Chaos to Calm

Is Cortisol the Reason Your Fave Jeans Don't Fit Anymore?

April 14, 2024 Sarah McLachlan Episode 42
Is Cortisol the Reason Your Fave Jeans Don't Fit Anymore?
Chaos to Calm
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Chaos to Calm
Is Cortisol the Reason Your Fave Jeans Don't Fit Anymore?
Apr 14, 2024 Episode 42
Sarah McLachlan

Ready to break the cravings cycle and get back into your favourite jeans with confidence? Dive into this episode to arm yourself with knowledge and strategies to manage cortisol effectively. 

Remember, understanding what’s happening, what’s driving how you’re feeling, is the first step towards being able to change how you’re feeling, and the symptoms that you’re experiencing.

Listen and learn about:
• The Science of Cortisol: What cortisol is, why our bodies produce it, and its critical functions beyond just triggering our stress response.
• Cortisol & Weight Gain: We’ll unpack how elevated cortisol levels can lead to stubborn weight gain, particularly in areas we least want it. Yes, we're talking about that frustrating belly fat!
• Cortisol's Influence on Cravings: Ever wonder why you crave cookies, chips, or chocolate, often? We'll explore how cortisol influences our cravings for simple carbs and sugary treats.
• Navigating Stress: Learn about the cyclical relationship between stress, cortisol production, and how it impacts your body's metabolism and your energy levels.
• Actionable Strategies: While we can't eliminate stress from our lives entirely, there are effective ways to manage its impact. 
Discover practical, everyday strategies to help reduce your body’s cortisol output and buffer your body from its effects, promoting a more balanced and healthier you.

Enjoyed this episode? Make sure to subscribe and review Chaos to Calm on your preferred podcast platform. Your feedback helps us grow and reach more women like you, navigating perimenopause with curiosity and resilience.

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

FREEBIES:

  • Caught in a hormonal storm? The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? It's time to dig deeper and uncover the missing piece of the puzzle. Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.

To connect with Sarah and learn more about her services, visit her website at www.theperimenopausenaturopath.com.au, follow along on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ready to break the cravings cycle and get back into your favourite jeans with confidence? Dive into this episode to arm yourself with knowledge and strategies to manage cortisol effectively. 

Remember, understanding what’s happening, what’s driving how you’re feeling, is the first step towards being able to change how you’re feeling, and the symptoms that you’re experiencing.

Listen and learn about:
• The Science of Cortisol: What cortisol is, why our bodies produce it, and its critical functions beyond just triggering our stress response.
• Cortisol & Weight Gain: We’ll unpack how elevated cortisol levels can lead to stubborn weight gain, particularly in areas we least want it. Yes, we're talking about that frustrating belly fat!
• Cortisol's Influence on Cravings: Ever wonder why you crave cookies, chips, or chocolate, often? We'll explore how cortisol influences our cravings for simple carbs and sugary treats.
• Navigating Stress: Learn about the cyclical relationship between stress, cortisol production, and how it impacts your body's metabolism and your energy levels.
• Actionable Strategies: While we can't eliminate stress from our lives entirely, there are effective ways to manage its impact. 
Discover practical, everyday strategies to help reduce your body’s cortisol output and buffer your body from its effects, promoting a more balanced and healthier you.

Enjoyed this episode? Make sure to subscribe and review Chaos to Calm on your preferred podcast platform. Your feedback helps us grow and reach more women like you, navigating perimenopause with curiosity and resilience.

Send us a question for the FAQs segment or your feedback, we’d love to hear from you.

FREEBIES:

  • Caught in a hormonal storm? The Perimenopause Decoder is the ultimate guide to understanding if perimenopause hormone fluctuations are behind your changing mood, metabolism and energy after 40, what phase of perimenopause you're in and how much longer you may be on this roller coaster for.
  • Been told your blood test results are "normal" or "fine" while you feel far from your best? It's time to dig deeper and uncover the missing piece of the puzzle. Discover the power of optimal blood test analysis with The Blood Test Decoder: Optimal Ranges for Women Over 40.

