For many right now-- nutrition and exercise may not seem important which I get.. but it is because it can help you with the high levels of stress , mental health and if you are in recovery.. it's affecting all of us.
See stress effects our hormones (cortisol) , our neurotransmitters (ie serotonin), our Micro-nutrients (vitamins and minerals like our B Vitamins and Magnesium etc), our sleep and how we digest our foods...
Yes, stress is primal and yes, we have it from time to time.. we even may have the "fight or flight" stress but our bodies aren't made to sustain long term stress...
So from years of education and years of helping clients in a Health & Wellness Coaching aspect to now a Nutritional one, here are some steps that may be helpful..
Listen to your body. When something doesn’t feel right (mentally, emotionally or physically) acknowledging it is the first step to overcoming. Use the resources available to you to seek support, if needed. They are out there from Health & Wellness Coaches, Nutritionist, Therapist etc.. Please reach out.
Stay hydrated. Staying properly hydrated with water is just as important as eating healthy. A good habit is to always have water with you wherever you go. Avoid sugary drinks and alcoholic beverages, which can cause spikes in blood sugar that can increase hunger along with other aspects of mental health and those in recovery.
Practice healthy sleep habits. Eight hours is the recommended amount of sleep per night. The quality of your sleep impacts mental clarity, blood pressure and immunity. Sleeping less than six hours can affect your hormones and metabolism.
Exercise and stay active. Deep breathing, muscular exertion and regular movement can help improve your well-being, immunity and focus. Studies also show that it is helpful with depression, anxiety and for those in recovery it can lessen cravings plus it relieves stress and fills time that otherwise may not be filled.
Eat healthy meals and snacks. Adopting healthy eating habits involves making mindful decisions and avoiding processed foods as much as possible. If you have a long day ahead of you or you know your day will be stressful, make sure you have healthy, nutritious and protein-rich snacks on hand. These types of foods and snacks help optimize your brain and body, and can help minimize the stress that comes with hunger and low energy.
Prioritize stress management. Stress is normal, but living with it constantly is unhealthy and can become debilitating to your well-being. Long-term stress can contribute to obesity, heart disease and high blood pressure. Again use resources for mental health care (like counseling and/or emotional support via telehealth or AA meetings via video etc) to ensure that stress doesn’t stand in the way of your health.
I want to answer some inquiries on why I do the Gratitude Project which I try to do every year but this year I decided to share it on here..
Well, part of why I am doing the Gratitude Project is to remind myself that life isn't so bad or so negative... that there are good and positive aspects in life even now if we just take a moment to see them..
Another reason is because August is National Wellness Month --
However, even through August is National Wellness Month we should focus on self-care, creating healthy routines and stress management everyday... all year round. We should be encouraged to challenge ourselves to create new, healthier habits that promote holistic health, wellness and happier lives.
So for me, doing the Gratitude Project it's part of my self-care, mental health healing and overall reminder that life is good!
With August being #NationalWellnessMonth-- I hope this is a reminder to love yourself, to focus on self-care, create healthy routines, and manage your stress. ...
It's perfectly normal to have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep from time to time which is known as insomnia. However there are times when these sleep problems become more than once in awhile and can linger longer than normal due to a sudden life change or an increased amount of stress. For example, the death of a loved one, a car accident, loss of a job, current life events such as now etc., can interrupt someone's sleep pattern for about a week or two. Anything longer than a week or two becomes a chronic sleep problem.
What is sleep?
Well, there are two types of sleep--
Each night a person will go through five or more sleep cycles that include both of the above mentioned types of sleep no matter their sleep pattern.
What determines when and how long we sleep?
So how do we know when to sleep and for how long-- well, a person has a circadian rhythm or an internal sleep clock that determines a person's sleep pattern. This 24 hour circadian rhythm or internal sleep clock is regulated by light, travel and social factors among various other internal aspects such as body temperature, hormones (melatonin) etc.
How much sleep do I need?
