3 Simple Steps to Alleviate Stress
“How are you feeling this week?”
“Where are your stress levels at?”
“Are you sleeping ok?”
These three questions are fast becoming the first questions I ask a client when they walk into my office. It’s a sign of the times #COVID and a sign of where my concerns lie – the mental and emotional health of my clients.
With this in mind I thought I would share my 3 simple steps to alleviate stress. Now remember, I’m no fairy Godmother, and I can’t change our current environment, however I can help support your mind and body at times of increased stress.
With years of clinical experience, I have seen good quality nutritional supplements make significant difference to stress, anxiety and energy levels. The most important mood and stress support supplements include B vitamins and Magnesium.
B vitamins are vital in the production of cellular energy, without adequate B vitamins you can feel fatigued and emotionally flat.
B vitamins are required to convert tryptophan into serotonin and melatonin. Serotonin is the key hormone that stabilizes our mood and promotes a feeling of wellbeing. Melatonin is the hormone that induces sleep.
Magnesium supports our nervous system by assisting in the production of neurotransmitters including GABA, which is involved in reducing overwhelming feelings of anxiety. Magnesium simultaneously lifts energy levels and reduces stress. Magnesium also protects the brain from the negative effects of excessive cortisol and glutamate which is produced when we are chronically stressed. Magnesium is my go-to supplement for stress and mood support #magnesiumdealer
Recommendation: speak to a health care professional about taking a stress specific magnesium formula. Ask for a magnesium supplement with B vitamin co factors and make sure it is in a powder form, this will cross the gut more efficiently- meaning the powdered forms are more absorbable.
Exercise is an absolute must when it comes to balancing stress and boosting mood and energy levels. Exercise promotes the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters known as endorphins. Daily exercise also helps to balance and reduce our stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
Recommendation: at times of increased stress my big tip is to swap out high intensity training (HITT) and focus on outdoor daily walks ideally in fresh air and sunshine. Walking does not produce cortisol nor place extra stress on the body yet walking provides all the feel-good benefits of cardio exercise. Yoga is another fantastic option for balancing stress and turning off the flight or flight (stress) response.
It’s often a catch 22, when you are stressed you don’t sleep, and if you don’t sleep you feel more stressed. Sleep needs to be a priority when looking to balance heightened daily stress levels. If you are struggling with sleep, maybe its time to look at your sleep hygiene? Start by getting off all devices (iPhone/ iPad…) at least an hour before bed, avoid drinking caffeine from lunch time and avoid alcohol at night. Many people lean on alcohol at times of stress, it is a depressant and yes alcohol does make you feel relaxed HOWEVER alcohol negatively impacts your sleep quality and recovery (I know, I know…)
Recommendation: sort out your sleep hygiene and sleeping environment. Make sure the room is dark, avoid iPhones and iPads in bed, set the bedroom temperature to approx. 20°C and introduce breathing/ mindful activities at night. If you are struggling with staying asleep look into a sleep enhancing supplement such as a magnesium night formula or a sleep specific formula containing passion flower, lavender, California poppy and / or Jamaica dogwood.
I hope these tips help, please reach out if you need more information or support.