I think the unknown is the real stressor right now. I can imagine this will impact many of our cycles in some way.
Instead of stressing about it, all we can do right now is manage how we respond and take it day by day. This is because stressful situations trigger an adrenaline rush including elevated heart rate, increase in blood pressure and heightened alertness. The spike in adrenaline is a signal to the pituitary gland to produce ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). This then triggers your adrenal glands to push out cortisol.
We know of cortisol as the main fight or flight steroid hormone (also known as the “pro-aging” hormone, unfortunately). We do need cortisol in small amounts but not in the chronically high amounts that are being triggered at this moment in time. I know you don’t want to hear this (I don’t want to think about it either!) but its important to recognize when we are in this fight or flight state and how we choose to handle it moving forward because as long as your brain continues to perceive something as dangerous or stressful, your adrenals will push out cortisol.
This constant cortisol release can lead to HPA-axis dysregulation. This is something I talk about in my book but basically, it’s a communication break down between the hypothalamus, pituitary gland and adrenals as they become desensitized to the constant release of stress hormones. This breakdown can lead to total burnout (“adrenal fatigue”), irregular cycles, anovulation (lack of ovulation), PMS symptoms, etc. This dysregulation pushes non-essential tasks like ovulation to the side (as well as digestion). This majorly impacts hormone balance as ovulation is THE most important part of the cycle.
Your body pushes these tasks to the back burner as a way of protecting you in the hopes that you will slow down and rest (which we all need to do right now, more than ever). The tips I include below will switch your body into the parasympathetic “healing” mode, instead of residing in the sympathetic “stressed out” fight or flight mode.
ALTER YOUR STRESS RESPONSE WITH THESE TIPS:
- balance blood sugar with every meal (include a healthy fat, protein, complex carb and lots of greens)
- you may feel drawn to eating more at this time which is normal! honor your body and do your best. try to avoid sugar or make some of my sugar-free recipes on the blog
- move your body in some way (I’m LOVING the Melissa Wood Health workouts right now, daily walking with my pup and yoga
- read to escape
- practice gratitude every single day
- laugh more! watch funny dog videos, funny shows, etc.
- reduce caffeine. I’m only drinking decaf coffee at this time but I am enjoying some tequila and red wine
- epsom salt baths
- regular orgasms to flush cortisol!
- actually relaxing when you are tired instead of pushing through
- organize and clean your home
- have a good therapeutic cry