Stress: the good, the bad, and the ugly
Stress is normal. It is the body's flight or fight response wired into us. Feeling stressed is normal, but how we react to it can vary. It provides the body with an extra shot of energy when needed and works as a warning sign. The extra burst of energy can motivate us to finish our work before the deadline or that sudden agility to catch our kid who is about to fall.
Although short bursts of stress are healthy, the long-term effect of marinating in anxiety will bring not just our bodies, but our minds, to eventual burnout then breakdown.
There are different kinds of stress:
- Acute stress
- Episodic acute stress
- Chronic stress
Acute stress is the most common type of stress we experience. Perceived or anticipated threats to our wellbeing, real or not, cause this type of stress. Threats that trigger acute stress can be as simple as your alarm going off, the anticipation of something exciting like a visit from a friend you haven't seen in ages, or as serious as getting into an argument with a friend. Acute stress is manageable because it happens in bursts and in short periods.
Episodic acute stress.Episodic acute stress happens when people experience frequent bouts of acute stress. Living in an environment that is always disarray, filled with chaos and randomness, may lead to worrying. Having a hard time in the workplace, perhaps because of a demanding boss or difficult colleagues, can also trigger this kind of stress. Lengthy exposure to environments or a lifestyle that overloads the senses can cause hypertension, irritability, and anxiety, just to name a few effects.
Chronic stress.Chronic stress is bathing and marinating in a destructive environment. People who suffer from this type of stress usually have a hard time removing themselves from the situation, which makes them feel trapped all the time. The hopelessness and desperation eat at your wellbeing and it actually leads you to get desensitized to the point where you feel numb (burnout), exhausted, and depressed. People managing chronic stress may need external and professional help.
I would have to say that 2020 was one of the most stressful years we have experienced globally. If you feel like you're too tired in the morning and wired in the afternoon, crave salty food after a couple of hours without food, experience painful joints or muscles, I would like to offer you something I've been working on.
We have set up a four-part workshop called the Resilience Reset Workshop. This workshop is all about helping you have hormone harmony and promote productivity through adrenal support.
If you're interested in learning more about stress and hormones, have a listen to Episode 157 by scrolling down.
Let's talk about stress hormones. Adrenal glands, produce hormones that help regulate your metabolism, immune system, blood pressure, and help kind of modulate your response to stress and other essential functions. Now there's two parts of the adrenal gland, the cortex and the medulla, and the cortex produces things like adrenal androgens, epinephrin norepinephrine, et cetera. Let's talk about adrenals in general, the adrenal glands, sit on top of the kidneys as two bean shaped glands. And they're part of the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis. It's basically a communication system between your brain and your adrenals. So basically that helps produce stress responses. Basically when your body is responding to issues with your sleep rhythm or stressors, the brain secretes, a hormone called CRH or corticotropin, releasing hormones, and then triggers another response of another hormone ECTH and then that sends a message to the adrenals to produce different hormones. Now, again, we all have two adrenal glands.
They sit on top of each kidney. The outer part of the adrenal gland produces hormones. And prehormones now pre hormones are substances that aren't quite hormones, of course, but they help your body create hormones, the hormones and pre hormones that your adrenals produce include aldosterone, DHA, and cortisol. So let me start with cortisol. I always call it the Darling stress hormone. People are sort of familiar with it. It's the most potent stress hormone, and it's considered a primary hormone. So if you don't have it, you would die. But we very used to it. People can like hike up their cortisol. I talked about this in, I think that episode is called. Should you test your hormones? Now? Cortisol levels are meant to peak in the morning, usually between six and 8:00 AM and then declined throughout the day. So if you can't get up in the morning or you feel wired and tired at night, your cortisol pattern might be out of whack. Let's talk about aldosterone. That's a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure. If you're producing too much aldosterone, your kidneys will retain sodium, which can result in high blood pressure. Let's talk about GA that's a pre hormone that helps regulate blood sugar being hangry and also lipids and helps support your bones and women. Adrenals can also help make testosterone and estrogen from DHA and hormones. Although hormones are normally made in the ovaries in post-menopause the adrenals take over and make more of this as ovarian function declines because our body has two modes maybe making and non baby making, right?
