Current events, family demands, and work can cause stress and impact women’s health (and men’s too). These days, it can feel like all of these and more are contributing to how you are feeling mentally and physically. As a naturopathic doctor, I am available to listen and help you find ways to manage stress so that your body is not compromised for the long-term from the stress of today.
What is stress?
Stress is your body’s response to how you are living and reacting to what is going on around you. While it may help you power through situations, it can also cause health issues like:
- Physical symptoms including headaches, insomnia, fatigue, pain in your back and neck, overeating or undereating, skin problems, misuse of drugs or alcohol, digestive issues, and lack of sex drive.
- Emotional symptoms include anxiety, depression, anger, irritability, mood swings, and feeling out of control.
- Mental signs of stress and women’s health include forgetfulness, worrying, inability to make decisions, lack of focus, and boredom.
- Work overload, long hours, and unfulfilling job.
- Social signs may include isolating yourself from friends and family, less intimacy, and loneliness.
- Spiritual signs of stress may include apathy, emptiness, doubt, and despair.
Long-term stress can become a life altering or even life ending complication causing heart, gut, and other physical ailments. The time to manage your stress is now.
How can stress be managed as part of women’s health?
In my experience with patients, stress is often caused by how you are scheduling yourself. You cannot be everything to everyone. All too often, women feel like they need to be everywhere – working long hours, helping aging parents, managing spouse and children, being a taxi service to all….you get the idea. I encourage you to schedule time for YOU and ask yourself:
- Where do you make time for yourself on a regular basis?
- Do you have a bedtime ritual?
- What time do you turn off television and devices?
- Where is the balance of work and life?
- What are you eating and drinking that may be contributing to stress?
- With whom are you spending time?
While stress may be caused by your schedule, it can also be an issue to be addressed medically. Blood tests can reveal a lot about your overall health. Typically stress can lead to hormone imbalances, such as changes in thyroid function, lower progesterone, testosterone, cortisol. Knowing how stress is affecting your hormones can be the key to feeling like yourself again.
I have a couple of health tips to help you manage your stress on your own:
Magnesium is often used to help manage stress along with lifestyle changes. The reason magnesium is powerful is because of all it does in the body:
- Enzymes use magnesium to function properly.
- Magnesium is a required cofactor of cell functioning.
- It relaxes muscles to aid in the management of insomnia and anxiety.
- Caffeine and sweating deplete magnesium so many patients need a supplement.
I do not recommend buying just any magnesium. There are different forms and clean versions that we recommend at our office. My favorite is Magnesium Glycinate.
In addition to medical intervention, I recommend activities like these to my patients who are stressed:
- Exercise at least five out of seven days. It can be walking, yoga, sports, weightlifting. Find something you like and do that regularly.
- Take your shoes off and stand in the grass. Spread your toes and feel the earth. For more information, search grounding.
- Mediation, journaling, and listening to relaxing music.
- Eat less processed foods and more fruits and vegetables.
You do not have to make all these changes at once. Do a little change at a time and I am sure you will feel better. Find what works for you.
Recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress, and then visiting a naturopathic doctor to determine if there are physical as well as emotional issues to address, and making changes are all ways to manage stress.
Call us at 480-648-1534 to schedule your appointment.