April is Stress Awareness Month and given we work to support women at all stages of life (from young professionals to CEOs, stay at home Mum's to menopausal women) helping people manage stress better is close to our hearts.
This month our in-house Nutritional Therapist (and co-founder) was at the ready to answer all your questions about stress and all that comes with it (mood issues, anxiety, sleep problems, hormonal imbalances and so on). We wanted to share the key questions we were asked in the hope that it helps more people.
How can I stop pangs of anxiety?
We have had 5 Qs about anxiety - and we can really relate.
Nutrition wise, watch out for too much caffeine & dont run on empty - get your three meals with protein and complex carbs. It’s also really important to get enough magnesium & B vitamins in your diet as they help to promote dopamine & serotonin production - beans, nuts, seeds, meat, brown rice, quinoa, fish, eggs, green leafy veg, beets, avocado all great.
Fermented foods and probiotics also help here, as can oily fish (omega 3)
We add probiotics, B vitamins, magnesium into our products as well as herbs like Aswagandha, Siberian ginseng and cordyceps mushroom which can also help 💚
Do You Have A Formula For Anxiety?
We don't have a specific one but our Original Formula is amazing for supporting mental health because it has B vits, zinc, magnesium, Siberian ginseng, cordyceps as well as gut support, hormone support and it helps boost general wellbeing. Lots of customers tell us it really helps.
If your anxiety if related to peri-menopause then our Menopause Formula is amazing for this - we’ve had customers experiencing 60% less anxiety within a week owing to the rhiodiola and KSM66 Ashwagandha. Sending you love 💛
Anything for women’s libido? I’ve been feeling stressed with everything going on in the UK
There are some really important vitamins and minerals involved with the processes in the body that can help promote a healthy libido. Omega 3, B vitamins, zinc, iodine, selenium and magnesium are among the most important, and alongside diet, supplements can be a great way to help ensure you get enough of these. Original Formula is an amazing source of all of these key nutrients but is also extra supportive of libido owing to the addition of Siberian Ginseng, which has been shown in some research to aid hormone balance and sex drive. It also contains amazing medicinal mushroom called codices, shown to be great for stress and energy, all of which can be a fantastic boost and get that internal fire blazing ;)
Check out this blog for a few foodie tips .
What can I do to help my sleep?
Be sure to switch off blue light on your phone/laptop after 6pm and ideally avoid all phones and laptops after 8pm, and turn lights down lower. Dint do vigour exercise after 6pm, instead aim for swimming or pirates, or better yet do Yin yoga/gentle stretching before getting into bed as these help to reduce cortisol, the hormone that can keep you awake.
Food wise - be sure your dinner contains good levels of protein and complex carbs, and I also suggest avoiding caffeine after midday because half the caffeine can still be in your blood 12 hours later!
There is also good research behind taking KSM66®Ashwagandha for sleep cycles. We add this into our Menopause Formula - it’s been shown to reduce cortisol, calm anxiety, improve sleep and improve some peri-menopausal symptoms too. It’s great when you're feeling stressed and wound up.
We also wrote this blog about sleeping better - check it out for more tips.
My gut goes crazy when stressed, what can I do to help?
This is such a common issue - our gut and brain are totally linked. Try to get more fibre into your diet in general - aim for 30 different plant based foods per week (beans, nuts, seeds, lentils, veggies, fruit, herbs, spices grains, superfoods all count) and try to get more fermented foods into your diet such as kefir and kimchi. A really good probiotic can help here too which is why we add one into all of our Formulas - Beauty, Lean, Original and Menopause, because they can help support the digestive system but also our mood and immunity. See the pervious Q about stress management too - as the mental side of this is key!
Anything else you recommend for stress and anxiety? I am on medication for it and am struggling.
Ahh hope you're doing OK - you aren’t alone, so many of us are suffering with chronic stress at the moment. Aside from the first answers on this article (though be sure to run doctor this past your doctor first given you're on meds) I would really say it is key to prioritise your self care - exercise (but not too much!) being outdoors in nature, belly breathing (google it) and taking time to slow down away from screens - reading, getting creative etc have all been shown to lower cortisol, blood pressure and boost mood.
