Written by my Spring 2018 apprentice, Nicole Hegstad, this post discusses how self care can help balance your hormones.
You’ve seen it everywhere, blog posts, Pinterest pins, Facebook lives and Instagram stories, self care is all the rage. Your best friend’s toes poking out of a bubble bath, your sister and her dog hiking up a mountain or some random acquaintance with a mug of cocoa all proclaiming “Self Care Day!” Some of us give a heart or thumbs up while thinking that this self care thing is being taken a little too far… but is it?
In our very hectic lives, there seems to be no time between picking the kids up from school, cooking a nutritious meal and getting our various chores done around the house. So why on earth would we try to squeeze one more thing into our already insane schedule?
I’m not going to go into all the reasons why self care is good for our schedule, our families and our lives in general.
Today, I’m here to talk about how self care can help balance our hormones
Most of us start our day off with an alarm clock and it seems that we’ve barely wiped the sleep from our eyes before we’re looking at our phones and the 25 notifications that came in throughout the night. I mean who are these people contacting and sending us stuff all night? Do they even sleep?
Essentially, we’re living the life of a well-paid CEO with phone calls, emails and text messages coming in at all hours of the day or night. Yet, we aren’t paid like the CEO mentioned above, so we set out in search of the bathroom to try and ready our faces to meet the world.
Hours later we sit stony-eyed and brain fogged as some customer tells us all their woes. We try to care, but it’s hard, really hard. It’s hard to care about what this person cares about when our cares seem so much bigger.
From taxes to toxic relationships to whether we turned off the coffee pot or remembered deodorant this morning. Our personal stress looms in the background while this man in front of us complains because our boss’s boss’s boss made an executive decision and raised the price of bread by 2 pennies.
Plunging ahead into the day, we arrive home after what seemed like hours in traffic, grab the mail and collapse onto the couch hoping the electric bill isn’t too much this month. The remote is our only friend, as we spend the evening slipping away into an alternative reality.
Images and sounds from another world entertain us to death until we can’t keep our eyes open any longer and we drag ourselves to bed to repeat the entire process tomorrow.
Life is stressful. Too stressful. This is hard on our endocrine system. Really hard.
When we experience stress, the endocrine system goes to work and the Adrenal Glands produce a hormone called Cortisol. Cortisol puts more oxygen in our blood and makes our hearts pump faster. This helps us to run faster, jump higher and think clearer.
Let me tell you if I ever need to run away from a big hairy mammal, I want Cortisol to be in my body. I want my Adrenals to work overtime that day. I want it to flood every drop of blood and plug every single receptor site possible. I want to live, and I know that Cortisol will give me the best chance that I can have if that day ever comes.
However, today, I’m just sitting in traffic trying to merge onto a highway where no one is letting me in. My palms are sweaty, my heart is racing and I don’t need to breathe much because the breaths I’m taking are getting through to my blood just fine.
What’s the problem with all this?
All that Cortisol is plugging the receptor sites in my ovaries so progesterone can’t get through. Essentially, Cortisol is shutting down my ability to get pregnant… because I’m stressed about traffic, spilling coffee on myself, being late to work, the price of bread or that electric bill that’s far more than I expected.
So, what do we do?
We have to change our hectic lifestyle. We have to get through to our endocrine system that we’re just fine. We don’t need any more Cortisol, thank you very much. We’ll be okay without it. We do this by implementing self care.
Starting a self care regimen must start slowly at first with scheduling 5 minutes here or 5 minutes there, and then more and more until we’re happy with our lifestyle.
We have to take a hike to get away from all these crazy people. We have to soak in the bath and let the water turn our fingers into prunes. We have to sit at the corner coffee shop and people watch or read a book.
We have to do this because if we don’t stop and take a little bit of time for ourselves, our hormones will continue to be out of balance and we will continue to have hormone and infertility problems.
We have to change the way we are living because the way we are living is changing who we are.
Nicole Hegstad helps women who are struggling to get pregnant. Whether you’re at the very beginning of this struggle or knees deep in blog posts, she can help you navigate the maze of endless information and late nights hunched over your laptop. Nicole is a Fertility advocate