Supporting Stress & Burnout
You want to have enough energy to do the things you love to do.
To sleep through the night.
To maintain a positive mood.
If this sounds like you, then read on.
Burn out is the intersection of too much “giving" and not enough “self-care’.
In 2019, Burnout was officially recognized as a medical diagnosis by the World Health Organization.
The criteria for this diagnosis are:
Feelings of energy depletion of exhaustion.
Increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job.
Reduced professional efficacy.
As a Naturopathic Doctor, I provide the foundation and groundwork to recover from burnout, to help you establish the steps you need to take in order to get back to feeling like yourself again.
I start by evaluating The Foundations of Health:
Every patient is unique. My approach reflects that by establishing where your starting points need to be. For some this could be….
-Solving your digestive concerns.
-Establishing a regular mindfulness practice.
-Investigating your sleep.
-Testing your hormones.
For others, their foundations of health are optimal, and we need to do some optimizing. In these situations, I often utilize adaptogens, which are herbs that can help the body adapt to stress.
Boost your Resilience to Stress with Herbals
Herbs to support your body’s response to stress are called ‘Adaptogens’. These are non-toxic plants which have been used for centuries in many cultures.
It is thought that these herbs can support the HPA (hypothalamic-pituitary axis) and the adrenal glands, both of which produce a hormonal cascade influencing how our bodies handle stress.
Ashwaghanda - Withania somnifera - A study in 2012 with 64 people demonstrated that a high concentration of Ashwagandha root safely and effectively improved an individuals resistance to stress and their self-assessed quality of life.
Holy basil - Ocimum tuniflorum - Commonly known as Tulsi, has been heavily studied. A review of the literature in 2017 demonstrated its positive effect on mood, and 2 of the studies showed a reduction in stress related symptoms up to 39%.
Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra - Has similar effects to cortisol, and can be helpful in situations when there is long-term chronic stress. It can improve energy levels, as well as mood. Note: It can raise blood pressure.
How Can You Add These Herbals to Your Diet?
Many ways, I work with patients to find out what the easiest way is for them. For some this could be a powder to add to their morning smoothie, for others a bedtime tea, or maybe capsules to take throughout the day.
Always be cautious of over-the-counter products being dispensed as a ‘cure-all’ for stress. Quality matters, and I encourage you to consult with a Naturopathic Doctor to find out if what you are taking is safe for you, and is of good quality. There are many companies out there using poor-quality herbals.
As always, consult with your health care provider before introducing new herbals/medications/supplements into your regimen as there can be unforeseen interactions or adverse effects.
Nutrition to Improve Your Stress Resilience
Eat 3 balanced meals a day and don’t skip meals. Doing this will help stabilize your blood sugar throughout the day and minimize peaks and valleys, which can negatively impact your energy.
Mindful eating - schedule in 15 uninterrupted minutes to eat your meals. While focusing on your meal, think about the taste, texture, smell and gratitude.
Eat 1 cup of dark green leafies per day. (e.g, Kale, Chard, Collard Greens). These are nutritional powerhouses.
Reduce caffeine, as this can negatively impact sleep and give you a false sense of your energy levels.
Minimize processed foods that are white! aka - sugar, white baked goods as these spike your blood sugar, leading to an inevitable crash in energy.
Meal prepping is key. Either batch cook on the weekend so you have enough food for the week, or consider one of the many food delivery services available (e.g, Fresh Prep).
Hydration - a rough rule of thumb is to drink 2 litres of water per day. Utilizing electrolytes after activities can be crucial for many.
Curious to learn more about how Naturopathic Medicine can support you? Book a 15-minute meet & greet appointment with Dr. Stephanie to learn more.