Are you in a stressed-out state? Here are some signs and symptoms in which you might be running on your stress hormone, cortisol:
No appetite, especially when you first wake up
Binging or having many cravings
Mood swings, anxiety, or angry outbursts
Weight gain, even when doing all the things with your diet and exercise
Waking up throughout the night or not being able to fall sleep
Feeling like you need to be productive all the time
Digestive issues (constipation, diarrhea, bloating)
Period abnormalities such as a missing cycle, late-cycle, or PCOS
Although you might be trying to manage your stress, these additional factors below may be causing even more stress on your body. While a little stress is fine, too much can be a bad thing and cause further complications. When cortisol is elevated, it can negatively impact other hormones and physiological processes in our bodies.
First, while exercise is good for you, it can lead to inflammation when overdone. Exercise can be a stress reliever for some, but it’s important to find other ways than working out for hours a day. I only work out for 3-4 days a week and make sure to take rest days. Sometimes I work out even less than that when I'm more stressed and busy than usual. We need our bodies to recover after exercise and working out daily might be causing more damage than benefit.
HIIT, or high-intensity interval training, has become super popular lately. However, if you’re a type-A person like me, HIIT can cause a lot of inflammation in the body. It can take a while for your body to recover, especially when already stressed out. If you have a lot going on, maybe take it back on the HIIT. Opt for yoga, pilates, or a walk instead. Your body will thank you for the love you give it!
Caffeine. As much as I love coffee, I make sure I don’t overdo my caffeine intake. Caffeine stimulates the body and keeps us in that “fight or flight” mode, which usually leads to excess cortisol levels. Always make sure to drink a lot of water before your caffeine intake in the morning and not drink it on an empty stomach. Also, try to limit caffeine intake to one cup per day and not drink caffeine past noon to regulate our sleep.
Lastly, it’s important to make sure you’re not waiting too long to eat between meals. When you’re waiting too long to eat or not eating enough food, you’re causing more stress on your body. You might also be more likely to binge eat when not fueling your body properly throughout the day. We need food for our bodies to function. Make sure each meal contains a good quality source of protein, healthy fats, and carbohydrates in the form of real whole foods. If you’re confused about what to eat, subscribe to my newsletter and receive a FREE grocery shopping list, where I share everything you should be buying and avoiding when it comes to food.
I know it can be challenging to manage stress, but too much stress can lead to a variety of health complications. Your hormones are greatly affected by stress, which is why it is so important to manage it well. Too much stress can cause things like weight gain, insomnia, anxiety, missed periods, and even acne.
My favorite ways to manage stress include going for a walk outside, putting my phone away, setting boundaries, going to bed early, doing yoga or meditation, and hanging out with my friends. It’s important to do things you love that will make you feel relaxed and put you back in that parasympathetic state. Even if you only have 10 minutes to yourself, utilize that time wisely and show some love to your body!
What are some of your favorite ways to manage stress? Let me know below in the comments!