Whilst I am writing this week in honour of International Women's Day (March 8th) this blog also relates to men - yes you have hormones too so please read on....
Have you ever felt like you were following someone else’s schedule rather than your own natural rhythm?
You may be letting your partner, kids or workmates influence the flow of your day, or a broader “prescribed rhythm” that you’re going with instead of listening to your body.
Here’s the truth : One rhythm does not work for everyone so following someone else’s schedule more often than not, has a negative effect on hormones.
If you’re dealing with chronic fatigue, low sex drive, intense premenstrual syndrome (PMS), cystic acne, mild depression or other random symptoms like weight gain around the middle, then going against your natural rhythm might be the issue. By working to balance your hormones, you’ll naturally begin to live in harmony with your body instead of dragging yourself along with someone else’s agenda. The result - You’ll start feeling more energised and more vibrant.
Evaluate your mindset
A lot of women feel like they need to keep up with other people. If you don’t feel like being social four nights a week after a 10-12hr working day or exercising for two hours a day, you might think that there is something wrong with you. You might even beat yourself up or feel ashamed and lazy!
Ignoring your body signals and writing them off as laziness is not productive or helpful – it actually drains your energy even more. The mental weight you put on yourself like shame and judgement is often more draining then the long “to-do” list.
Please believe that the body is naturally incredibly fine-tuned. It is designed for deep relaxation and self-care at certain times of the month (yes male and female) and linear, productive work at other times of the month.
Here are some symptoms that commonly appear when you’ve been pushing your body rather than honouring your limits :
Your sex drive is nowhere to be found;
Your PMS is more intense than usual;
You’re gaining weight around the middle of your body;
You feel guilty, shamed and / or depressed – sometimes for no particular reason;
Cystic acne is starting to appear, especially around the jawline and chin or your having sudden outbreaks of eczema.
Read on to learn how to heal the body naturally with methods that bring your body back into balance.
1. Empower yourself - when symptoms pop-up it’s easy to feel like there might be a bigger and more complex issue going on or your broken and can’t heal. The first step is to stop and acknowledging that nothing is inherently wrong with you. From a place of confidence in your body’s ability to heal itself, you can get curious about what’s going on for you and tap into the endless natural toolbox. Embodying the mindset that you are healthy now and you can become even more healthier takes a huge weight off your shoulders and allows your body to naturally reach health.
2. Get real about rest - are you a walking zombie trying to push through the day? I relate to this very much! Maybe you’re actually tired. Starting with the weekends, let yourself sleep as long as you want. Some people will be rejuvenated after one long deep sleep, while others might need to take some serious time off to come back into balance. Sleep is a requirement for good health. Please LISTEN to your body and sleep when you’re tired. If you set the alarm to get up and exercise but just don’t feel like it - don’t push it, go later, at lunch or after work.
3. Balance your nervous system - I wrote about this last week. Most modern people spend the majority of their lives in the sympathetic nervous system state of “fight or flight”. Your body doesn’t know the difference between those literal stresses and chronic stress related to work or difficult relationships. When your body is in the sympathetic state, it can’t repair, digest, produce hormones or build up your immunity. When you are relaxed and calm, your body is in the parasympathetic state “rest and digest”. This state is brought on by sleep, laughing, reading, listening to podcasts, meditation, hanging out with pets and physical touch with a loved ones. Your body has to be in the parasympathetic state to heal and evolve. The more you can activate your parasympathetic nervous system by relaxing and having fun, the healthier you will be – physically and mentally.
4. Evaluate exercise - my partner is currently having a go at me for this but rightly so. Sometimes the harder you work out, the more stress you actually put on your body. Sometimes, depending on your constitution, condition or time of the month you may actually need gentle exercise like yoga or walking. Certain forms of rigorous exercise trigger the stress response so make sure you balance your hard-core workouts with practices that are easier on the body like yoga, walking the dog or light resistance weights or dancing around the house to your favourite tunes! Trust me you will discover that your body responds really well to these more gentle practices but experiment for a few weeks and see how your body feels.
5. Embrace the power of community - community has a powerful influence on personal health, and developing a supportive tribe is crucial to balancing your hormones. When you feel alone and isolated, you’re more likely to overreact, feel depressed, and lack love and connection in your life. Humans are meant to live in communities – it’s natural and necessary. Many local organisations exist around hobbies, interests and/or exercise have monthly member catch-ups or social occasions. Brighton in particular has many women network groups, or council lead meet ups for cooking classes etc, even if you push yourself to attend once a month - its a new group of people who will embrace your attendance - believe me, I am always glad I went.
So please take some time this week both women and men to experiment with more rest, relaxation, and community connection. Remember, your body is an amazing vessel and more often than not your body innately knows how to heal itself if you just LISTEN. Remember you can take empowered steps to become even healthier! Take control of your health and lead healthfullives!