Cortisol is a stress hormone, kicking in when we are stressed for a long period of time. Cortisol is designed to protect us and keep us alive but it can also have a negative impact on our immune system, digestive system and blood sugar regulation.
There are ways to identify if there is too much cortisol in your system.
1. Irregular sleep
When cortisol levels are regulated, it drops at night at about 6:00pm. It stays low and doesn’t rise again until approximately 06:00am when you’re waking up and ready to face the world again. Melatonin, a sleep hormone, works in tandem with cortisol rising at 6:00pm and dropping again at 6:00am. If they are not in tandem, you’ll have trouble getting to sleep, staying asleep or getting back to sleep if you’ve woken in the middle of the night.
2. Waking up tired
You may fall asleep just fine and sleep through for eight hours but if you are waking feeling lethargic instead of energized this means cortisol levels aren’t right. The deeper the sleep, the better the quality.
3. Weight gain around your stomach
Cortisol stores fat around the tummy. If you store lots of weight in this area regardless of how much exercise you are doing cortisol levels are too high.
4. Craving sugary foods
This points to blood sugar level being erratic. Couple this with energy levels that go up and down and it’s a clear indication of long term stress.
5. Aches and pains
Long term cortisol production changes hormones and pain receptors causing you to become more sensitive to pain. If backaches and headaches are a part of your daily life, things need to change.
6. Low libido
Long term stress affects your sex drive. The more stressed you are, the less likely you’ll feel like a little action between the sheets.
7. Upset stomach
Gut dysfunction is a by-product of too much cortisol. Upset tummies and leaky gut is a sign the digestive system isn’t working correctly.
8. Mood swings
Cortisol affects your moods and can lead to depression and anxiety.
These signs is your body telling you that stress is impacting your health and it’s time to do something about it.
Having a check-up with a health practitioner is a great place to start. Speaking to a trained counsellor and working through the issues that are causing the stress will also help.
Getting back on track through the use of holistic wellbeing practices such as meditation can make a big impact in a short period of time, as can exercise and getting back to nature.
It’s key to remember that the cause of all this stress must be identified and rectified. Take simple steps to lessen stress in your life and watch your health improve.
One of the best ways to reduce stress in your life is to take some time out to have some fun. If you are a female entrepreneur and you have identified with at least 3 of the above signs then why not join us for the next Entrepreneur’s Playdate. These events have been created for busy entrepreneurs who feel like they are missing out on fun in their lives. Click here to learn more and to book your spot at an upcoming event.