35 shopping days till you know what:some thoughts on ways to de-stress

It happens every year without fail. One moment, I am blissfully settled into the rhythm of the summer, with our elongated days of early sunrises and late sunsets, energized by the seemingly extra hours in each day.

Another 4th of July in Manzanita with the family

Time moves slowly, schedules are easier with more time for beach trips, barbeques with family and friends, tennis and long walks, gardening and spending as much time as possible outside soaking up the sun’ s warming rays(and generous doses of natural vitamin D).

The shortening of each day is almost imperceptible but soon I am aware that I am waking up in the dark(I am one of those early morning “nuts” who exercises  while most people are contemplating an extra 30 minutes of sleep) and coming home from work in the dark. Which means only one thing: the holidays are coming!

Honestly, I love the holidays: the extra time spent with family, friends, roasting turkeys, holiday baking, decorating, shopping, wrapping , etc. But I have to admit, I do get a bit stressed out while contemplating all that I need to accomplish, on top of my usual life’s schedule(which is already pretty busy, like most of us). And stress has a distinct impact on our bodies’ abilities to stay in balance.

Stress is actually an essential element of living: our bodies were made to respond to stimuli, both negative and positive, in order to react and grow and adapt to life’s many challenges. A classic example  that is used to describe how stress helps us is this: in our cave dwelling days, if I was out looking for food for my family and I encountered a wild boar, my adrenals would produce a burst of cortisol, which then released  glucose from storage for fuel and epinephrine which allows my heart rate and blood pressure to increase(fight or flight response) so that I could run like crazy to avoid becoming said boar’s dinner. That is an adaptive response to a stressful situation. Our bodies have evolved to respond to episodic bouts of stress. Sadly, in our modern world, we are bombarded with a multitude of stressors: work, financial, relationship, less than optimal diets, chemicals, pollution, noise, world affairs, you name it. Oh yes, and holidays….

In response to chronic, repeated stressors, our bodies no longer need the glucose, or fuel, to run from danger so we store this fuel as fat just in case we need it later. Many of us begin to develop anxiety and insomnia, because our cortisol rhythms get disrupted and our body has lost its way back to balance.  This is obviously a maladaptive response with far-reaching effects on our physical and mental health.

Here are some suggestions to help you beat the stress and stay in balance during these next 35 days and beyond.

Exercise:  aim for 4-5 times/week: find something you enjoy; the rewards are higher metabolic rate, endorphin release(boosts mood and helps decrease inflammation); My next blog post will talk about specific types of exercise and how each one benefits you.

Rocket and Riley: having a blast on the beach!

Riley and Rocket, blissfully exhausted, getting some R and R

Nutrition: “Just say no to whites”: try to avoid foods made with white sugar, white flour, white rice and even white potatoes(okay, youcan have some mashed potatoes this Thursday but be sure to eat the yams as well). The whites are almost completely without nutritional value, even if it says “fortified” and your body recognizes them as a source of sugar. Overindulgence of sugar raises your risk of high cholesterol, belly fat, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, just to name a few. Choose whole grains, brown rice, quinoa, agave , stevia, amaranth. Nuts are loaded with micronutrients: eat a small handful everyday. Set a goal for yourself: try something new every week. Choose dark green leafy vegetables, fresh fruits. Drink herbal teas and water, lots of it

Supplements: be sure to take Vitamin D everyday . It is best to get tested first: the normal range is 30-100. I recommend that my patients take enough D3 to bring their levels up to between 50-70(I retest 3 months after they start the new dose, just to make sure). Vitamin D boosts your immune system(you won’t catch everything this winter), helps you stave off winter blues, and a myriad of other health benefits: watch for a future blog post about this amazing vitamin). If you are having a particularly bad day, try some Rescue Remedy. This is a “Bach flower” remedy that helps alleviate anxiety and nervousness, restoring a feeling of calm. It is so effective that even veterinarians recommend it for anxious dogs. It is a terrific go-t0 supplement. I never leave home without it!

Sleep and rest: It goes without saying that our bodies need to recharge and restore themselves. Each day carve out some time to be alone, with your thoughts, your prayers, to reflect away from all of the noise and distractions of daily living. And be sure to get enough sleep, at minimum 7 hours. Your body and your brain need that much rest to be ready to face the next day and be able to function optimally.

Kyle and Riley, enjoying a nap in the hammock(nirvana....)

