We are living in a world of chaos. Amid a pandemic, an election, and a movement, our stress levels are exponentially elevated due to fear of the unknown and what feels like uncontrollable emotion. Here at Katas Integrative Health, I have seen a rising trend in hormonal and emotional imbalances both in the western medicine perspective looking at blood work, along with the eastern medicine perspective looking at organ function and the flow of Qi.
When our stress levels rise, our bodies produce more cortisol. When our bodies produce more cortisol, hormonal imbalances ensue. Hormones are our bodies, chemical messengers. They direct organs and tissues to perform a bodily function. ALL hormones are affected when our stress levels rise, including sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and metabolic hormones. High cortisol is not only caused by mental stress, but also from physical stressors such as food sensitivities, chemical toxicities, electromagnetic burden, and even too intense of workouts. When our bodies can’t keep up with the influx of stress, we experience complete burnout, also known as Adrenal Fatigue.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, the emotional effects of stress disturb the free flow of Qi in the body, resulting in Qi stagnation, excessive internal heat, and poor blood circulation. The liver channel is often affected as it is responsible for the smooth flow of emotions, as well as Qi and blood. Other organ channels are affected depending on the emotion. For example, fear is the emotion of the kidneys and the bladder, while worry/nervousness affects the spleen and stomach channel. It is essential to recognize and address what feelings you may be bottling up or struggling to work through.
Below are tips to help balance hormones and reduce daily stress. For more specific treatments tailored to your body chemistry, please contact our office.
Tips for Managing Stress and Balancing Hormones
Clean up your Lifestyle: Start with eating real, clean food. Cut inflammatory and processed foods from your diet – eat as our ancestors ate. Reduce the amount of caffeine you consume per day. Stick to 1-2 cups of coffee or tea in the morning. Consider incorporating adaptogenic herbs into your daily routine.
Balance your Sleep/Wake Cycle: Aim for waking up and going to bed at the same time every day to steady your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Avoid electronics 2-3 hours before bed, and consider wearing blue light glasses with prolonged screen time. Exposure to blue light suppresses the secretion of melatonin, a hormone that influences circadian rhythm.
Optimal Vitamin D Levels (>60ng/L): Without sufficient vitamin D levels, our bodies absolutely cannot function properly. Every tissue in the body uses Vitamin D. It regulates up to 200 genes, which help to control cell growth and cellular differentiation. Make sure to get your levels checked!
Awareness Exercises: Consider yoga, meditation, or journaling practice. Anything that reduces noise calms the mind and recenters your spirit can help treat the energetic organ systems. This is a way of working through emotions. Don’t be afraid to laugh, cry, or even scream into a pillow.
Get Outside and Play: Allow yourself time to get lost in nature! Humans evolved in the great outdoors, and your soul benefits from a journey back to nature.
Seek out a Holistic Practitioner: Gaining perspective from an outside source will help get to the root of underlying issues quickly. Acupuncture aids in clearing energy blockages and tonifying organs. Chiropractic renews the nervous system taking pressure off of nerves. Functional Medicine identifies areas of weakness through labs and lifestyle influences.
If you would like to explore your health further, give our office a call.