If you were alive in the 60’s and 70’s then you remember the buzz around Valium; the pill known for being every mother’s “little helper.” While still used for its anxiety-relieving effects, the results are only temporary. Instead of turning to a pharmaceutical drug, it’s important to address the underlying cause for more lasting results.
At this time of year, it’s tempting to look for a quick fix, so you can “just get through the holidays.” Because after all, the shopping, cooking, school functions, traveling and hosting add up quickly, causing you to become irritable, fatigued and anxious. So aside from incorporating healthy habits, like eating well and getting enough rest, what can you do to keep stress and anxiety at bay this year?
Your answer: take your hormones. Progesterone is an essential female hormone for managing stress. In fact, progesterone works directly with GABA receptors in your brain (just like an anti-anxiety medication would) to produce a calming effect. Without adequate levels of progesterone, you may begin to feel anxious, irritable and not able to sleep through the night. All of which are a nasty combo for such a joyous time of year.
Just as progesterone is ideal for women, testosterone is critical for men. One of testosterone’s most significant – and often unrecognized – benefits is its effect on brain function. Not only does it influence drive and decisiveness, but it helps with mood, anxiety, and stress, too.
For both men and women, adrenal hormones, such as cortisol and DHEA, are going to be your frontline stress-fighters. These hormones’ sole purpose is to help you to adapt to stress, whether minor or severe, and bring you back to a state of equilibrium. Depleted adrenals will leave you feeling too exhausted to enjoy your favorite holiday activities.
Something to also keep in mind this month is your toxic exposure. Toxins in our food and environment can disrupt hormonal balance. Small changes you can make to decrease your toxic load starting today are to:
- Use unscented clothing detergent.
- Shop organic when possible and on the outer edges of the grocery store.
- Try natural household cleaning products such as vinegar with lemon and thieves essential oils.
- Store and re-heat food in glass containers to limit BPA exposure.
- Drink out of glass or stainless steel water bottles.
It can be tough to avoid stress, especially during the holiday rush, but if you follow these simple tips, you will be able to enjoy the season rather than just survive it.