As I finished writing my previous post, 10 Common Symptoms of Hormone Imbalance, I found myself empathizing with the reader and wondering about a feeling of overwhelm that can creep up when you start to recognize and identify with such an obscure label as "hormone imbalance." What does that mean, anyway? And how can you begin to make positive changes in your life that go beyond seeing an endocrinologist or stocking up on all the latest vitamins and supplements?
Aside from creating all of the less than fun symptoms discussed in my previous post, hormone imbalances stem from the hypothalamus and pitiutary, glands that are located in your brain. These "master glands" communicate in a beautifully orchestrated triangle with your thyroid, adrenals and ovaries (if you are female), or testes (if you are male). When does this orchestra start playing a little off key? Usually extreme or constant chronic stress creates those spikes of cortisol throughout our day that lead to a change in our physiology.
Personally, I have always preferred to do as much on my own outside of a medical practitioner's office. When I was diagnosed with a hormone imbalance I read all the books and internet articles I could find. In the end, I came up with a list of things I could do for myself, trying each one and noting how I felt in response. What follows is a list of things you can try when you don't feel well.
I often recommend this list to my patients as a way of balancing their lives and dealing with stress because of the great benefits that are seen, sometimes with lightening speed. Not to mention, all of the following will enrich your quality of being and living on this planet. In truth, some of the smallest, simplest (and often times free) things are the best ways to care for yourself and alleviate symptoms. In fact, I'm always suprised at how underrated simply taking better care of yourself can be.
1. SLEEP MORE
I just can't say enough about the importance of sleep. Increasing volumes of studies have been published recently linking sleep deprivation and insomnia to mood instability, poor cardiovascular and circulatory function, and even premature death. One of the easiest way to get more sleep is to go to bed an hour earlier each night. Create a bedtime routine to have deeper and better quality sleep. In Traditional Chinese Medicine each couple of hours has an organ pathway association. Being in bed and asleep by 11pm gives your gallbladder organ and meridian a chance to rest so you can make decisions with courage ("it takes gall to do that!") and secrete enough bile for healthy digestion and elimination. Our internal clocks are regulated by the transition from daylight to darkness, and often staring at a screen at night (which emits blue light, the same light spectrum recieved during daylight), confuses our poor pineal glands! You may find that cutting out screen time and getting to bed early increases the quality of your sleep greatly. Another way I like to get in some extra snoozes harks back to the wisdom of preschool. Yes, naps! Recent studies show a strong correlation between napping in the afternoon and cardiovascular health. Refresh yourself in the middle of your day during that natural low with a short nap. You'll be surprised at how much better you'll feel.
Every time you laugh or break into a huge g