Bring back your mojo! – By Naturopaths Suzi Le Fanue and Ellen Tattam 🙂
If you asked any of our Naturopaths who we see the most in clinic, it is women who are burnt out, stressed and overwhelmed.
Why is that? Women’s lifestyles are becoming increasingly busier, leaving less and less time for self care.
Naturopaths see women of all ages in clinic every day, who put their children, family, work and many other commitments before their own health, without even realising it.
Poor dietary choices may be the start of the cascade of events that happens in this typical picture.
Choosing processed foods with minimal nutrients, because it’s fast and easy, is a common choice made my Mum’s on-the-go and this can easily be corrected with the right nutrition advice, planning and dietary tips.
Choosing foods high in good proteins and fats that keep blood sugar levels stabilised, without dips and spikes, is important for energy levels and mood changes.
On a biochemical level, when a perceived threat is encountered a fight-or-flight response is engaged.
For example, in times of stress an alarm system is set off in a part of your brain, the hypothalamus.
In turn this prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of adrenaline and cortisol,
two hormones affected by stress. While adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates blood pressure and
increases energy supplies – cortisol, being the primary stress hormone, increases glucose in the bloodstream and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
However, cortisol can alternatively alter immune system responses and suppress the digestive system, reproductive system and growth processes.
What happens with time is the body can start depleting its production of cortisol. You may then starts to feel tired (especially in the morning), stressed, overwhelmed, irritable, emotional and like you have lost your spark or zest. Adrenal insufficiency or adrenal fatigue is a biochemical imbalance we see frequently in clinic.
So could you do to address either adrenal overdrive or adrenal insufficiency?
You could look into addressing your nutrient status, ensure your diet is geared towards balancing blood sugar levels (adequate protein, moderate low GI carbohydrates) as well as look into herbal medicine to support the adrenals. An important recommendation is to eliminate caffeine from your diet. As caffeine can cause disturbed sleeping patterns, and reduces sleep quality. Sugar can also increase poor quality sleep, particularly if consumed at night.
A key neurotransmitter that is affected by stress is serotonin. Most people relate serotonin as the happy neurotransmitter in the brain but it is much more than that. Serotonin is also vital for regulating your sleeping patterns, body temperature, memory and appetite. Therefore, when stress causes imbalances with these chemicals around the body, it can lead to sleep disturbances, appetite and digestive function problems as well as many other hormonal imbalances.
Our top lifestyle recommendations:
-Dedicate “me time”. This could be reading a new book, gardening, walking the dog, booking in a massage or some form of pampering, taking a long bath, or engaging in gentle exercise. Plan these ahead of time, and dont leave it until the last minute.
-Be careful who you surround yourself with. Please can either lift your energy or they can drain it. Your thoughts have the power to alter your psychology which can then alter your physiology.
-Avoid night time television and staying up late. This depletes melatonin, your sleep hormone.
As Naturopaths, we recommend a balanced and holistic combination of a nutrient dense diet, regular exercise and self care. Look after yourself and the mojo will follow!