To connect with Sarah and learn more about her services, visit her website at www.theperimenopausenaturopath.com.au, follow along on Instagram at @theperimenopausenaturopath.

Sarah McLachlan:

Hey there, I'm Sarah McLachlan. Thanks for joining me on the Chaos to Calm podcast, a podcast designed for women over 40 who think that changing hormones might be messing with their mood, metabolism and energy and want to change that in a healthy, sustainable and permanent way. Each episode will explore topics related to health and wellness for women in their 40s, like what the heck is happening to your hormones, what to do about it with nutrition, lifestyle and stress management, and inspiring conversations with guests sharing their insights and tips on how to live your best life in your 40s and beyond. So if you're feeling like you're in the midst of a hormonal storm and don't want perimenopause to be horrific, then join me on Chaos to Calm, as I share with you how to make it to menopause without it wrecking your relationships and life. Hello and welcome back to Chaos to Calm podcast, where we journey together through the twists and turns of perimenopause and how you can make it less twisty and turny and a smoother experience. You're with me, Sarah, the perimenopause naturopath, and today we're going to be unpacking a topic that impacts us all as women, mums, in life, and even more so during perimenopause. And well, specifically, we're talking about cortisol, which I call one of our master hormones and I'll explain more about that in a minute. But you know, when you feel like in you turn into your 40s, maybe you realize that you're in perimenopause, but I know a lot of you do not until it really smacks you in the face. So if you feel like your body's on a constant roller coaster, it might be that cortisol is actually designing that ride and making it. You know the higher- than- highs and the lower- than- lows that can come in perimenopause. So let's get into it. Let's talk about why this hormone has so much impact, especially in perimenopause, and how to manage it and how to keep it, you know, in tidier or smaller quantities in our body so you can have a better perimenopause experience.

Sarah McLachlan:

I always refer to cortisol as one of our master hormones because of the impact that it has on us. Insulin is one of the others that I always talk about, and I will do a special episode on insulin in the future, but today we're talking all about cortisol. So cortisol you might know as your stress hormone. It's one of the key hormones that is part of our stress response, but it does influence a whole lot more than just how we respond to stress. You know, each of your cells in your body has cortisol receptors so it can impact so much of our body more than just the stress response. But it's also involved in regulating your metabolism, your inflammatory response, your immune function, so much more.

Sarah McLachlan:

And you know, lots of you might've had this same experience. I hear it all the time when I'm on my free clarity calls with women and they say to me Sarah, I don't know what's happening. I'm doing all the right things, all the things I used to do to manage my health, my weight and energy mood, all of those things, but it's not working and that can be cortisol in the background there impinging on it. In my free masterclass, I do talk you through a bit more about what is happening there and the other hormones involved. But you know my own story was when I was studying naturopathy.

Sarah McLachlan:

I'd, you know, I'd gone from two children to four children, so I'd had the stress on the body of an extra two pregnancies. I'd breastfed through that whole time, the stress of study. We had had a significant life event and the stress of that was huge and it was for a long period of time. So my cortisol levels were elevated for a very long time and it all sort of came to a head in that last year of student clinic where I gained like 20 kilos in less than 12 months less than six, really. I wasn't doing anything different, I was still eating well and my stress levels hadn't really changed, but they had been there for a long time.

Sarah McLachlan:

And that's the kind of impact that cortisol can have on your body. You know you keep doing all of the same things and the next minute your body's really changed. It's really responded to it. And that's because, after a long period of time, cortisol can be quite damaging, uh in, and inflammatory in the body. So on. On its own, like in the short term, it's actually an anti-inflammatory hormone. That's part of it's what it does. But when it's switched on for a long time, it becomes really inflammatory and quite damaging to the body and really messes with your blood sugar levels and insulin and all your other hormones as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

So let's have a talk about that and what it does, because I really want you to understand today why I'm always talking about reducing your stressors and building your stress resilience. It's because by doing that, we're reducing your cortisol levels. So cortisol is what we call a steroid hormone. It's made from cholesterol. So there's another side topic for me all these ideas for future episodes there. So cholesterol is another one I should talk about sometime as well. But cholesterol is actually super important, not just, you know, for cortisol, but it makes other hormones as well, and vitamin D and things like that. So there's a lot of talk always about reducing cholesterol and it as being like a bad thing. Actually, we need it for a lot of stuff, so I'm going to park that topic now.

