The GOOD stress: Doing what comes naturally, deliberately.

Contemplating the colors in Oregon wine country (

...not being particularly busy or productive... just being

My 32nd wedding anniversary landed smack on Thanksgiving this year so our celebration was going to have to take place on a different day, crammed into an already crammed family weekend.  So little time all the time. Wednesday before the big feast it was noses to the proverbial grindstone from early morning on. Around lunchtime the sky cleared and the sun (to borrow a few great Joni Mitchell  lyrics), poured in like butterscotch and brought us to our senses. When this happens in the Pacific Northwest in late November you know you are being self-destructive or for that matter courting Vitamin D-deficiency to remain indoors. If you know what’s good for you,  you drop what you’re doing  and get out there. In any way, shape or form you can maneuver or will it to happen ….Otherwise you miss out on one of the all-time great stress reduction opportunities: the unabashed partaking of unstructured time. I repeat UNstructured time. The kind that allows you to spend some time in your life not being particularly busy or productive – just being. Say to yourself or aloud something like… I am going to do what comes naturally for a change, what feels good to me, relaxing, engaging, comforting and nurturing of my mind and spirit and I don’t care who knows it! ( btw: whether you are your own boss or not, rest assured that your stressed adrenals need this break as much as you do and that all you have to lose is your lethargy!)

Evidently, I know what’s good for me because on this day I said first to myself, and then out loud to my husband, let the anniversary begin! It goes without saying that I had a willing accomplice. The decision that we should stop what we were doing, jump in the car this minute, drive to a stellar spot, preferably a vista overlooking grapevines and peaking autumn hues, whilst sipping a heart healthy glass of red wine, was taken unanimously and without regret….  it felt a little like ice-skating on Lake Michigan at night as a kid in Chicago.

Speaking of the fermented grape, not to be sniffed at is the long-term scientific evidence that red wine has a protective effect against heart disease (Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2004 Jun;28(6):829-47). This is due in large part to it’s many plant compounds especially the celebrity antioxidant resveratrol, known to have powerful anti-inflammatory and cancer fighting properties. In recent studies resveratrol has been found to act upon specific genes to protect cells against aging, and also to slow the developmental stages of cancer. (Journal of Immunology 2000;164:6509-19; Journal of Biological Chem 2005;280:17038-45.)

Red wine, pinot noir in particular, is rich in resveratrol, an antioxidant found in the skin and seeds of the grape (which is why the reds have more of it) that protects healthy cells against aging. It is also known to have hormone balancing benefits, YAY!

Most promising when it comes to women, wine, and hormones, is the fact that red wine is medically classified as a phyto-(plant) estrogen thought to enhance natural hormone balance! Evidently, unlike other types of alcohol red wine also  inhibits the action of aromatase (Ann NY Acad Sci. 2002 Jun;963:239-46), an enzyme that increases estrogen conversion in fat cells and can lead to estrogen dominance and thus, increased risks for breast cancer ( But lest you conclude that the best way to balance your hormones naturally is to drink more red wine, keep in mind that we are talking about moderate consumption here, no more than one glass a day according to the experts. Of further note is that the reported health benefits of red wine in particular are significantly enhanced when consumed with meals, especially as part of a Mediterranean diet. This is news we can use to explore our options!

But I digress. Once the anniversary countdown began I never skipped a beat in moving myself towards balance.  The feeling of lightness from within. Of not living in my head for a change. I felt calm and energized all at the same time and saw it for what it was: the absence of stress. And I knew that I would have to do this again sometime, maybe not on a working day, but some other time, again, SOON.

What is your personal balance plan?  Jump in the conversation and please leave a comment right here (scroll down) on our blog so that we all can learn and share best practice for engaging in guilt-free, unstructured time. This is another of our essential truths:  You are unique. What’s right for your friend, mother or sister is not necessarily right for you. But we can all explore the paths to balance together.

Doing what comes naturally (www.davidburchphotography)



Filed under Bioidentical Hormones, Candace Burch

6 responses to “The GOOD stress: Doing what comes naturally, deliberately.

  1. We live in one of the most beautiful places anywhere…and the wine country is Oregon beauty at its finest…a perfect Autumn day, a glass of good wine, the day spent with my best friend equals a good formula for renewal all around…Candace has got that equation right….

    • candacebwell

      Why thank you! Of course your part in the balancing of that equation brings to mind of some of the essential ingredients we need to make it happen: love, friendship, good conversation, and a willing accomplice. Thanks for letting go along with me now and then. xoxo

  2. There are so many reasons to enjoy our Red Wine! I will drink more wine… on unstructured time! It really is about balance…. thanks for your thoughts, Candace!

    • candacebwell

      So glad the idea strikes you as a good one….Yes it really does boil down to balance, doing vs. overdoing….its December already, let the balancing act begin….’tis the season all year long!

  3. Wonderful Candace! Glad to read you in the blogosphere and love the personal touch. My personal balance plan includes shoveling hay in one end of horses and shoveling manure from the other end. It’s the best!

    • candacebwell

      Thanks Virginia, I can’t think of anyone I’d rather have welcome me to the blogosphere than the co-author of all the John R. Lee books! I remember when I first picked up a copy of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Menopause….I was 48 years old, with a full time journalism job (relentless deadlines and stress) two little girls, 6 and 9-years-old, and a full blown case of perimenopause – hot flashes about every 20 minutes with mood swings in between – it was needless to say NOT fun, not for me or the fam…..but from the first page of your book I knew what to do…get my darn hormones balanced! That was the beginning and though it is still, and always will be, a work in progress, it works! Thanks to you and John for lighting the way…

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