Since you have been following the blog, I imagine you might be thinking about what you can do to reset your cortisol levels. You might be feeling like your cortisol is likely high, given the amount of stress you experience daily and have been experiencing for a long time. Resetting your cortisol levels is something you can absolutely do naturally to improve your overall health and your body’s response to stress. Most working moms just assume they’re supposed to be busy, they’re supposed to be tired, and they’re supposed to be overwhelmed.
So instead of trying to identify a solution, we go to bed frustrated and continue to not feel good in our bodies, believing the lie that nothing will work for us and that we should just settle for life as we currently know it. We believe the lie that the alternative is beyond our reach or somehow unavailable to us or we trick ourselves into believing that it’s just too hard to make different choices. So ultimately, we don’t lose the weight, we continue to have little time for ourselves, and we choose to be dissatisfied with the life we are leading.
Well no more. You are in control and here are 5 things you can do right now to get back in the driver’s seat.
5 Tips To Reset Your Cortisol Levels
1. Go To Bed!
If you have been keeping up with this cortisol series, then you might remember I mentioned in last week’s post that you will never have the body and life you want if you don’t start to prioritize your sleep. That is true for your weight and your cortisol levels. I know you’re used to staying up late and waking up early, and you think you can handle your day just fine on 4 hours of sleep, but unfortunately, my friend, that will at some point catch up with you. You actually need 7 – 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. You might be thinking there’s no way and I hear you and I can relate. There are definitely nights when I’m not sure how it all gets done if I don’t stay up late, but creating a nighttime routine that allows you at minimum 7 hours of sleep could just be the thing that changes your health and your waistline for the long term.
2. Get Regular Check-Ups
I’m going to put my healthcare provider hat on for a minute here. You absolutely need to know your numbers and look for trends over time. You can’t look for trends and catch signs and symptoms early if you aren’t getting regular check-ups. We have talked about a lot of different ways your cortisol levels can be elevated over time and that persistent stress can lead to multiple chronic diseases as well as imbalances in gut health as a result. If you are regularly checking your numbers you can stay ahead of the diagnosis and lower your cortisol and risk for chronic diseases naturally.
3. Be Active
This tip probably doesn’t surprise you. Moving your body has multiple benefits and that includes lowering your cortisol. As you might know from experience, exercise can help you lower stress. And now you also know from following this blog series that if you lower your stress, you lower your cortisol. The main thing with exercise is consistency. Exercise doesn’t have to be 5 days of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to be beneficial. In fact, that kind of stimulation can sometimes make cortisol levels worse, especially if done for longer than 40 minutes. To lower cortisol, I want you to think of walking, stretching, or yoga. The more you can incorporate physical activity into your daily life will be beneficial as well. That could include taking the stairs, parking further away from the entrance, or taking walk breaks at work with a colleague. In general aim for 10,000 steps a day, every day or most days. That doesn’t have to be all at once. That’s 10,000 steps throughout your day. And if that feels like a lot to you, that’s about three 30-minute walks per day. Anytime you feel overwhelmed, break it down into smaller more manageable numbers that don’t overwhelm you.
4. Stay Hydrated
Drinking water can also lower your cortisol levels. I’m sure you’ve probably seen the numbers like 90% of your body is made up of water, but that’s not exactly true. Our body’s water content is dependent on our fat tissue. If you have more fat tissue, you have less water available. If you have more cortisol, you likely have more belly fat, and therefore you need more water. If you are looking for a way to stress your body out, dehydrate it! Dehydration alone can spike cortisol levels and while everyone might say drink 64 ounces of water per day, it’s more than likely you need more, and how much more will vary by person.
Remember I just told you that fat tissue holds less water, so if you weigh more, you likely need more water. This is why you hear recommendations like drink half your body weight in water. Water is also great for boosting metabolism, so not only can you get rid of that belly fat by drinking more water to keep your cortisol low, more water can boost your metabolism by 3%!
5. Manage Your Stress
Of course, I’m going to talk about stress again! Stress reduction is the #1 thing you can do for your health long term, it’s the #1 way to lower your cortisol levels. I think we have covered this enough in these posts here and here, but let me sum it up for you. Stress negatively impacts our brain and our bodies… Hello, belly fat… And over time, stress can put us at risk for chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, cancer, chronic pain, and diseases of the gut, just to name a few. Finding ways to lower stress that work for you is absolutely critical to your long-term health goals. It is literally a non-negotiable. So spend some time if you haven’t yet, thinking about stress-reducing activities that you can practice on a daily basis. We all experience stress, so we all have to figure out a healthy way to deal with it. There are no exceptions.
If you are struggling to keep up with your health and need to chat about it, I’m here for you. As your health coach, I keep you accountable to the goals you told me you want for your life. Feel free to set up some time here for a quick chat.