Sarah McLachlan:

So let's go back to cortisol. Cortisol is made in your adrenal cortex, your adrenal glands, these tiny little pyramids that sit on top of your kidneys, and the adrenal cortex is part of that, and it is made in response to the brain sensing stress, which is also dangerous. So our brains remember some parts of it's still quite primal. So the body processes that stressful information and sends out a response depending on the degree of the threat, using your autonomic nervous system, which is broken down into the two paths of the sympathetic nervous system and your parasympathetic nervous system and talk about them in a previous podcast episode, so do go back and have a listen when to the one on stress there. So, in times of stress, your sympathetic nervous system gets activated. It's your fight, flight, flee or even fawn response, or part of your nervous system, and that sets off a cascade of hormone and physiological responses in your body.

Sarah McLachlan:

Now the amygdala in your brain is responsible for processing fear and emotional stimuli. So emotional stressors there, so stressors can come physically through the body, but also mentally and emotionally, and the amygdala is processing that there for you and it'll work out the appropriate response. And so, if it thinks it's necessary, the amygdala will send that stress signal to the hypothalamus, another part deep in signal to the hypothalamus, another part deep in your brain. The hypothalamus then switches on your sympathetic nervous system and the adrenal glands will start releasing hormones like adrenaline or epinephrine, depending on where you live in the world. And then, if the body continues like, if it's still saying that stimulus is a threat, the hypothalamus will again, it'll activate the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis and then that stimulates cortisol to be released from your adrenal cortex and keeps your body on high alert.

Sarah McLachlan:

I always say it's like you're the meerkats at the zoo you're up, you're looking, you're the one on watch. It's your brain, though. So it's keeping you on high alert to keep you safe. Do you need to run away from something, do you need to fight it? So this is a primal response from when we were having sabre-toothed tigers and woolly mammoths chasing us. Obviously, that's not going to happen now.

Sarah McLachlan:

Our stress is different but our response hasn't changed and that's really key. And our stress response was never designed to be constantly switched on. It was designed to be a short-term response to a stressor and for us to run it out or, you know, fight it out and then lie down in a cave and let the adrenaline and cortisol be removed from our body and for us to feel safe with our people in that cave. Very different from today. So yes, in the short term, like I said before, cortisol really valuable. That stress response is really valuable to keep us safe. And cortisol is quite catabolic, so it's anabolic. You know from the 80s, we've heard about anabolic steroids and how they build us up. Catabolic, like cortisol, means it breaks down our tissue, so muscle mass is actually lost when we have a lot of cortisol released in our body so that it can create energy for our limbs and our brain and our heart so that we can run as long as we need to to get away or fight as long as we need to to get away from that stressor or that danger that our brain has detected. So, yeah, hopefully, you're understanding that that is quite different to where we find ourselves these days.

Sarah McLachlan:

And again, go back and listen to the podcast episode I did on stress because I talk all about what are stressors these days. You know are modern stressors and how they differ from the primal ones, remembering that the response is still the same. I mentioned before that there are glucocorticoid receptors and cortisol receptors, on almost all tissues in the body, almost all of your cells, so it is able to affect nearly every organ system that you have. It will impact your nervous system. We just talked about how your immune system, your cardiovascular system, your respiratory system. It's designed to make you breathe quicker and breathe more oxygen so that you can get more oxygen to the cells, to make more energy, and to run faster away from that sabre- tooth tiger. It affects your reproductive system, so it's gonna shut down. You know when you're in danger, you, your body, does not have capacity to grow a human and that's really important to consider. We're at the other end of that now. But it's really important for younger women to consider too their stress levels are really key to a healthy and regular cycle and also if they're trying to have a baby, it's a really big part of it. So your musculoskeletal system, so your muscles and your bones, are impacted and your integumentary, your skin, is impacted by cortisol and we will talk a little bit more about that in a moment.

