Are you sick of feeling like you’re living in a constant state of fight or flight? Are you tired of feeling like a stressed-out mess? If so, you may be dealing with some unreasonably high cortisol levels. Well, don’t worry, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. While there is no magical overnight fix, fear not! We have compiled a list of the top 8 ways to manage those pesky cortisol levels and bring some much-needed chill back into your life.
Curb Your Caffeine: Switching to Healthier Alternatives
Listen, we KNOW coffee is life for many of us. As a lifelong coffee drinker, we’re right there with you. But coffee can be a cortisol-stimulating devil, and once you’re hooked, it can be hard to let it go. Instead, try switching to matcha, the green tea powder that has become all the rage in the health and wellness community. Not only does it have a lower caffeine content, but it also contains L-theanine, an amazing amino acid that can help promote relaxation and reduce anxiety. Plus, you’ll feel like a hipster drinking it. So there’s that.
Embrace Supplements: The Power of Ashwagandha
One of the most popular supplements to try to manage your cortisol levels is Ashwagandha. No, it is not a spell from Harry Potter, but it is an adaptogenic herb that has been used for centuries to reduce stress and anxiety. It helps to regulate the body’s response to stress and can also help improve cognitive function, making it a veritable powerhouse. Plus, it’s fun to say. Ashwagandha. Ashwagandha. See? Instant stress relief.
Calming the Vagus Nerve: The Ice Pack Technique
I know it sounds crazy, but trust me, it works. Placing an ice pack on your chest for a few minutes can help activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for slowing down the “fight or flight” response. By placing something cold on your chest, you’ll be activating that parasympathetic nervous system, essentially stimulating the vagus nerve – a nerve that runs from your brain all the way down to your abdomen. This nerve is primarily responsible for regulating that nervous system. By effectively slowing it down, you’ll be able to manage stress levels. So, while it may sound a little crazy, using an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas if you’re unprepared) on the chest can be a helpful tool in managing stress and promoting overall health and wellness.
Keep Blood Sugar Steady: Avoiding the Hangry Monster
Let’s be honest – hangry is not a good look on anyone. It turns out, cortisol is not a fan either because being hangry is also a surefire way to spike those cortisol levels. Make sure you’re eating constantly throughout the day to prevent drops in blood sugar, which can trigger the release of cortisol. Plus, you’ll avoid turning into a hangry monster. And nobody wants that.
Morning Walks: Sunshine, Serotonin, and Stress Relief
Grab your shades and lace up your shoes, folks. Starting your day with a brisk walk and some sunshine can do wonders for your cortisol levels. It is recommended to take a nice walk for at least 10 minutes, but if you can make it to 30 minutes, you’ll be much better off. Morning walks can help reset your circadian rhythm and promote the release of serotonin, which can reduce anxiety and boost mood. Plus, it’s a great excuse to get some fresh air and start your day off (literally) on the right foot.
The last thing you probably need is yet another water bottle, but if you need a sign to get that trendy water bottle everyone on social media is raving about, consider this it. Dehydration can also be a trigger for the release of cortisol in your body, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day. So, go buy that cute water bottle you’ve had your eye on, toss in some ice and a slice of fresh lemon, and live your best hydration life. Your stress and your skin will thank you.
Finding the Right Exercise Balance: Cardio and Weightlifting
Exercise is a great way to manage cortisol levels, but not all exercise is created equal. Mix it up with some cardio and weightlifting to get the most bang for your cortisol-busting buck. Cardio is great for reducing cortisol levels because your brain releases endorphins that, according to Elle Woods at least, make you happy. Cardio also increases blood flow and oxygen, giving it stress-relieving benefits as well. Running, cycling, boxing, and swimming are just a few of the many types of cardio, so take the time to find what you enjoy. Aim for 30 minutes a few times a week, but don’t overdo it!
Conclusion: Enjoying a Stress-Free Life
So, there you have it, folks. Eight ways to manage cortisol levels that won’t require you to give up all of life’s little pleasures. Don’t forget that managing cortisol should be as fun as it is effective, so drink your water, take a walk, and get a little sun. Your body will thank you.
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