And so when it's non baby-making, it relies more on the adrenals. So if you're aging, listen up, you need to care more about your adrenals men don't convert DHA to testosterone easily, but it does have some effect where they can do that. And DHA has some effect on lipids, sugar and bones for them. The specific hormones that DHA activates are called androgens. Androgens include testosterone that help us build bone and muscle, which is important for healthy aging. So everyone needs, you know, at least some level of testosterone when people are really stressed for a long time, they'll have a low testosterone and they'll totally feel like crap. When your adrenal glands are stressed.
Like I said, DHA and testosterone levels fall because they're secondary hormones. They're not essential like cortisol. Your adrenal glands are focused on making primary hormone. Cortisol, DHA, and testosterone are sacrificed to keep their production of cortisol going. That means if you are in high stress response or high cortisol, which I'll pretty much, most people are walking around in all the time, then we're compensating, DHA and testosterone. And so basically none of these other functions work very well, your blood sugar as a mass, et cetera. Okay.
Okay. So let's talk about some other symptoms that are off when your adrenal stress response or cortisol or HPA access is out of whack. These are literally some of the questions I have on my own adrenal assessment. I use a practice and we also used in our burnout or adrenal assessment quiz on my website [email protected] forward slash burnout. The first one is, do you feel unrested when you wake up, even if you've slept for over seven hours, do you feel exhausted in the afternoon? Do you get a burst of energy at night? So you don't have to check yes. To all of these things, but they help us understand. At what level are you dealing with? How is your structure thoughts overall, right? If you really highly, then you need to stop everything you're doing and really focus on it because what happens next is not cool. Okay. Let me keep going through it. Do you get dizzy, irritable or sleepy? If you go without food for four or five hours, do you crave salty food? Do you have pain or inflammation in your muscles and joints? Do you get sick often? Does your sex drive lower than you'd like it to be right? Thinking about the testosterone. Do you have a physical response to small stressors? For example, someone flips you off on the freeway. Does it bother you for hours after that? Or like if your child is yelling at you, does it like make you sweat? Do you feel like you have no energy to do the things you want to do? So those are some of the questions that we have and what we're doing about this, because I feel like 2020 was kind of a tough year, right? I don't think I have to drill too hard on that. We have set up a four-part workshop to go over and to help people correct their cortisol, to support their adrenals. Now that you know about what adrenals are. So let me tell you about it. And I'm just sitting like a short to the point. You don't need more information. You need to know what the problem is and how to solve it.
So that's really essentially what we're trying to do. So we're calling it the adrenal or resilience reset. And it's a four-part adrenal workshop to promote productivity and hormone harmony. Because if this stuff is out of whack, you're not going to feel very productive, very focused, very good because when your blood sugar and blood pressure and sleep, and all of those things are off, you just cannot be as productive. And your hormones absolutely take the brunt of it. So in week one, we're doing cortisol correction. So if you're wired and tired, then this topic is really for you. If you can't get out of bed in the morning, this topic is really for you. So to restore and rock your stress resilience, you've got to really get your circadian rhythms, right? So in this session, we're covering our favorite stress, hormone cortisol one Oh one, and how to make it your baby. I mean, we're going to set you up for better sleep and feeling rested upon waking because when you have sweet dreams, you have happy hormones. And the second week it's all about supporting your stage of stress. So we all have stress.
Let's face it and it can look like we can say, Oh yeah, I have it. But whatever, it can be other things coming into, it can be literally physical responses. Like if you're working out hard running, it can be under eating. Honestly, it could be a lot of things. We're not all in the same stage of stress or adrenal stress in his work in acute season. Like I always use the holidays. The holidays are kind of, I always find them to be a really stressful time being as a parent, you're trying to get everything ready. So I'd love to give myself some extra support during that time so I can feel best.
