I see so many people who run themselves ragged, preparing and entertaining, often starting in October with Halloween all the way through the new year. When it is all finally over, and they slow down, they often get sick due to burnout. The fight-or-flight response, or activation of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), diverts vital resources to systems that allow for the best chance of survival in the short term. Your body prepares for action by increasing your heart rate and your blood pressure; you tense up and become more alert. Non-essential systems like digestion, immune and hormonal functions, all shut down to prioritize survival from the threat. Not the state you want to be in when you sit down to enjoy your beautiful holiday meal!
Stress isn’t all bad, but too much stress in a short amount of time is a key ingredient to burnout. The solution is to build up your resilience and metabolic reserves.
Resilience is your body’s ability to respond to changes in physiological needs induced by stress, and your metabolic reserve is your body’s long-term capacity to withstand repeated changes. This can be depleted or replenished, but how?
REDUCE YOUR EXPOSURE
Stress energy depletes your metabolic reserves, so avoiding and reducing how much stress you experience will deplete you less:
- Limit your to-do list
- Learn to say no
- Ask for help
- Lower your expectations
- Avoid people and conversations that stress you out
- Give up pointless arguments
- Turn off the news
- Reframe the situation
- Practice acceptance
- Be grateful
MITIGATE THE HARMFUL EFFECTS
These techniques will not only help you counter stress but also charge your metabolic reserves:
- Engage in practices that turn on your parasympathetic nervous system: breathing exercises, yoga, qigong, taiji, massage, etc
- Therapies such as our Shiftwave Chair, PEMF, and Infrared therapies (available in our office Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10-2)
- Treatments such as Stellate Ganglion Blocks and ketamine infusions
- Cultivate empathy
- Experience pleasure
There are also supplements you may consider that focus on reducing oxidative stress and supporting a healthy stress response:
- Active form of B5 = Pantethine is converted into coenzyme A which is required to produce cortisol and aldosterone. Cortisol manages our stress response, and aldosterone manages blood pressure. Pantethine is also essential to the metabolism of protein, fat, and carbohydrate, the latter two being primary substrates for energy production. It is also a precursor for the adrenal steroids, cholesterol, bile, and hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in the blood. Pantethine has significant cardiovascular benefits. It reduces triglycerides and total cholesterol increases HDL and long-chain omega-3 fats.
The recommended dose is 450 mg twice a day with food.
- Vitamin C, as sodium ascorbate, is a key catalyst for cortisol production. During times of stress, vitamin C demand multiplies several-fold. Sodium ascorbate is the preferred form because there is an increased need for more sodium relative to potassium.
The recommended dose is 500-3000 mg daily in liposomal form based on bowel tolerance (you may experience loose stools with a higher dose).
- Phosphatidylcholine (PC) is a component of cell membranes and protects the cells against oxidative stress. It is essential to form acetylcholine, which is an important neurotransmitter in the autonomic nervous system (ANS). High and/or prolonged stress almost always leads to dysregulation of the ANS, and PC helps to buffer that.
Recommended product is Quicksilver Scientific’s B-Complex since it contains PC and B5.
- GABA with L-Theanine is a great tool to calm the mind but maintain your focus. GABA supports emotional balance and healthy stress response. L-theanine is an amino acid that supports relaxation and mood. Together, L-Theanine and GABA help support the brain’s natural response.
Recommended product is Quicksilver Scientific’s GABA + L-Theanine as on the bottle
- Mitochondrial support with adaptogens, herbs that do just what their name suggests, help you adapt. Sometimes a feedback look needs support by enabling function, and other times, that feedback loop needs to relax and be sedated. Adaptogen helps to create balance.
Recommended product is Quicksilver Scientific’s The One. Take as recommended on the bottle
So many more tools can make a significant difference in your resilience to stress, such as cod liver oil and probiotics. Schedule an Integrative Consult with Dr. Mulcahy if you’d like to understand your current health status and determine which tools will support you best.