I also tell my clients to think about connecting with others.. it's been shown to boost mood and help us overcome mental health problems. Make sure you speak to loved ones regularly, as well as getting involved with your local community in some way - classes, volunteering, or even just chatting to ppl at the supermarket check out etc. Lastly, don't forget epsom salt baths!
How do I take an Epsom salt bath? I’ve heard it’s good for stress.
This is such a great way to support the nervous system and calm the mind because you absorb the magnesium trans-dermally (thru the skin). Start by adding 200g (2-3 large handfuls) of the salt to hot water and soaking in the bath for 20-30 minutes (or longer) scrubbing the skin to promote circulation. Take care when stepping out of the bath in case you feel lightheaded.
Over the course of around a month this can be built up to around 400-500g, or more depending on your size. If you don’t have access to a bath, try a foot bath and massage your feet & ankles beforehand to promote circulation.
My husband is pretty stressed at the moment, what is a good meal for him?
Make sure half his plate is made up of colourful veggies of different kinds. These deliver key nutrients which is vital when stressed because we can require higher levels to keep us going. Then be sure protein (meat, fish, beans, pulses, eggs, dairy) is on the plate - this helps to support production of important brain chemicals, and it's essential for energy. Carbs should always be wholegrain - brown rice, quinoa or starchy veggies like butternut squash. Fats are vital too - oily fish, olive oil, nuts, seeds - all ideal for an evening meal to help replenish the body.
Our E-books outline this in more detail - email our team and we can send you one firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’m a worn-out mum of 3. How do I know if I have burnout?
The term burnout is thrown around a lot and can be quite misleading, and scary! Our adrenals (the glands responsible for releasing our costisol and adrenaline during stressful times) don’t just ‘burnout’, but if you’ve gone thru intense periods of stress, plus multiple pregnancies and possible lack of sleep to restore you, energy levels do drop and you mood and hormones can be impacted by this.. you can sometimes feel 'tired-but-wired’. All the tips on stress and diet before this one are key, so check those out.
Original Formula could help too, but I'd suggest seeing your GP for some routine blood tests (iron, thyroid, B12, ferritin, vitamin D) and a nutritional therapist so really work out what you need. Sending love.
I never fancy food when stressed. Should I listen to my body or have something and what?
Every is different and some people crave more food and sugar when stressed, others can lose their appetite completely. Now and then this isn’t an issue, but ongoing, it can begin to deplete the body and actually put more stress on it, especially as our nutrient requirements actually increase when stressed. Be sure you aren’t relying on coffee and tea, as these suppress appetite. Zinc deficiency can also make you lose interest in food. I’d suggest small, flavoursome and nourishing meals rich in protein, and really try to focus on eating and chewing at meal times to trigger digestive processes. Spicy/peppery foods like ginger, chilli, rocket, watercress and lemon also trigger appetite, so try these and see GP if it doesn’t resolve soon.
I've heard that nootropics are good for stress, are they in Equi?
There is some really compelling evidence behind nootropics. These are ingredients that have the ability to enhance brain function and can improve focus, mood, memory, reduce anxiety and improve sleep. they can also have nourishing impacts on the rest of the body, which loops back to improve our mental wellbeing. We include one or two adaptogens in pretty all Equi formulas because we love them so much, such as rhodiola, ashwagandha, schisandra, magnesium, and Siberian Ginseng.
My period has disappeared. How can I get it back?
There are lots of reasons why amenorrhea happens and you should chat to your GP if you haven’t already. Weight loss, stress and thyroid imbalances can all play a part.
Making sure you’re eating three balanced meals per day is essential, as is prioritising good sleep. If you have an intense exercise regime I’d also be considering this as it can lead to changes into your cycle.
Ingredients such as schidandra, zinc, iodine, selenium, magnesium and B vitamins, especially B6) support healthy hormone cycles. Our Beauty Formula delivers all of these. Many swear by acupuncture to help with this, check out the British Acupuncture Council for someone near you.
If stress is getting the better of you, and you regularly feel overwhelmed, depressed and anxious, seek help from your GP, or charities such as Mind and the Samaritans.
Disclaimer: Certain supplements are used for different reasons and a one-size-fits-all approach shouldn’t be adopted. In addition, pregnant women and anyone on medication should always consult a doctor before embarking on a supplements programme. As with all articles on www.equilondon.com, this is no substitution for individual medical or nutritional advice.