When someone asks you how your day was, how often do you answer with “busy”? Life is a very delicate juggling act of a lot of different priorities. Fitting in careers, businesses, partners, families, friends, social life, exercise, sleep and everything else means us ladies are living our day-to-day lives in a pretty stressed and rushed state, sometimes without even realising. I’m not talking about the type of stress you feel meeting a deadline, preparing to give a presentation or when you’re running late. I am talking about just our regular day. Our bodies are not designed to deal with this type of prolonged stress and, as I’m sure we can all relate to, it’s quite taxing. But, just exactly what is this doing to our bodies and what can we do about it?
THE IMPACT OF BUSINESS ON YOUR HORMONES
The craziness of our daily lives means many of us are operating with a high baseline level of cortisol, which is a stress hormone. A long time ago many of the life events that induced a high level of cortisol were centered around where your next meal was coming from and periods of famine – and what does our body need to survive a famine? A slower metabolism, storage of fat and the ability to eat large amounts when you do come across food. However, these days our body is triggering this response just to cope with the demands of everyday life.
STRESS VS SLEEP
Do you feel well rested in the morning when your alarm goes off? Your ‘sleep hygiene’ describes the habits that make up your nighttime routine. Good sleep hygiene is a nighttime ritual, which helps you to have a restful nights sleep.
Perhaps the biggest culprit for poor sleep hygiene and therefore poor sleep in today’s world is technology. Simply because we are so surrounded by it! It’s easier said than done I know, but disconnecting from the TV, phones and iPads is SO important for your sleep.
The blue light emitted by our screens is incredibly disruptive to our natural sleep rhythm, which prevents your body getting the maximum rest it can.
HOW THIS ALL AFFECTS DIET
It ultimately becomes a negative cycle, which eventually impacts the foods we eat. High cortisol levels mean we will often crave foods high in fats and sugar. Poor sleep resulting in poor energy levels contributes to these cravings also, as you crave that sugar rush for a bit of energy to get you through the 3.30pm slump, and the cycle starts again the next day.
ADD CALM TO YOUR DAY
We really do need to look at the holistic picture. Exercise is an obvious one, and really is one of the best stress relievers there is! Even a ten-minute walk can do wonders and it’s also great for helping to regulate your appetite.
Aim to shut off all technology at least an hour before going to bed. Start gradually, perhaps 15 minutes at first, and build up from there as you adjust your routine. Dim the lights, take a nice bath, read a book, listen to calming music, meditate, journal, drink a cup of herbal tea. Do whatever you like to do in this time to wind down. As difficult as it is to break the cycle of scrolling through Instagram before you set your alarm, you will thank yourself in the morning!
Introduce meditation or quiet reading into your day wherever you can. Again even just ten minutes of quiet time, where you can quiet your mind and stop for just a second makes the world of difference. It’s this peace that we’re often missing in our busy days, so make the commitment to sneak it back in. Making these changes to help introduce some calm into your day will in turn lead to more positive food choices and eating habits too.
Image credits via pinterest