Now, that we know what sleep is, what determines when and for how long we sleep-- we now need to know the amount of sleep a person should get nightly....right? Well, sleep lengths are unique to each individual and lessens as one increases in age. For example, most 1 year old babies needs 14 hours of sleep while an adult may need 7 to 9 hours of sleep. Women need more sleep than men and elderly adults sleep less at night and more during the day compared to those younger (Pizzorno, 2016). Even this information isn't a “one way fits all” because some may need more or less sleep than advised above. It's a matter of what makes you feel rested the next morning.
What to do when you can't sleep?
There are numerous therapeutic sleep suggestions, behavior modification suggestions, and/or sleep aides available out there. However, only one will be discussed here and most know this sleep aide as Melatonin. It can be obtained over the counter in pill form with daily doses ranging from 0.5 mg to 5 mg at most local CVS or Walgreens. Sound familiar?
Did you also know that melatonin is a natural hormone that is produced in the pineal gland located in the brain? Did you also know that this hormone helps regulate a person's circadian rhythm or internal sleep clock? How about that this hormone contains anti-oxidants and that it has free radical removing properties?
All questions stated directly above are true aspects about Melatonin.....and you are probably wonder what all that means and why do you need to know this?
It's very important to understand a possible product that you may decide to use, especially one that is ingested. So by knowing that melatonin is naturally made in our bodies, it shouldn't surprise you that most studies show the over-the-counter pill form is well tolerated and has little to no-long or short term adverse effects (Zizhen, 2017). That doesn't mean there are no side effects and it doesn't mean it's regulated but that it's overall safe for children and adults (Pizzorno, 2016).
Next, it's important to understand what it will do, like it helps regulate a person's circadian rhythm or internal sleep clock. So what does that mean?? It basically means that this hormone follows a similar pattern by increasing at night and decreasing during daylight hours. Hence, why it's recommended to take the pill form at least one hour before bedtime or at night so that it can help with the onset of a person's sleep time schedule. Research has shown that melatonin can decrease the time it takes to fall asleep and increases total actual sleep time especially those experiencing jet lag, insomnia etc (Costello, 2014). However, remember this can vary depending on each person.
Lastly, knowing that melatonin has anti-oxidants along with free radical removing properties is just as important. The reason for why it's important is because “sleep is known as the anti-oxidant time for the brain” and during sleep “free radicals are removed” (Pizzorno, 2016). Another way to look at this is that when you are sleeping it's allowing your brain to clean up and clear out harmful aspects that collected during waking hours. By allowing a person's brain this much needed time it prevents neuronal damage and premature aging which occurs with chronic sleep deprivation.
Now that you know more about sleep in general and about melatonin you can make a sound decision if it's something you may use or not. Ultimately this is not intended to give medical advice, make diagnoses, or hinder you from seeking care from a licensed medical professional. Please talk to your medical doctor for further information especially if you are unsure if melatonin is right for you.
Costello, R. B., Lentino, C. V., Boyd, C. C., O'Connell, M. L., Crawford, C. C., Sprengel, M. L., & Deuster, P. A. (2014). The effectiveness of melatonin for promoting healthy sleep: a rapid evidence assessment of the literature. Nutrition journal, 13, 106. doi:10.1186/1475-2891-13-106
Pizzorno, J. E., Murray, M. T., & Joiner-Bey, H. (2016). The clinician’s handbook of natural medicine (3rd ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier.
Zizhen X, Fei, C., William A.L., Xiaokun G, Changhong L, Xiaomei M, Yan F, Wei L & Fengchun Y (2017) A review of sleep disorders and melatonin, Neurological Research. Retrieved February 19, 2019 from https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01616412.2017.1315864
And, of course, here’s the standard disclaimer:
The statements expressed herein pertaining to foods and herbs have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
This website and related services are not intended to give medical advice, make diagnoses, or hinder you from seeking care from a licensed medical professional. Any of the resources suggested by the owner of this site are for information purposes only, publicly available to anyone, and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. You are encouraged to consult your healthcare provider before making any changes in diet or lifestyle. The information given by the owner of this site is not intended to replace the services or instructions of a physician, therapist or qualified healthcare provider. It is the individual’s responsibility to evaluate and choose service providers that they believe will satisfy their requirements and provide care that will meet their needs