Feeling the Pressure?
One of the most stressful times of the year is the holiday season. Yes, it is the season of giving. But one of the biggest stressors is on giving the best presents and throwing the best parties. With so much pressure revolving around our performance it is easy to see how things can quickly get out of hand. We all want to be as amazing as we are online. Whom amongst us doesn’t like to focus on all the positives happening in their lives without posting any of the struggles?
The Ups & Downs
Now, while I am all for focusing on the positives in an attempt to attract even more in the future, it is also just as important to remember the lows. Or at the very least acknowledge them. For those of you, like me, who understand that perfection, in reality, is much harder to achieve than the internet makes it out to be. It is important that we take some time out of each day to destress. While we might not have the same stressors as our ancestors. Such as finding food, shelter, and fighting off a multitude of natural predators. Our modern lifestyles are filled with an even higher amount of stressors.
The Need For Fear
By now I am sure you must be asking yourself what is the harm in a little stress? It is true, stress, when applied correctly, can have multiple benefits. For example, the stress of a deadline can help you complete a project in a shorter time frame. Or even in the event of an attacker, it can provide your body with the energy it needs to fight or flee. While a little stress can be beneficial from time to time constant or excessive can be extremely harmful.
A Necessary Evil
Stress is triggered by a number of different hormones. The most abundant contributing hormone to stress being Cortisol. Cortisol is a steroid hormone that is produced by the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands can be found on the top of each kidney. While Cortisol is mainly known for its involvement in the body’s response to stress it also serves other purposes. Cortisol assists in the regulation of blood sugar levels, balancing metabolism, reducing inflammation, and even in the formation of memories. Its natural effects on water and salt balance, make it ideal for aiding in the regulation of blood pressure. In women, Cortisol also plays a key role in the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
Stress the Silent Killer
Clearly, Cortisol plays a significant role in our health and well being. Unfortunately, for most of us, the balancing act that is in constant motion within our bodies can lead to irregularities within the abundance of this hormone. Cortisol is the perfect example of the phrase ‘less is more’. Given today’s high-stress lifestyle having too little Cortisol can be extremely rare. However, when it does occur more often than not it is much easier to increase Cortisol in your system than it is to reduce it. This article will include a number of ways to help you lower your Cortisol levels naturally. However, due to the rarity of too low levels and given the ease of increasing Cortisol through stressful situations, the article will not cover any additional ways to increase Cortisol levels.
There are a number of different issues that can occur when you have too little of Cortisol. These signs and symptoms are a great way to help you indicate if you are at a high risk of these levels being off. If our Cortisol levels become too low it can be detected by the following indicators: chronic fatigue, reduced stamina, crying episodes without cause, trouble staying asleep, low blood pressure (which can lead to dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting), slow recovery with injuries, reduced stress tolerance (people who do not handle stress well), salt cravings, and even low blood sugar levels (which cause slumps in energy levels and mood swings). As mentioned prior, low Cortisol levels are very rare. Most individuals are dealing with an excess of Cortisol levels.
All Work & No Play…
What happens when we have too much Cortisol? When Cortisol levels are in excess it can have devastating effects. Some of the signs and symptoms you should keep an eye out for include: feeling overly alert yet exhausted, difficulty falling and or staying asleep, feeling anxious or nervousness, easily irritated, memory lapse, easily distracted, craving sugar, weight gain (especially around the waist), indigestion, GERD and other digestive issues, as well as skin issues such as eczema or psoriasis. The unfortunate reality is that we all display at least one, if not multiple, of these signs and symptoms. Due to our constant exposure to stress from looming deadlines, money woes, and even the foods we eat. We are in near-constant exposure to stressful situations.
There is Hope!
Don’t worry there is hope! While a large number of pharmaceuticals have been designed to feed off this Cortisol rich environment, they too come with an even longer list of side effects. Instead, why not take a more natural approach? Personally, I am all for treatment options that I can pick up from my local grocery store or even my favorite farmers market. One of the main reasons I chose to pursue natural medicine is because of my passion to establish a more sustainable way of living. That is why I pride myself on providing you with additional education and safe all-natural options to integrate into your daily routine. While there are several safe and all-natural options available to you this article will focus on different foods and essential oils you can try today.
