November 4, 2019
Most of us think daily stressors are a part of life you just have to put on your big girl panties and deal with, yet mental health and hormone issues are at an all time high. I sat down with my friend and hormone health coach, Calee Shea, and had her share a bit about how stress affects our female bodies. I’ve worked with Calee on my own personal journey, learning SO much how stress affects women’s health. I believe the info she shares on a daily basis is pertinent to our lives as business owners, wives, mamas, and friends. Grab ya mug, here’s the tea my friends:
I go by a few different titles, but the best way to put it is that I’m a Women’s Holistic Health Practitioner and I specialize in hormones, period problems, and sexual health (from libido to infections). I work with clients who are looking to finally feel comfortable in their bodies again. They crave connection to themselves and want to move away from feeling like they’re constantly at war with a body that doesn’t ever seem to feel good. I started this work, similarly to how most people get started, through my own health issues.
My hair was falling out, my weight was inconsistent, my cycles were 60-75 days long, and I was covered in acne, rosacea, and rashes that not only left me in a lot of pain and discomfort, but quite frankly made me depressed as hell. I was determined to not spend my life feeling this way, so I began my education and training to heal myself. In turn, I became passionate about spreading this information to other women because this isn’t common knowledge, but it is something every woman deserves to know about her body.
I know you said in a nutshell, but bear with me. Our bodies are designed for minimal stress. We haven’t adapted to 21st century stressors like getting cut off in traffic, a rude email, or terrible customer service. Stress serves as something that makes us alert, turns on the adrenaline, and saves our lives. Little does our body know, we don’t necessarily need our lives saved from some jerk who forgot to use a blinker at 5pm in Atlanta traffic. Nonetheless, our bodies react by shutting down the “unnecessary” systems like digestion and reproduction. Here’s what happens:
The adrenals are triggered to pump adrenaline and cortisol to keep us alert. Next, the liver is triggered to pump out extra glucose for energy. The heart beats faster and muscles tense. Ideally, this would save our lives every few months when running from a tiger in the woods. The problem? This is likely happening 2, 3, 4, 10, 25 times per day (hello fellow business owners and moms!). This can lead to digestive issues, reproductive problems, anxiety, adrenal fatigue, depression, headaches, and more. It can affect organ health and the health of entire systems. But don’t worry, there are solutions!
This list could go on forever, seriously, but I think the top 3 most “common” symptoms would include digestive pains, headaches, and the afternoon crash.
Look into a magnesium supplement – Magnesium can help us to have a healthier stress response. It regulates many processes in the body such as muscle contractions and blood sugar. Studies show Magnesium combats insomnia, digestive issues, and high blood pressure, and aids in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression. It is hands down my favorite supplement.
Meditation – Most people pitch a FIT when I suggest this because we have a preconceived notion of what it should look like. I want to reassure you that there is no way to meditate incorrectly. It is simply about sitting with your emotions, thoughts, and feelings and cultivating a healthy response to them, aka none. When we learn to observe our thoughts and behaviors without reaction, it becomes much easier to do the same when life’s stressors inevitably present themselves.
Cultivate some sort of self-care routine. I don’t care if its 60 minutes or 3, find some peace in your day. This isn’t something you’re going to need every day, but it is something you need on the day that it feels like the world is out to get you. Coincidentally, that’s going to be the absolute last day you want to try out some self care. If it is already a habit– your cup is already partially full–it is much easier to show up for yourself.
I’d like to add gut health, Bob! This has been a huge role in my health journey! I’ve had digestive issues that have altered my daily life, and worsened my anxiety which triggered depression. Learning and implementing habits directed at my gut, especially during times of stress, has been life-changing! You can read more about it on Calee’s blog!
For A LOT more goodness from Calee, follow her on Instagram! (She’s one of my faves to follow because her profile is CRAMMED with educational information I’ve been SO uninformed about.)
Calee pursued her education through The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and went on to become board certified through the AADP as a Holistic Health Practitioner. She specializes in Women’s Hormones and Sexuality because it is a community that lacks a voice and real education. Most work days you can find her doing some form of continuing ed, creating content, or on some life-changing coaching calls with a cat (or 2) in her lap. In her off time, she loves to get outside in the sun and get in a sweaty workout!