Wow so many topics that are near and dear to my heart.
Did you know that they way you talk to yourself affects your stress response, hormones, and inflammation? Sure does. A study showed that negative, self-degrading comments about yourself can actually increase cytokines in the blood. Cytokines, as you know, are a measurement for inflammation in the body. You can literally affect the physiology in your body by the way you talk to yourself, ladies!
Physiological Results of Stress
In fact, if we are experiencing internal or external stress, our hypothalamus is prompted to release a hormone called Corticotropin Releasing Hormone (CRH). This hormone tells the pituitary gland to send a message to the adrenal glands to make more cortisol.
Too much CRH and cortisol inhibit the function of the thyroid, thus decreasing dysfunction and adrenal fatigue. This inhibition of our thyroid function can take place behind the scenes for many years and also go undetected in blood work. Oftentimes, we’re taken off guard because usually everything is fine and then “suddenly” we start to feel awful.
Stress can also have negative effects on yur fertility, ladies. If our thyroid isn’t making adequate T3, this will negatively effect progesterone levels. Low progesterone is a huge problem in young women lately. Why? Because more of us are going to school, taking on full time jobs, and caretaking the single or multi-person household. Women just aren’t meant to take on so much stress!
Stress can also affect our mood. If thyroid and progesterone are both low, we have a recipe for anxiety and depression – especially in that late luteal phase. What you’ll tend to feel is this overwhelming, inability to deal with stress. This can result in crying or having melt downs in public places (been there!)
So how to we nip all this stress in the butt?
We start with radical self care
According to Dr. Aviva Romm, “Radical self-care is the courageous act of making your quality of life of primary importance. It is the recognition that your life and health are of central importance to you and to those around you.”
“As a woman, we are especially bad at taking time for ourselves. Mammas are even worse. But it makes sense, we are the natural givers and tenders. We are trained to keep going in the face of sleep-deprivation, emotional exhaustion, and constant external demands,” states Dr. Romm.
With all of these beliefs, we can sometimes sabotage ourselves from living our best life! Dr. Romm lists some of our common excuses:
- I want to exercise but I am too tired at the end of the day.
- I just don’t have time to shop and cook and be creative
- Everyone else’s needs have to come first.
- I want to eat healthy but nobody supports me.
- It’s no fun to eat healthy by myself and my partner won’t.
- I am too embarrassed to put on workout clothes.
- I’ve never been able to follow through before…
“Running on empty doesn’t serve us – or those we care for. It makes us less effective in our work, less productive, and less happy. Running on empty leads us to feel conflicted, victimized, angry, exhausted, irritable, or some combination thereof.
You have to value yourself enough to create NON-NEGOTIABLE SELF-CARE TIME.
Taking “me time” isn’t selfish – it is self-respecting and healthy. It is something we can teach our children, spouses, colleagues, employees, and patients to do. It is about celebrating and respecting ourselves.
- Getting clear about what what “ME” time means to you and explaining this to the people in your life
- Not letting your inner ‘demans’ talk you out of your time to yourself
- Respecting and loving yourself enough to take care of yourself
- Taking enough time to have a conversation with yourself so you know what you desire/need” (Dr. Romm)
So how do we do this? I first work on setting up a 5-10 minutes ritual of self love every day. You can fit this into your morning, noon hour, or evening – whichever is most realistic to you. The idea is to CRAVE these things, not make it just another chore to add on to your routine.
Examples of Ways you Can Show Yourself some Love:
- Long walks – with a dog, a friend, a podcast, music
- Yoga – if you can’t afford a class, self-led YouTube videos are great!
- Color/draw – I love horse coloring books!
- Call a friend regularly and chat about something uplifting!
- Journal – long form or bullet, paper or computer – whichever is relaxing for you (we don’t want this to feel like an assignment due)
- Bake treats for a friend – if eating the dough is an issue, pop a stick of gum or brush your teeth
- Knitting/Crochet – experiment with some type of hands on craft
- Learn to play an instrument – I recently picked up the guitar – so empowering and fun!
- Cleaning / Organizing – clearing out unwanted things has a unique dopamine reward
- Meditation – you can do this walking, laying in bed, or sitting outside
- Get quality sleep – revamp your bedding and overall vibe to make your room feel more cozy
- Volunteer – helping others is guaranteed to boost your mood
- Purge your social media – unfollow pages and people that make you feel lesser (you know which in your gut!)
- Essential oils – check out my post here for ideas
- Head to a coffee shop to read a good book
- Go to a dinner date and movie
Ready to give self love a try?
So if you live in Minnesota and the thought of taking a long walk during the winter months is brutal for you, maybe long walks isn’t going to serve you during that season. Instead try other things that involve cozy-ing up inside with a positive book and aromatherapy candle. YOU DO YOU, not what works for someone else (yes, loving yourself means not comparing yourself to others).
If you tend to have a negative outlook, you are going to benefit from just the smallest acts each and every day. And with practice, eventually your self-talk will contain less self-criticism and more self-acceptance. You may also become less critical of the world around you.
When your state of mind is generally optimistic, you’re better able to handle everyday stress in a more constructive way. And, circling back to the study we mentioned in the introduction, you’re health, complexion, and body composition will benefit from it as well! If you are stuck in a plateau with the changes you are trying to make, perhaps changing the way you talk to yourself will help these changes come to fruition 🙂
Let us know if we can help in any way!