At some point in your life, it will seem as if your hormones are driving you crazy. For most of us, this happens at the times our menstrual cycle changes, such as when it starts, slows down and ends. No matter what life stage you are at, you can’t avoid your hormones, but there are some tips for you to consider if they are making you go insane! Consider these simple, easy tips if your hormones are driving you crazy. Each of them make a difference in their own way, and you won’t be sorry you gave them a go!
1. Eat for Your Hormones
Eating right is one of the best tips to try if your hormones are driving you crazy. See, different foods affect us in strange ways hormonally. For example, soy foods and flaxseeds, which are rich in antioxidants known as phytoestrogens, can raise our natural estrogen levels. This can be a good thing or bad thing depending on where we are at in life, hormonally speaking. If you’re menopausal, or going through your menstrual cycle, your body is low in estrogen and could benefit from these foods since they mimic estrogen in the body. You should avoid processed soy, however, since it can cause more harm than good, by the way. However, if you’re suffering estrogen dominance, you should possibly avoid foods high in phytoestrogens. All processed foods, hormone-laced meats, refined grains, sugary foods, along with foods high in animal saturated fats and trans fats should also be avoided. These foods negatively affect your hormones, no matter what point you’re at in life. Eat a clean diet based off of mainly gluten-free grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and tons of leafy greens, green vegetables and low-glycemic fruits. This diet will keep you healthy and give you optimal hormone balance no matter what life stage you are at.
2. Consider Underlying Conditions
If you’re having serious hormonal issues, consider if you have any underlying conditions such as polycystic ovarian syndrome, which is a disorder in the ovaries that causes the body to gain weight, causes depression, facial hair, food intolerance and insulin problems. It also affects child birth possibilities and can come with other symptoms. You should also consider if you have other issues such as a thyroid disorder, depression, or anxiety. Each of these will affect your hormones and you’ll need to address these issues so you can balance out your hormones successfully.
3. Move More
One of the best tips I have for balancing out your hormones is to move more! Our bodies are made to be physically active and they should be on a regular basis. Our hormones aren’t happy when our bodies are stagnant, and still too much. Get out and move more! Your hormones will be steady, and levels will improve naturally instead of through taking medication alone. If you suffer high cortisol levels from too much stress, don’t do intense exercises such as running or HIIT training. Instead try more walking, yoga, Pilates and just being active in your yard and home. If you suffer from low energy and anxiety, and get bored with slow exercises, try the more intense exercises to see if they work for you. Either way, moving more is a great way to get hormonal balance and fight weight gain, stress, disease, and depression.
4. Rest More
Along with moving more, you should really rest more too! Resting is so important for your hormones. Most people advise getting 7-8 hours of sleep, but if you’re suffering from hormonal issues, I advise getting more like 8-9 on a regular basis. This will give you a deep state of rest that will help your body recover and help your hormones naturally balance themselves out. It will also help you be less mentally stressed, which levels out your hormones as well. Don’t skimp on your sleep, ladies! It is the worst thing you could do for your hormones!
5. Diet Less
Being obsessed with dieting will throw your hormones into a tail-spin! Don’t start dieting and expect to gain hormonal peace. That being said, by dieting, I mean eating in a restrictive way that is unhealthy. I’m not talking about revamping your plate to be healthy. Dieting means eating diet products, taking supplements, restricting calories to unhealthy levels and exercising yourself excessively to burn off your food. Dieting creates stress on the brain and body that wreaks havoc on your hormones. Take care of your body and your hormones will thank you!
6. Supplement as Needed
If you’re menopausal or just need to reduce those mood swings, bloat sessions, or hot flash sessions at that time of the month, there’s nothing wrong with supplementing the right vitamins and minerals for your hormones. I believe every woman should be taking a magnesium supplement for stress, healthy insulin levels and a balanced nervous system, especially if you exercise. Magnesium is depleted quickly in women and can be thrown off by other nutrients in the body. A decent 300mg or 400mg supplement has been proven to be beneficial for all women to take. After that, I have found that Black Cohosh has been helpful for reducing hot flashes, along with flaxseed and reducing caffeine intake. The herb fenugreek is great for controlling insulin levels, as is the mineral chromium. Juniper berry, fennel and peppermint are all great at reducing bloat and water weight as well. You can buy all of these in a supplement form online or in your health food store. I don’t suggest taking these unless you feel you need them, but they can be a real lifesaver when you do!
7. Sleep Appropriately
I’ve already covered that you should get enough rest, but you should also consider how you’re sleeping. By this I mean what you’re wearing, what you’re covering up with and what temperature your room is. I noticed that when I suffered night sweating profusely a couple years ago, that I couldn’t sleep in a few things: lace or silk undies, lace or silk pajamas, or any kind of pants or long-sleeved shirt. Even in the dead of winter I had to sleep in cotton shorts, cotton undies and a cotton tank top. I also reduced the temperature in the room to 72 degrees instead of 74 and I turned on the fan if it got really bad. I also covered up with a single cotton blanket instead of a sheet. Sheets can get tangled up under you easier than blankets, causing you to overheat, so take off your sheets and cover up with a thin cotton blanket instead, which won’t cause as much sweating through friction. Also, make sure your pillow cases are cotton and not flannel or silk either, which can increase sweating. If it is winter and you have to have the heat on, consider sleeping without a blanket. If you are suffering chills at night due to your period or other issues like illness, consider doubling your blankets, and sleeping in long-sleeved pajamas and pants. Keep an extra blanket on the end of your bed if you need it during the night, or use a thermal blanket. Sleeping appropriately can help relieve the hormonal symptoms that cause you to lose sleep that you desperately need.
8. Consider Medications
If you are on certain medications, they could be influencing your hormones and causing problems. Decide if the medications are necessary, and if they aren't, consider alternative treatments after talking with your doctor. Also, if you have issues like diabetes, thyroid disorders or more, balancing out your hormones first by following a healthy diet and exercise plan can reduce the need to take medications that may be affecting your hormones to start with.
9. Create Less Stress
One last tip, but possibly the most important tip, is to create less stress for yourself! You shouln’t have to go through life stressed to the point where you’re miserable, a train-wreck of anxiety, and a ball of nerves 24/7 just be try to be perfect, successful or attend every social situation. If your job is causing problems for you, consider what you’re doing for your job. Could you possibly change careers doing something that made you happier, even if it meant a little less pay? Is a huge salary or lifestyle worth being so stressed? Or, is a bad relationship that you feel you can’t get out of worth being so stressed? Life issues can cause major hormonal upset. If you’re dealing with natural, normal stresses that we all face like finance and family issues, employ more stress-reducing exercises and activities into your life. Walking, yoga, reading, resting, journaling, having coffee or tea with a friend, listening to music, dancing, and even cleaning can all be great activities that reduce stress. Oh, and once again, don’t forget the importance of exercise, a healthy nutrition plan and enough sleep on reducing stress. Those three are all miracle workers in my book!
Have your hormones been driving you batty? Mine have just about seemed to take away my sanity at points in my life and I’m only 28! Being a woman is such a roller coaster at times, but with these 9 simple tips, your hormones can finally achieve harmony. What hormonal issues do you suffer from the most?