How can we support our emotional health? Is it just hormone balance or more?

Hormone imbalance is epidemic today. There is more to our emotional health than just our hormones. Think of a beautiful musical symphony. When one gets out of balance, the others quickly follow. The key players are our hormones, adrenals, thyroid and insulin. So whether it is peri-menopause, adrenal fatigue (being burnt out), or generally feeling under the weather, the whole picture needs to be looked at.

There are many factors that can affect our hormones and in turn our emotional health. Here are a few strategies to start addressing this before going straight on prescriptive medications.

1. Diet is the one to address first as a ‘reset’ button. Particularly sugar! Sugar plays havoc with our insulin levels. Start by crowding in loads of green vegetables, some colourful vegetables, healthy fats and sources of organic protein and crowd out processed foods, refined carbs and sugar! Look at your eating pattern and try and push out to 12-14hrs of not eating overnight to improve your metabolic health. And finally remember – The Gut and the Brain are connected! If your Gut health is not optimized this will have a direct impact on your brain/emotional health.

2. Sleep Hygiene! We see this emphasized everywhere we look, BUT getting hours in bed is not restorative if we wake up still tired! Sleep hygiene/patterns are so important. No screen an hour before bed, and not having screens in the bedroom is an important place to start. If you find it difficult to switch off, then try doing some deep breathing, go for a warm shower or bath in dim lighting. Use a gratitude journal to jot down your thoughts for the day. And try and get in bed by 10pm. Sleep in a room that is cool and not to warm. Magnesium (get in a glycinate form) is a great supplement for helping the body to relax, as is Ashwagandha, take about 30 minutes before your head hits the pillow. And finally, essential oils – a couple of drops of lavender and/or ylang-ylang on your pillow can help you get to sleep.

3. How do you move? This does not mean hitting the gym or running for miles. If your body is fatigued and there is pressure on your adrenal glands, then walking, yoga/Pilates may be some of the best forms of exercise for you. Getting outside in nature and exposing the eyes to light is really important for emotional health and helps the body to regulate cortisol and melatonin levels.

4. ACTION! Many people will like a post on social media, buy a book/cookbook, listen to a podcast. But when it comes to making small changes, the action part is the missing link. Knowledge is powerful, but does not cause change. Start small and habit stack. James Clear writes about this so well in his book and on his website. Dr Chatterjee also mentions about making change that is achievable in his podcast HERE with Dr Mark Hyman.

5. Support. Support networks, are so important. Surrounding yourself with those that encourage you in changes you may make to your lifestyle, way of eating etc is so important. Equally having a hobby that supports you doing something different to help your mind switch out of work/home ‘mode’. At times getting support from a health coach (look for those trained with a functional medicine background), or a counsellor can be so powerful in improving and balancing emotional health (it is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of strength for making a change and investing in your emotional and overall health)

6. Supplements, do they help? Already mentioned a couple above, this can be very individual based on where imbalances might be. However, for everyone, Vitamin D, Omega 3 and Magnesium are key ones to start with. Adding adaptogens as well as lots of green leafy veggies and healthy fats are important as well (you can’t supplement yourself out of a bad diet!). Read more HERE.

7. DEEP BREATH – switch yourself out of fight and flight mode! Schedule time everyday to do this.

Further reading – I love Dr Mindy Pelz fasting techniques for women and Dr Will Cole for all-around fasting and keto/low carb information. Remember knowledge is key, but action will make the change and improvement in your health!

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emotional health, functional medical pratitioner, functional medicine, functional wellbeing, mental health, mental health awareness


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