Breathe it In!
Aromatherapy has seemed to make a comeback in the last few years. While Aromatherapy has been around for thousands of years it has taken a backseat over the last few hundred to pharmaceuticals. Aromatherapy utilizes the scent of essential oils to naturally realign the chemicals within your body. There are a number of essential oils that have been shown to reduce stress levels as well as Cortisol levels. Some of the top picks are lavender, rosemary, bergamot, grapefruit, lime, lemon, orange, copaiba, and ylang-ylang. Due to the length of this article, I will provide additional articles on each of these essential oils to provide you with even more amazing applicational uses. Aromatherapy is a great way to help lower your stress and Cortisol levels with ease and the smallest risk of side effects (some people may have an allergic reaction to them and as a safety precaution you should test the oils in small doses to determine if you fall into this category).
One of my favorite ways to naturally lower stress and Cortisol levels is with food. To be honest, I have never been big on eating. But I love to cook and bake. Not to mention nutrition is one of the fastest ways to naturally reset anything within your body. Some foods that can help naturally reduce your cortisol levels include wild salmon, citrus fruits, green tea, dark chocolate, turmeric, chamomile, black tea, berries, garlic, almonds, avocado, spinach, broccoli, carrots, and grapes. Not only have these foods have been proven to help reduce stress, but they are also known for aiding in weight loss! This is largely due to the fact that most weight gain is caused due to excess or prolonged exposure to Cortisol. That’s right, balancing out your Cortisol comes with a ton of benefits.
Need a Little Pick Me Up?
Whenever you have the ability to give someone an excuse to eat candy I think you will find that you don’t have to really push them into it. There is a reason. Candy is delicious! That is what makes it my number one go to when helping my clients lower their stress and Cortisol levels. While I have come up with a number of tasty treats to do just that this article will cover utilize multiple stress-reducing foods, and even additional supplements. Today’s recipe is a new twist on an old favorite, chocolate almond butter cups. Get ready to feel the stress of the day melt away with these calming treats.
Calming Almond Cups
- ¼ Cup Almond Butter
- 1 ¼ Cup Dark Chocolate
- ½ tsp Sea Salt
- 1 Tbs Raw Coconut Oil
- 1 ½ Tbs Maple Syrup
- ½ tsp Raw Cacao Powder
- Place butter, syrup, powder, and salt into a bowl and mix together well. In a double boiler (saucepan filled with boiling water with a glass or metal bowl on top) melt chocolate and oil together. Take silicone cupcake sheet pan or stainless steel treated with a non-stick element (you can also use an ice cube tray). Pour a small amount of melted chocolate into a container of your choice. Let set up for five minutes in the refrigerator. Next, apply a small amount of nut filling into containers followed by another layer of melted chocolate. Return to the refrigerator for an additional 5-10 minutes until set and enjoy. Store in cool temp (doesn’t have to be in the refrigerator just somewhere at or below 70 degrees) and enjoy!
Want to Know More?
For even more great recipes be sure to subscribe. Everyone is unique and as such your health care routine should reflect that. That is why we here at the Best Holistic Life are dedicated to helping you create a health care routine that fits more than just your health care needs. It should be something that fits into your lifestyle to ensure that you will stick with it. The best way to guarantee results is by consistently taking steps in the direction you want to go to. If you need help reaching your health goals I am always here to talk and I would be more than happy to help you find safe all-natural solutions that work for you. Be sure to subscribe to the Best Holistic Life to gain access to tons of free goodies and stay up to date on our latest posts. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me directly at DrDeeandMe@gmail.com or leave a comment below. You deserve to live a happy and healthy life. What is stopping you?
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Jana Short says
Oh, my goodness, Dr. Dee!
I love your blogs and your recipes and this one looks mighty good!
Thank you for taking the time to share your points of view, tips, and delicious recipes all while broadening our education. You ROCK!
Dr. Dee says
OMG I love this recipe and I hope you do too Jana! One of my passions is educating others on holistic alternatives. My goal is to make healthy living more accessible to everyone. We all deserve to live happy, healthy, and joyful lives. I will keep suppling you and everyone else with the tools they meed to do just that! Hope you have an amazing weekend.