Try to keep everything in perspective these next  weeks and reflect back to the meanings of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Take time to enjoy the hours spent with family and friends and create new and everlasting memories. And remember this essential truth:

Finding, being and staying in balance is a work in progress.

So much to talk about, so little time. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.

See you soon.




Filed under Kyle Bell McAvoy, Women's Health & Happiness, Women's Work/Life Balance

13 responses to “35 shopping days till you know what:some thoughts on ways to de-stress

  1. Donna

    Kyle – love the format of your new blog – easy to read and take in! How do you do it all? Love, Donna H

    • Donna: thanks for taking the time to check out our new conversation for women. It has been a lot of fun in the making and we are looking forward to sharing all kinds of tidbits so stay tuned. Great to see you yesterday and have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

  2. candacebwell

    Kyle, Great explanation of how the adrenals respond to stress, how that affects us, body and mind and what we can do to temper our response and thus normalize our cortisol levels…the pic of the dogs down for the count says it all – we animals need our R and R….puts me in mind of a quote I saw somewhere recently:
    Rest is not a luxury, IT’S A NECESSITY.

  3. andrea stapleton

    Kyle, beautiful blog site! I will follow you around like a shadow! Finally the (almost constant) hot flashes have stopped. I didn’t think it could be that easy….. maybe I was skeptical? Thank you so much for your astute assessment skills and intervention.
    Andrea L Stapleton RNFA, CPSN

    • Andrea:so glad you are feeling better. Just goes to show how important it was to do baseline hormone testing and then to monitor and adjust according to how you feel. Wishing you wonderful nights of sleep once again and the ability to wear the clothes you want. See you soon. Kyle

  4. Andrea Mehigan

    Kyle, what a very well done blog! While I feel like my hormones have calmed down over the last few years (compared to the initial hot flash craziness) I am very prone to the adrenal response issues related to stress. The reminders about supplements, nutrition, exercise and relaxation were all very helpful. Looking forward to more great info!
    Andrea M.

    • Thanks Andrea. So glad you enjoyed it. There is so much more we want to share and we all need reminders about taking care of our adrenals. It really matters! Have a lovely holiday with your family. More fun info to follow. Ciao for now, Kyle

  5. Mary Jean McAvoy Guidette

    Kyle and Candace,

    Congratulations!! This is a great blog and I would like to forward to others here on the east coast. Informative and well-written for sure.

    Mary Jean

    • Mary Jean: thanks for “checking us out” and yes, please do pass on the link to your friends. This info is for women from coast to coast and beyond and we want to reach as many women who are struggling with hormonal imbalances(and often don’t even know it!!) wherever we can reach. Stay tuned for more specific ideas as we continue to flex our blogging muscles!!xxKyle

  6. Suzanne

    Kyle! What a great blog!
    You have inspired me to go back to step class…1 week so far and feeling great! As well as being more focused in what I am eating….I bought 10 yogurts and some veggies for the fridge… and a little red wine in the cupboard.
    I noticed too that I watch the clock all the time! Even with my 6 year old daughter….”Okay, we have 5 minutes in the toy department!” I like the idea of some unstructured time for myself as well as her….to live in the moment and de-stress! Nicely done! And thank you!

    • Suzanne: so glad we have inspired you to take the time for YOU: to exercise, eat well, AND be in the moment, and oh yes, that red wine: it is a lovely way to unwind and get some wonderful health benefits. You are definitely on the journey to life balance….always a work-in-progress for all of us. Thanks for joining along and we will be in touch.

  7. kyle
    guess really means i am too busy b/c i am just reading this after it has been sitting in my in box for a few weeks. all sound advice. the flight/fight example i particularly like. some “stress” physically, spiritually and mentally has its place in our development. finding that “tipping point” is the track to creating balance. loved the pictures. You are a wise women pleased to have you come into my life!

    • Willee: I am honored that you have joined in the conversation and I invite all of you who have “blogged-on” to take a peek at Willee’s website: http://www.teamlivefit.com. Pretty amazing woman and athlete( I know, I take her classes and she can really push me to my edge!) and I appreciate your feedback. It is such a balancing act and it really has helped me to have a network of family and friends who value living healthy, full lives: makes the journey that much sweeter. And Willee, keep on bringing it on…I secretly love those burpees and endless planks you make us do at 5:30 a.m.!!

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