So what exactly are hormones and how do they affect us? They get blamed for all sorts of things such as emotional issues, skin breakouts and food cravings, but we also have a lot to thank them for. There are different types with varying functions to regulate the body, control moods and help us cope with a number of situations. But there is one in particular that has a major impact on most other hormones – Cortisol. Understanding how it works and keeping it under control could have a huge impact on your health and overall wellbeing.
Cortisol is also known as the ‘stress hormone’ and is released by the adrenal glands to help the body cope with stressful situations. It has a range of important functions from regulating blood sugar levels, supporting the immune system and preparing the body to fight or run.
Some of us thrive on stress and when life becomes a little too calm we’re on the lookout for the next buzz. We all need an element of pressure in our lives to help us strive and achieve our goals, but too much stress can result in a negative impact on our health. The human body is incredibly good at repairing itself, fighting infections and digesting food, but these natural self-repair mechanisms cannot function effectively if the body is in a permanent state of stress. The nature of today’s fast paced society can lead to many of us spending too much time in the Red Zone (see July’s newsletter), putting a tremendous strain on the body.
Look after your adrenals
The adrenal glands can only take so much, if they are continually producing Cortisol to cope with excessive stress levels, they will eventually collapse. This causes extreme exhaustion and recovery can take a long time. If you think you may be heading this way, take a step back, are you spending too much time on high alert?
Are you a stress addict?
If the majority of these symptoms sound familiar, it’s time to calm down and take control of your Cortisol, as you could be a stress addict:
- You are not sleeping well. You feel tired all day and come alive at bedtime.
- You sleep well but wake up tired. You feel lethargic in the morning and struggle to get going.
- You are gaining weight. Your waistline is extending despite following a balanced diet and taking regular exercise.
- You crave unhealthy foods. Salty crisps and sugary sweets are just too tempting.
- Lack of memory. You can’t seem to remember simple day to day tasks or what you did yesterday.
- You need caffeine to help you through the day. You survive on coffee and other stimulants to keep you going.
Kath’s tips for handling hormones
- Take some time once a week to relax in a bath of Epsom salts – My favourite remedy for stress. If you haven’t tried it, give it a go, it really does work!
- Take a Vitamin B Complex – This will support your immune system, regulate your body and help manage your stress levels.
- Go for a walk – It sounds simple but autumn is a beautiful time of year to step outside and enjoy the surroundings. You’ll return to your desk with a much clearer head.
- It might be time for an adrenal boost – If you feel tired all of the time and rely on caffeine to get you through the day, book an appointment to see me. I can identify the support your adrenals need to get you back on track.