Managing cortisol is the key to happy hormones
Identify signs of high cortisol, tackle hormonal imbalances, and embrace stress reduction techniques for a happier, healthier life.
Signs of high cortisol and what to do about it
As women and menstruators, we’ve been taught that suffering through crippling cramps, mood swings, skin woes, and intense cravings is normal. But let’s get one thing clear—none of these scenarios should be a part of womanhood. In fact, they’re sneaky signs you likely have a hormonal imbalance. More specifically, they may indicate your cortisol levels are out of whack. Good news: with the new year under way, there’s no better time to resolve your period woes (sayonara, PMS) and kiss your stressors goodbye.
What is cortisol?
Before we dive into how to lower stress, let’s define cortisol. In essence, think of cortisol as nature’s built-in alarm system. It’s your body’s main stress hormone. It works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood, motivation, and fear. Your adrenal glands—which sit on top of your kidneys—make cortisol. Healthy levels of cortisol help our bodies use food as fuel, along with keeping inflammation down, regulating blood pressure, boosting energy, and much more. Like most things in life, we need some cortisol, but having too much or too little isn’t ideal.
How does cortisol impact female hormones?
Unsurprisingly, most of us walk around in a chronic state of stress. Worst part is? We don’t even realize it. Everything from work-related burnout—to poor sleep, dehydration, overexercising, and undereating—are stressors. And these stressors cause elevated cortisol. In a well-functioning body, cortisol levels should be highest in the morning (when you wake) and lowest around midnight. However, your body will pump out excess cortisol when you’re anxious or under intense stress. In turn, this lowers estrogen levels and can cause a slew of unwanted effects: fat storage in the midsection, night sweats, sleep problems, mood swings, etc.
Signs of high cortisol and how to lower your stress
Signs of high cortisol are different for everyone, but a few common symptoms include high blood pressure, rapid weight gain (or loss), headaches, irritability, absent menstrual cycle, and hair loss. Curious to know what your cortisol levels are? We like DUTCH—an at-home urine test to gauge your cortisol. At any rate, there are many ways to lower your stress.
First and foremost, it’s important to recognize what or who causes stress. Do you need to set better boundaries? Move on from a stressful friendship? Before making an action plan, write down your area(s) of stress. Set intentions around protecting your peace. In the meantime, aim to reduce caffeine and sugar (hate to be the bearer of bad news, but both caffeine and sugar can elevate cortisol), take a cold shower in the morning, go for a daily walk—even if it’s for 10 minutes—and try Wim Hof breathing exercises. Ultimately, minimizing stress often requires an honest check-in: if an experience, relationship, or activity isn’t a hell yes, consider it a no.
Cortisol Manager is our go-to stress relieving supplement featuring herbs and adaptogens to help foster a sense of calm. It’s important to remember that supplements are just that—they’re meant to supplement a healthy lifestyle. Always work with a practitioner before you start supplementing.
Swap your morning coffee with this calming bevvie
Love your coffee but notice daily jitters or heightened anxiety? It may be time to put coffee on the back burner. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious and nourishing alternatives available. One of our favorites? Rasa. Their signature rich and roasty blend supports you with calm yet invigorating energy. It has over 3100mg of adaptogens and zero caffeine. It’s a little nutty, slightly sweet, and most importantly, helps take the edge off of stress. Take their quiz to find out what blend is best for you! Otherwise, give Rasa’s sample pack a try.