Interesting how opposites attract. Yin and Yang, Black and White… Covid and Wellness? Yup, pretty much the top two words trending right now. But really not that odd of a couple when you think about it.
Let’s focus on the exact opposite of what has been our biggest nemesis for the last 9 months, Covid. While we have been living in fear of losing our good health to this virus, people are now really focusing on how to get their bodies and minds to their absolute best. The threat of bad health really makes you stop and assess your choices. There are a few silver linings from this last year, and the search for Wellness is one of them, for sure!
What does Wellness mean exactly?
There are many descriptions out there. My favorite is short and sweet from UC Davis, “Wellness is an active process of becoming aware of and making choices toward a healthy and fulfilling life.”
Straight to the point.
But sometimes, our Wellness is out of OUR control. Illness and injury can come on unexpectedly. Another outside force that shakes up our Wellness goals like no other is big, bad STRESS.
It would be pretty impossible to find someone on the planet right now that is not feeling stress. Men, women, children, young and old - we have all somehow been impacted greatly by Covid. But how are we coping?
As it turns out, stress is not entirely genderless in how your body reacts to it. For various reasons, women are getting hit harder when stress rears its ugly head.
According to the American Psychological Association:
Why? A couple of main factors are women’s hormones (pretty obvious that our plumbing is WAY more complex) and that women generally assume many more roles in their day-to-day lives.
Physical ways that stress affects women: headaches, depression, anxiety, heart problems, upset stomach, menstrual cycle problems, problems getting pregnant, decreased sex drive, to name a few.
Let’s talk about hormones and stress and just how stress impacts us at a chemical level.
First off, hormone imbalance.
Women don’t necessarily suffer more stress than men - it’s just that our stress response is different. Women have a completely different hormonal system, which causes us to react more emotionally and become more exhausted on an emotional level.
According to womenshealth.gov,” Experts do not fully know the reason for the differences, but it may be related to how men’s and women’s bodies process stress hormones.”
High levels of cortisol caused by stress have been linked to several physical and emotional symptoms such as a change in libido and/or menstrual cycle and feelings of anxiety or depression.
Estrogen, in particular, can be inhibited by stress and a constant flood of cortisol. Estrogen is responsible for the important development and maintenance of female reproductive tissues.
It is very much a domino effect with hormones—when one is triggered, a reactionary chain follows, leading to many other physical issues.
One exciting and NATURAL remedy for helping women handle their stress, and its effect on women’s hormones has been CBD.
A 1993 study published on pubmed.gov entitled “Effect of cannabidiol on plasma prolactin, growth hormone, and cortisol in human volunteers” found CBD helped regulate the stress-activating hormone’s secretion cortisol. The CBD does this by interfering with cortisol secretion. The resulting effect is hormone regulation. Without a hormone imbalance, our bodies can run more smoothly, and the nasty effects of stress can be kept at bay!
How do you introduce CBD to your life if you haven’t used it? By the way, we are talking non-THC CBD, so no, you won’t get “high”. The easiest way to introduce CBD into your life, I think, is CBD gummies. They can be thrown into your bag and can be taken anytime, anywhere, discreetly, and easily. See our collection of gummies.
Getting that hormonal balance on track helps keep so many other side effects of stress at bay. One of the foremost being…. sleep!
Insomnia is more common in older women than men. The older I get, a “great night’s sleep” is fewer and farther between.
Studies are coming out with very positive support of CBD for sleep issues. Even The Sleep Association states, “Overall, there is scientific research that supports the theory that there are CBD health benefits. While more research needs to be done, the use of CBD can potentially decrease your symptoms of insomnia and help you get more quality sleep.” And they really know their stuff about this topic!
I can almost guarantee that I will have a good night sleep with a 1-2-3 ritual that is a favorite:
In addition to CBD in my life, I have a couple of other stress-busting to-do’s.
First up, I’m not sure where I first heard this, but I fell in love with it: “Tending and befriending.” It is actually a huge stress relief to tend to our families and each other. And to be taken care of by friends. Just sitting, talking, and venting with a trusted, close friend has been the lifeline for women for ages. Instant stress buster and mood lifter and SO important for Wellness!
My next favorite component in my personal stress-busting routine: exercise. I know you’ve all heard it a million times over. But reframe it for yourself. This doesn’t mean you need to get into some crazy HIIT class or even join a gym. Sometimes just a nice walk around the block will do it. Just get up and MOVE. The stress slips away.
So to all the women out there, take care of yourself. Bringing your stress levels down is integral to your Wellness Journey. Try CBD, phone a friend, work on getting good sleep. Wellness will come when you put all of those habits into effect. Good luck!
Of course, this is always the new year buzz, especially coming out of a year like 2020; chances are more bad habits have been made. Many of us got into new cycles that we’d like to break, change, or amend. Wine-to-wind-down more often than usual? Check. Netlfix on the couch more often than not? Yep, that too.