How to reduce your stress

How to reduce your stress

  1. Take time out for you; AKA Self care
  2. Nurture your gut bacteria and eat foods that align with where you are in your cycle
  3. Exercise in line with your cycle; exercise will only reduce stress if it doesn’t exacerbate it. Sometimes less is more.

Stress Symptoms:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of energy
  • Decreased motivation
  • Need to cry
  • Nervous
  • Anxiety
  • Depression / Sad
  • Upset stomach
  • Muscle tension
  • Changes in appetite
  • Low libido


Excessive stress reduces your ability to;

  • Think straight
  • Make decisions
  • Mood swings
  • Immune system function
  • High Cortisol levels puts your other hormones out of balance
  • Can affect your weight because cortisol reacts with oestrogen and tells it to store fat instead of eliminating it.


How to reduce stress:

Cortisol is the ‘stress’ hormone, in small doses it’s fine, that’s why we have it. But large amounts or long periods of time with high levels of Cortisol in your system will make you feel crappy.

In the second half of your cycle your body naturally releases more cortisol; eating the right foods and supplements will support your digestive system remove excess hormones and keep you in balance. Having balanced hormones will make you feel better, help you cope and reduce your PMS symptoms.

Self care is also super important – the more stress you feel, the more self care you need to balance it out.


Food to eat:

  • Complex carbohydrates
  • Seafood
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Avocado
  • Proteins
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin D – if this is low you have to get a supplement from the Doctor to bring it back up. Sunlight and over the counter supplements can only maintain current levels.
  • Magnesium
  • Selenium (found in good quality magnesium brands like Bioceuticals because you need Selenium to digest magnesium – check the ingredients)
  • Probiotics – Jackie can talk for days here! But having a happy gut means you will be happier too! Your gut bacteria produce an enzyme that helps eliminate excess hormones to keep the balance in check and your gut bacteria are the main producers of serotonin which is a ‘happy’ neurotransmitter so it can affect your mood if your gut bacteria are out of whack.


Food to avoid:

  • Caffeine – limit to one per day because it depletes magnesium and vitamin B levels and the acidity can alter your gut microbiome which will hinder nutrient absorption and the effort your liver has to go to eliminate the caffeine means it’s not flushing out excess oestrogen. Too much oestrogen can make you feel anxious during ovulation and depressed in your Luteal phase – we need to keep the balance.
  • Alcohol – also puts too much stress on your liver and digestive system to eliminate it which affects the elimination of excess oestrogen and absorption of nutrients.
  • Sugar – as above. Too much sugar will promote the growth of the types of bacteria that make you feel bloated and sluggish and over-run the good types that help your body to extract nutrients, eliminate waste efficiently and produce that feel-good neurotransmitter; Serotonin.


Self care ideas

The general rule is; take time out for YOU. Do things that you like, for you and DON’T feel guilty about it!

  • Bath
  • Massage
  • Facial / Face mask
  • Nap
  • Read
  • Play
  • Walk / lie on the beach
  • Craft projects

Food for each phase:

  Follicular Phase Ovulation Luteal Menstrual
Grains BarleyOatRyeWheat AmaranthCornQuinoa Brown riceMillet BuckwheatWild rice
Veggies ArtichokeBroccoliCarrotLettuceParsleyGreen peasRhubarbString beansZucchini AsparagusRed capsicumBrussels sproutsChardChicoryChiveDandelionEggplantEndiveEscaroleOkraScallionSpinachTomato CabbageCeleryCollardCucumberDaikonGarlicGingerLeekMustard greensOnionParsnipPumpkinRadishSquashSweet PotatoWatercress BeetrootBurdockDulseHijikiKaleKelpKombuButton & Shiitake MushroomsWakameWater chestnut
Fruit AvocadoGrapefruitLemonLimeOrangePlumPomegranateSour cherry ApricotCantaloupeCoconutFigGuavaPersimmonRaspberryStrawberry AppleDatePeachPearRaisin BlackberryBlueberryGrapeWatermelon
Legumes Black-eyed peaGreen lentilLima beanMung beanSplit pea Red lentil ChickpeaGreat Northern beanNavy bean Adzuki beanBlack soybeanBlack turtle beanKidney bean
Nuts / Seeds BrazilCashewsFlaxseedsLycheePumpkin seeds AlmondFlaxseedsPecanPistachioPumpkin seeds HickoryPine NutSesame seedsSunflower seedsWalnut ChestnutSesame seedsSunflower seeds
Meat ChickenEggs Lamb BeefTurkey DuckPork
Seafood Fresh-water clamSoft-shell crabTrout SalmonShrimpTuna CodFlounderHalibut CatfishClamCrabLobsterMusselOctopusOysterSardineScallopSquid
Other Nut butterOlivesPicklesSauerkrautVinegar Alcohol (moderate)ChocolateCoffeeKetchupTurmeric MintPeppermintSpirulina Bancha teaDecaf coffeeMisoSaltTamari

[Button link=”https://go.ninjodo.com/forms/DiamondDance/00ba8e3ce6d3d62077a6c70b4e099052d450e307″ colour=”yellow” size=”lg” border=”none” target=”_blank”] Download Food Chart [/Button]

Exercise for each phase:

  Follicular Ovulation Luteal Menstrual
Types of exercise CardioDanceHigh intensity classes HIITDanceHigh intensity classes HIIT (1st half)Strength classesPilatesStretching Lots of restPilatesStretchingWalking
Sessions per week depending on your level of current fitness and stress. Higher stress = less exercise 3 – 6You still need at least 1 rest day 3 – 6 2 – 6 1 – 3Listen to your body. Less now means more energy for later / next phase

If you are feeling super stressed, then reduce the amount of exercise that you are doing; even if you are in your Follicular or Ovulation phase. Try going for a 30 minute walk or doing a stress session, something that isn’t as physically strenuous because your body is already in over drive at a hormonal level. Doing a huge, strenuous workout while your body has high levels of cortisol won’t help you to clear out the cortisol; it will probably produce more making you feel worse.


How to work out what phase you are in:

If you do bleed; the day after your last day of bleeding is your Follicular phase.

If you don’t bleed you can;

  • Start this week as your Follicular phase; eat and exercise accordingly
  • Sync up with the moon cycle and see if you feel better; the full moon is ovulation, waning moon is Luteal phase, new moon is menstrual and a waxing moon is follicular phase.
  • You can also track your biological symptoms;
    • Your base body temperature (take first thing in the morning) when it rises that signals you ovulated the day before. 36.11 – 36.38ᵒC is about normal before ovulation and after it rises slightly to 36.44 – 37ᵒC.
    • Your cervical fluid also changes; a few days before ovulation it might be sticky, cloudy or white. Then right before ovulation it becomes slippery and looks like uncooked egg whites.
Follicular: 7 – 10 days Ovulation: 3 – 4 days Luteal: 10 – 14 days Menstrual: 3 – 7 days
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