Sarah McLachlan:

But I want to say that in perimenopause cortisol's effects are magnified because of the hormonal shifts that we have, particularly in progesterone. So I call progesterone our built-in stress resilience hormone and I did a whole episode on progesterone really early on. I think it's like episode four. So go back and listen to that if you want to learn more about how amazing that hormone is for us and why we feel it's lost in perimenopause. So yeah, that decline of progesterone, our inbuilt stress resilience hormone, sort of really magnifies the cortisol effect and lets it have a really big impact on our weight, our sleep and our overall health and mood and well-being. So there's lots of research that shows us that cortisol is implicated in anxiety, digestive issues, weight gain like I've just mentioned, and sleep problems it's massive in those headaches high blood pressure, inflammation, diabetes and blood sugar dysregulation, like pre-diabetes you might have heard your doctor refer to it memory loss and brain fog, pain, muscle weakness and muscle loss, osteoporosis, your thyroid hormones and metabolism and your estrogen and your ovary function, your kidney function.

Sarah McLachlan:

It impacts us, you know, in all of those systems and not always in a good way, and a lot of those you might be thinking. Well, they kind of sound like perimenopause symptoms and that's why it can be really difficult to work out. Am I in perimenopause or is it stress? Maybe it's my thyroid? And I would say it's really important to work with a practitioner like you know, a naturopath or someone like me who can really help you get to the bottom of what is happening there and what is impacting it. Because, yeah, it might be perimenopause, you may be in perimenopause but perhaps be in perimenopause, but perhaps your stress response or the way that your body is responding to stress or impacting your thyroid and your ovaries is making that worse for you. So it's really important to think about it. I think you know I say stress is the biggest blocker to health, happiness and weight loss. You know, I really firmly believe that. So a couple of notes there.

Sarah McLachlan:

As I mentioned before, cortisol is catabolic. So in the presence of cortisol, your muscle cells decrease glucose uptake from your bloodstream and increase their protein degradation. So your body is going to break down your muscle cells and you're going to lose muscle mass so that it can create more energy for those cells to use to keep you running away. Cortisol also increases your blood glucose and insulin levels there. So I've talked before about how the decline of estrogen makes you naturally more insulin resistant, and so you know increased cortisol for long periods of time is going to exacerbate that and make it worse and you know the shortcut. The net outcome from that is you're in fat storage mode and you're going to gain fat mass, particularly around your abdomen.

Sarah McLachlan:

I mentioned before cortisol is inflammatory in the long term. So it's anti-inflammatory in the short term because you can't afford to get sick, just like you can't afford to make a baby and you know you've got no time to digest your food when cortisol is high because your sympathetic nervous system is switched on. Um, so it. But in the long, it becomes inflammatory and triggers that immune response in your body. There and that was part of the problem for me when I developed lots of allergies, was my hormone changes of perimenopause, but also that chronic long-term stress was implicated in that allergy development for me.

Sarah McLachlan:

As I mentioned before the HPA axis, is the hypothalamus pituitary adrenal axis. Well, the hypothalamus and pituitary gland are actually responsible for your thyroid, your ovaries and your kidneys as well. So if there is an imbalance or dysfunction in one of those areas your adrenal glands or your kidneys, your ovaries, your thyroid it's going to eventually impact the others. So it is super important for keeping a regular cycle and maintaining a healthy cycle as well, to manage your stress and also make sure that your thyroid is in balance and those other things as well. So cortisol does so much to us.

Sarah McLachlan:

I've got so many notes here. It changes your gut health and your microbiome, your digestive function Like in the last episode I was talking about why you don't tolerate meat anymore, and this is you know. I talked about how stress contributes because it does decrease your digestive secretions. It alters your microbiome and that in turn impacts your mood, because it impacts your serotonin and dopamine production, which is your you know neurotransmitters, those compounds your brain and nervous system use to communicate within themselves and with the rest of your body, and also melatonin. So that's how you know. It can impact your sleep as well because melatonin is made from serotonin.

