By Dr. Jenna Dye,
Stress affects us is many ways and, during these trying times, we may be feeling the impact of that stress more than usual. Not all stress is bad and, in certain situations, it is a survival mechanism that increases our awareness and circulation to flee from potential danger. However, chronic stress can deplete our body, increase inflammation, and lead to chronic health conditions. Although removing all potential stress triggers in life may not be attainable, we can manage it with naturopathic support and lifestyle changes to ensure optimal health. Here are some helpful tips.
Get Regular Exercise
Physical activity will release endorphins, which are chemicals that help decrease inflammation, support restful sleep, and decrease stress. Daily exercise plays an important role in stress management in addition to many other health benefits.
Anti-inflammatory diets can be very helpful for managing stress. If we eat foods that naturally decrease inflammation, we will have less physical stress on our body. This helps prevent chronic health conditions, ensures proper digestion, and supports our body for better stress management. Foods such as sugar, wheat and dairy as well as any food sensitivities can potentially increase inflammation and should be avoided.
Sleep is crucial for stress management, but it is often the first thing sacrificed in stressful situations. In addition, chronic stress can disrupt sleep, so it can feel like a never-ending cycle. Good sleep hygiene such as eliminating electronics a minimum of 30 minutes before bed, meditating or adding in relaxing yoga are just a few ideas to ensure restful sleep.
Your adrenal glands produce a hormone called cortisol in response to stress. These levels can raise initially with stress, however, from long term or chronic stress they become exhausted and may be lowered. Your healthcare provider can check your cortisol levels and provide proper support depending on your individual needs. Anything that you do to decrease stress levels will help support the adrenal glands. Naturopathic physicians can use treatments with herbal remedies, supplements, and diet to also ensure proper adrenal health.
Treating the root cause is one of the main principles of naturopathic medicine. When it comes to stress management this is also true. We must identify potential stressors and eliminate what we can. In addition, support such as counseling or therapy for stress management can be beneficial. We want to focus on positivity in our lives and surround ourselves with healthy, nurturing relationships.
Underlying Health Conditions
Stress can cause underlying health conditions and underlying health conditions can cause stress. These conditions may include autoimmune diseases, cardiovascular conditions, gastrointestinal disorders, and hormone imbalances. A naturopathic physician can help you identify those underlying health conditions and give you proper integrative support to decrease inflammation and restore optimal health.
Dr. Jenna Dye is a licensed naturopathic physician. Her role is to support the body’s foundation to restore and maintain optimal health. Together with her patients, this is achieved by identifying and removing barriers that may be impacting health while creating a healing environment. For more information, visit drjennadye.com.