing herbs and supplements
Adding herbs such as those with vitamin E and ashwagandha can help combat stress and balance your hormones. Incorporating herbs into your meal or beverages is one way to naturally boost your health. You may also want to check the five best herbs that significantly contribute to women’s health.
5. Filter what you think
When we’re stressed, a lot of negative things cloud up our brain. This is also the reason why we make poor decisions.
In this case, filter what you think. Each time an idea or situation enters your mind, internalize carefully if it will help you in your current situation or just make things worse. Ditch the negative energy and thoughts, then only focus on the positive ones.
Take a deep breath, meditate, and go to a quiet place where you can think clearly. This will help you release the stress out in order to invite the serenity in.
Hormones play an essential role in our daily functions, particularly in metabolism, blood pressure, sugar levels, fertility, growth, libido, conception, and sleep. The hormonal influence in your mind and body changes depending on what you do and think on a daily basis.
Doing the tips mentioned above will help support your hormones to stay healthy and balanced even in tough times.
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