Sarah McLachlan:

Cortisol can influence your cravings for simple carbs. You know those white cookies, chips, you know all those things, maybe chocolate as well, because you need a bit of a dopamine hit to feel a bit better because your dopamine's low. But it will get you stuck in that quick fix energy cycle that you need, so feeling hungry every couple of hours and needing a little hit of something simple or sweet or some other stimulant, like caffeine as well, to help boost your blood glucose levels quickly and easily. And also those simple carbs are high in tryptophan, which is a precursor for serotonin. So there's, you know, see, it's really complex in our body. It's never just like, oh, do this one thing and it makes all the rest flow. All these things are interconnected and that's why you really, you know, sometimes it's easier if you have someone looking from the outside in and also with the experience, to help shortcut that for you and to help you with the solution to feeling better and getting on top of your cortisol levels.

Sarah McLachlan:

So one other really important thing is that long-term stress and long-term cortisol levels, or high cortisol levels in the body, actually rewire your brain to be more hypervigilant or reactive to stressors. So you get stuck really in a vicious cycle then, of reacting and overreacting to situations that may not be so stressful. You're not adapting to that level of stress in your body. You know, often women will feel wired but tired, so you're like really exhausted all day, get to bedtime and you can't sleep, um, and so that really impacts you heavily. You know, maybe you overspend because you're buying takeout because you can't be bothered cooking, and that's, you know, again a vicious cycle because you're not providing your food with the nutrients and the nourishment that it needs. Did I say you're not providing the food? You're not providing your body with the food and the nourishment and nutrition it needs to help you keep up with the demand of cortisol, remembering it's very catabolic, it's nutrient demanding, it's energy demanding.

Sarah McLachlan:

There as well. You'll also, you know, you get stuck in that stimulant loop there as well, and I mentioned about needing dopamine hits, and so you will be looking for reward foods, drinks, actions, scrolling on social media when you're feeling overstimulated and really done, and that's another thing. Like your sensory load, you always describe it as your nervous system revving a bit higher and then that makes it really easy for you to be triggered over into overload and overwhelm there as well. So you might be more sensitive to noises and light and things like that because your nervous system is already sort of revving really highly there as well. And you know, remember that your reaction to a potentially stressful event is different from others. So do not judge yourself based on well, I shouldn't be reacting to that or whatever your genetics.

Sarah McLachlan:

There's genes that control your stress response and keep you you know, keep most people at a fairly steady emotional level, only sometimes priming the body to get into fight or flight mode. But you might have a more active or less active stress response. A gain, we now know and understand that in utero, like trauma to the mom, trauma to your mom or stress to your mom while you're in utero is actually going to impact your stress response as your own self. So there's that genetic inheritance and what's done to you in utero which we can't change. And no judgment or ill feeling against that, because we're all just doing the best that we can with the skills and the tools and the support that we have. But just know that your genes and your genetics make your response different. And a side note just because we inherit particular genes, it doesn't mean they have to be switched on or switched off. We can actually change that. So just because we inherit some way or you know some genes, we don't have to have them switched on. We can change that, and yeah, so following on from that, your life experience is going to change your stress response as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

So you know, having a strong stress reaction, being hypervigilant or more reactive to stress can be traced back to traumatic events and that maladaptation to the stress there as well. You know people that were neglected or abused as children are more likely to be experiencing high stress later in life. The same is true if you know if you've been through a really stressful event or you work in a high-stress environment. That might be in the military or as a police officer, firefighter, nurse, doctor, or first responder kind of thing. But it could also be like you're a teacher and you're in a busy and fast-paced classroom, or maybe there are lots of behavioural problems in your classroom and that's all you know a high- stress environment there as well. So understanding cortisol, how it works, and what it does, is the first step, I think, for you to manage its impact. When you recognize how it interacts with your body, how it gets triggered, and especially as our progesterone levels change, then we can do something about it and try and reduce its impact on our body to have a smoother perimenopause experience there as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

So actionable tips what do you need to know? You need to get on top of your stress and, yes, reduce your stressors if you can. Sometimes the easiest way to do that is actually reduce the physical stressors. So get your blood tests done. Are there any nutrient deficiencies? Do you? Are you eating foods that you know you don't really do well on? Are you providing a nutritious and nourishing um diet to your body? And so what? That you know it's a big part of what I do with my clients is actually it's really effective in building your stress resilience by removing those physical stressors. So identifying you know what nutrients are missing, where do we need to fill the gaps there? And what do you know about diet what foods are ideal and optimal to help you and support your body to be in its best state of health?