Otherwise you start to feel like this just sucks. So depending on what your stage is, if you're kind of like just barely a problem, if it's kind of becoming a little bit more of an irregular problem. So we have some stages in our quiz, or if you're just fully, it's not okay, depending on your level, you can be a little supportive or massively supportive. So the goal is here that you know how to support your own reserves and your own resilience, because you know what stage you're in and you know exactly what to do for it. Like what to give yourself. And I'm literally saying there are some supplemental things. No, they're not just adaptogens that you can use to make yourself feel like you have steady energy and to just support yourself. Cause sometimes we can't get out of an acute stressful situation. Chronic stress is another problem, but even acute stressful situation like those holidays, I love to give myself some support to head through that when I'm packing for vacation, just all of those types of things. There are some no brainer support things that anyone can do and I've tested all of these things. And then there's also like the big kahuna support for those that really need to get your stress response back online. Because if you've had a years of chronic stress, you get actually burned out like night shifts, working super late on projects and not getting great sleep. Those definitely cause problems. And when they go on address, they create autoimmune conditions for sure thyroid issues, et cetera.
Okay. And week three, we're doing, I'm sorry for what I said when I was angry. So, you know, you just learn that your stress response is directly affected to your blood sugar or hanger. You're hungry, anger. So we want to say no to anger and blood sugar and balance. So, and this week we'll cover a smart systems for balanced blood sugar, nutrient deficiency patterns that most people don't even know about. I mean, they really don't, unless you've done excessive micronutrient testing and study, and then other like little sneaky solutions you can do for balanced blood sugar, because we all need it. Whether you think you need it or not, we need really good blood sugar. If you can shake you from your coffee, we know we all need some better blood sugar. We forget if we're skipping a meal here and there, we all need to like look at better blood sugar. And this is not about complicated stuff because honestly, I don't have time to implement a complicated system either in the last week is the hormone tango, the hormones dance together. For sure. Like when estrogen goes up, progesterone goes down. That's just how it goes. So we want to talk about hormones one-on-one and how our potentially poor stress response could be sabotaging them into imbalance and how to correct those imbalances. At least briefly, we're really focusing on those adrenal hormones. We're going to talk about all hormones in general, because we want to have really resilient stress, hormone balance.
As you apply the things that I teach you in each week. So this is all about thriving, not surviving because most of us are waking up reacting and just surviving and then have a couple bonuses. One of them is prioritizing your perfect day and other simplifies stress squashing systems. And the other one is brain love for endurance productivity and seriously happier hormones. So I am doing this four week, our four part adrenal support workshop to promote productivity and hormone harmony. And I would love if this episode resonated with you to me, and you can do that. If you go to Krista bigler.com/burnout, you can take the quiz or we'll give you the link to the direct workshop.
It starts March the first Friday in March, we're going to do a live session at lunch for every Friday in March. And if you can't make it to the live session, there always be a replay and we're going to keep it simple, simple action packed. Here's why you should care. Here's exactly what to do about it. Come back next week to get the next stage. So again, if you said yes, as I was going through the assessment questions, or those episode resonated with you, please take care of this before. It's actually a real problem. You will save yourself so much time, money, and hassle. So I can't wait to see you at our adrenal or resilience reset workshop is every Friday in March at noon. And you can get to the quiz by going christabigler.com forward slash burnout and take the quiz first, or you can go direct to the workshop offer. And that is in the show notes. So I'll see you there. You know, I've really spent some time reflecting on my own phases of burnout this year and past years. And I know I'm not the only one that has gone through or goes through these peaks and valleys. And while sometimes you need Lowe's to appreciate the highs in life. Some valleys are pretty difficult for both your mind and your body in a very literal physical way.
This year, I'm feeling really pulled to help others work through burnout, nourish their adrenals, mind, body, and spirit, and have some incredible things in store to help you feel refreshed and renewed. I invite you to take my quiz. Are you approaching burnout to assess your stress resilience and find out more about how to help you overcome it? Go to christabigler.com forward slash burnout to take that quiz. And it'll also be in the show notes.
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