How To Reduce Midlife Stress Over Easter
Naturally lower cortisol - your stress hormone
Its causes are absolutely everywhere. Would you agree? And at times like Easter when we are supposed to be enjoying time with family or friends stress levels can go through the roof.
We rarely feel that we’ve got time to relax and take time for ourselves. And we’ve discussed previously how our main stress hormone, cortisol, may be an underlying factor to our midlife weight gain around the middle.
Our natural “fight or flight” stress response can sometimes go a little overboard. It’s supposed to help us escape injury or death in an emergency and then return to normal after we’ve fought or flew. But, that doesn’t happen too much in our society - it becomes a long-term reaction. It becomes chronic. And this can particularly be the case over holidays like Easter where additional jobs plus hosting, socialising and a lack of sleep can all add up to yet more stress.
You’ve probably heard of the main stress hormone, called “cortisol” and I discussed it in one of my most popular blog posts about belly fat. It’s released from your adrenal glands in response to stress. It’s also naturally high in the morning to get you going, and slowly fades during the day so you can sleep.
Did you know that too-high levels of cortisol are also associated with poor sleep, brain fog, high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and even lowers your immunity? That’s in addition to belly fat!
Most of us midlifers experience one of more of these symptoms, especially at this time of year. So, read on because I have a list of foods, nutrients and lifestyle recommendations to help you lower this stress hormone naturally and relax into any gatherings.
Foods and nutrients to lower cortisol
Let’s start with one of the biggies that increases your cortisol… sugar.
Reducing the sugar we eat and drink can be a great step toward better health for our minds (and bodies). This is why Midlife Menu is focussed around sugar and reducing the intake there of.
If you want support in cutting down the afternoon cravings which can so often make ditching sugar really hard, why not sign up to my 5 day reset to curb sugary, carb cravings here? It’s absolutely FREE!
Cut Back on Coffee Intake
High doses of caffeine also increase your cortisol levels. If coffee makes you feel anxious and jittery, then cut back on the amount of caffeine you ingest.
And have a read of my blog post: Should you drink coffee? Benefits or side effects?
Drink More Water
Also, being dehydrated increases cortisol. Make sure you’re drinking enough water every day, especially if you feel thirsty or if you’ve had one too many glasses of fizz! Drinking plenty of water can also help reduce overeating too.
Eat Nutrient Dense Foods
Eat a variety of nutrient-dense whole foods; this doesn't just help reduce stress hormone, it helps all aspects of your health. If you want some help with how to avoid afternoon food slumps why not join my free 5 day cut the cravings challenge here?
Drink Tea and Eat Dark Chocolate!
Lower your cortisol levels with tea and dark chocolate (not the sugary milky kind!). Have a bit to unwind and enjoy the Easter chocolate along with everyone else.
Remember Your Gut Health
Don’t forget your probiotics and prebiotics!
There is so much new research about the gut-mind connection and gut health and how taking care of your friendly gut microbes is key! Make sure you’re eating probiotic rich fermented foods and getting a healthy dose of prebiotic fibre - start having kefir, kimchi or sauerkraut.
Lifestyle techniques to lower stress hormones
It’s not just food, but there are things you can do with your time that can lower cortisol.
Reduce your stress with mindfulness. Many studies show that reducing stressful thoughts and worry reduces cortisol.
Get enough exercise (but don’t overdo it). While intense exercise increases cortisol levels temporarily, it can reduce overall cortisol levels. If you’re visiting family or friends for Easter, a celebration or during a holiday, try to get out for a walk to fit in a bit of easy exercise.
Get enough sleep!
Getting adequate sleep is way too underrated and sleep can be severely affected when we stay up later, drink more alcohol or stay over at friends or family in unfamiliar and sometimes ‘put-up’ beds. Sleep reduces cortisol levels and also helps improve your overall health in so many ways.
Relax and have fun. Time spent on deep breathing, massages, and listening to relaxing music all reduce cortisol.
Talk to People
Be social and bust loneliness. Would you believe me if I told you that science has shown health risks from social isolation and loneliness? It’s true! Maintaining good relationships and spending time with people you like and who support you is key. We’re often surrounded by people over Easter so enjoy the socialising and try to balance it with some quiet time if you need it.
Pick 1 of these 5 ways to reduce stress during the Easter break
Reduce your sugar and caffeine intake. If you want support to reduce your sugar consumption then jump into the FREE five day curb the sugary, carb cravings challenge.
2. Increase your intake of water, probiotics and prebiotics. Consume dark chocolate and tea in moderation.
3. Have a regular exercise routine – not too much though!
4. Work hard at getting more sleep especially if your routine is being disturbed – see 5 ways to overcome sleep deprivation for more ideas
5. Incorporate ways to relax and to laugh and have fun – be around positive people who make you happy and don’t drain your energy.
The information contained above is provided for information purposes only. The contents of this blog are not intended to amount to advice and you should not rely on any of the contents of this blog. Professional advice should be obtained before taking or refraining from taking any action as a result of the contents of this blog. Midlife Menu Ltd disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on any of the contents of this blog.