Sarah McLachlan:

Because you know, women 40 plus are actually the most nutrient deficient. They're hyper-stressed, they're sleep deprived Of everyone in the household. That's where they're at like you're going through a similar event as puberty. But if you look at your teens, they're sleeping through that. They're like bears hibernating, you know they're eating a lot, and they're sleeping through that. They're like bears hibernating, you know, they're eating a lot, they're sleeping a lot. And well, ideally they should be super relaxed, but a lot of them, you know we've got year 12 and stressful school environments in there as well. But you're doing the same thing in reverse, but with adult responsibilities and little support. So you know it is the busiest phase of life, your body's, you know, constantly responding to those internal and external stressors. If we can take out some of those internal stressors, then it's going to make life easier for you.

Sarah McLachlan:

And if you think about your rev meter I cannot remember the name of it. I seem to be, every episode lately, forgetting the name of something. But I've been thinking about this for two days, can't remember what it is, keep forgetting to ask other people what it might be called. But if you think like you know, if you're revving at 7,000 revs, it only takes a small amount for you to be, you know, maxed out and off the charts, Whereas if your nervous system is revving at like one, two thousand revs, you've got heaps more capacity before you're like in the red there as well. So the other aspect to managing your stress or, like I was saying, removing the physical stressors, is actually going to bed earlier and giving yourself the opportunity to sleep more and get the sleep that you need. So this, you, you know they're two of the key things that I work with lots of, with my clients on removing physical stressors by optimizing their food to give their body what it needs. After we've worked out, you know what's missing and then also sleep and self-care.

Sarah McLachlan:

So, yeah, a lot of the time I think we don't actually realize how stress is showing up in your body, and so I wonder if you know, like, how does stress show up for you? The really common ways that it shows up is you might feel really extra irritable, like at your family or colleagues, like really snappy and impatient. You might feel anxious all the time. You know like that sense of danger that's the sense of danger in your brain but it's switched on. All the time You're like I don't know what I'm worried about, but I'm feeling anxious and worried and you feel overwhelmed, like you can't make a decision. You just don't know where to start, and that real rollercoaster of emotions you know snapping, crying, happy, all in the space of not very long as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

Like I described before, you might be feeling wide but tired, so you're exhausted, but actually, you're having a really hard time falling asleep or staying asleep. They're little ways that your body's giving signs that it's not dealing with the stress. So I mentioned before about optimizing your food and prioritizing sleep. You know, besides doing sleep hygiene which you're probably on top of because lots of people are my big tip there for you is actually give your body and yourself the opportunity to get the seven to nine hours sleep that you would need. So go to bed earlier, stop scrolling on your phone a bit of time beforehand so that you have your brain can switch, like recognize that it's nighttime and switch into making melatonin so you can go to sleep. So I would say that the main blocker to sleep that I see in the women that I work with when they first come to me is the opportunity to get sleep. They stay up too late and get up too early trying to fit in the gym or whatever, but actually that gym is a physical stressor on their body because they're just far too stressed right now and you know, with regard to food and diet stuff, intermittent fasting can present as a stressor for people too. So again, you know that's why I'm not necessarily a fan and have also done an episode of the podcast on that as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

I've talked about self-care. I've talked about that multiple times there as well. But you know you need to identify the daily activities that reduce your stress and improve your overall health. It's not about indulgence. It's about those actions that support your physical, mental and emotional health. Like I said in the last couple of episodes, treat yourself like you're a baby.

Sarah McLachlan:

So that's what self-care is. It's caring for your whole self mental, physical, and emotional. It's a proactive step to help you achieve your goals and do everything that you need to do in life. It builds your resilience, whereas self-comfort, which is what we're told or marketed to as self-care self-comfort is that dopamine- hit stuff. It gives you a short-term quick fix to relieve stress. It's wine time, I've had a hard day, I deserve that glass of wine and here have some chocolate. Or, you know, go have a massage or a mani- pedi all lovely experiences, but not necessarily self-care. They don't build yourself stress resilience as such, and you know things like those quick fixes, like wine time and chocolate and sugary stuff detract from your health there as well.

