Reducing your stress

29th April 2020

  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

Barley

Oat

Rye

Wheat

Amaranth

Corn

Quinoa

Brown rice

Millet

Buckwheat

Wild rice

Veggies

Artichoke

Broccoli

Carrot

Lettuce

Parsley

Green peas

Rhubarb

String beans

Zucchini

Asparagus

Red capsicum

Brussels sprouts

Chard

Chicory

Chive

Dandelion

Eggplant

Endive

Escarole

Okra

Scallion

Spinach

Tomato

Cabbage

Celery

Collard

Cucumber

Daikon

Garlic

Ginger

Leek

Mustard greens

Onion

Parsnip

Pumpkin

Radish

Squash

Sweet Potato

Watercress

Beetroot

Burdock

Dulse

Hijiki

Kale

Kelp

Kombu

Button & Shiitake Mushrooms

Wakame

Water chestnut

Fruit

Avocado

Grapefruit

Lemon

Lime

Orange

Plum

Pomegranate

Sour cherry

Apricot

Cantaloupe

Coconut

Fig

Guava

Persimmon

Raspberry

Strawberry

Apple

Date

Peach

Pear

Raisin

Blackberry

Blueberry

Grape

Watermelon

Legumes

Black-eyed pea

Green lentil

Lima bean

Mung bean

Split pea

Red lentil

Chickpea

Great Northern bean

Navy bean

Adzuki bean

Black soybean

Black turtle bean

Kidney bean

Nuts / Seeds

Brazil

Cashews

Flaxseeds

Lychee

Pumpkin seeds

Almond

Flaxseeds

Pecan

Pistachio

Pumpkin seeds

Hickory

Pine Nut

Sesame seeds

Sunflower seeds

Walnut

Chestnut

Sesame seeds

Sunflower seeds

Meat

Chicken

Eggs

Lamb

Beef

Turkey

Duck

Pork

Seafood

Fresh-water clam

Soft-shell crab

Trout

Salmon

Shrimp

Tuna

Cod

Flounder

Halibut

Catfish

Clam

Crab

Lobster

Mussel

Octopus

Oyster

Sardine

Scallop

Squid

Other

Nut butter

Olives

Pickles

Sauerkraut

Vinegar

Alcohol (moderate)

Chocolate

Coffee

Ketchup

Turmeric

Mint

Peppermint

Spirulina

Bancha tea

Decaf coffee

Miso

Salt

Tamari

  Download Food Chart

  

Exercise for each phase:

 

Follicular

Ovulation

Luteal

Menstrual

Types of exercise

Cardio

Dance

High intensity classes

HIIT

Dance

High intensity classes

HIIT (1st half)

Strength classes

Pilates

Stretching

Lots of rest

Pilates

Stretching

Walking

Sessions per week depending on your level of current fitness and stress. Higher stress = less exercise

3 - 6

You still need at least 1 rest day

3 - 6

2 - 6

1 - 3

Listen 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

 

 

 

Download Food Chart