Sarah McLachlan:

So what is self-care like? Think about treating yourself like a baby. You want to go to bed early, regularly, choose nutritious foods that agree with your body and, you know, invest in yourself and your health by working with someone who can help you identify and then address the underlying problems of you know, maybe, why foods aren't agreeing with you or why you're always feeling tired. And you know what are your nutrient levels. When was the last time you had them checked? You know solitude, some quiet time for your brain, is really important. So, no phone, no to-do list, just put your energy into just daydreaming.

Sarah McLachlan:

And I like to think about personal development like it's not just for work. You know you're thinking about the thoughts in your mind and what's behind how you're feeling and also embracing all of your feelings. You know we're raised to just. You know we do not want to feel negative or bad emotions, but actually, we need to feel those things because otherwise how do we know life is good, how do we know we're feeling happy, if we don't ever feel the opposite of it? So in episode 39, I did with Rowena Jane, we talked a lot about your thoughts and your feelings. So you might want to go and explore that too, and that's what I talk about as personal development, and it's a daily practice for me to think through my thoughts and or thinking through my feelings as well, and understanding the thoughts that are driving those feelings because we can change them, we actually are in charge of them and if we don't manage our mind, then it will manage us and it's wired to make us be in a more negative state.

Sarah McLachlan:

Okay, so, yeah, so if you, you know, thinking about those basics, getting them in place, will help build your stress resilience and manage your cortisol, which I hope you understand how very important that is because our brain is constantly responding or scanning for internal and external stressors. If we take away some of that physical stress you know, I was just explaining to a client on our weekly check-in call that eating in the way that I teach them and in the way that's optimal for them so their foods will be different to someone else's it helps reduce that physical stress and that's why they feel like they have more capacity and stress resilience when they're working through the chaos to calm method. So really being mindful of the quality of the food and the drink going into your body is important. Of course, you can't just eat your way out of a hyper- stressful life, though that's low on sleep and low on basic care, and you know, I know you can't necessarily quit all the stressors in your life like the world would literally come to a stop and your family would probably perish if you did. But it is really important that you think about this and self-care as putting your oxygen mask on first. You know, when we go on the plane, go through the safety, breathing oh yeah, we nod along. Yeah, that makes sense. We'll put our mask on and we'll make sure that we can breathe and then we can help someone else. We hop off the plane and we just leave that thought there. You know, we don't think of it again until the next time we're on a plane. Self-care, sleep, you know, self-care, including the nourishing foods that you eat. They are the oxygen masks that they're talking about on the plane. They're the oxygen masks of your day-to-day life. So pop that on first and then look after your family.

Sarah McLachlan:

All right, so that is all from me today. It feels like I hopped on my soapbox at the end there, but I really want you to understand why I'm always talking about stress and how important it is to manage your stress levels because of cortisol and the damage that it can do and just the mischief it creates in your body and why you can feel so rubbish, particularly in perimenopause. That is why I call it one of our master hormones and why it's so important to address and keep it in that healthier range or not switched on all the time. So if you would like some more tips or strategies on how to master that chaos that perimenopause hormone changes can bring to your body, please do check out my free Chaos to Calm Masterclass. It's really your how to thrive guide for perimenopause there, and I do hope you'll join me next time as I will be exploring the well, I was going to say silent epidemic, but I would say it's just not talked about the epidemic of mum burnout.

Sarah McLachlan:

So I hope you'll tune in for that kind of continuing on the stress theme there and once again, thank you so much for tuning in and sharing your time with me here on chaos to come. I hope you realize that you're not alone on this journey and actually it is really possible to have a smooth and wonderful perimenopause experience and until next time I hope you can take care. It's really common for women over 40 to experience the chaos of changing hormones, mood, metabolism and energy. But I hope you know now that common doesn't have to equal normal for you or them. You can help others understand they aren't alone in feeling this way and that perimenopause doesn't have to be horrific by subscribing, leaving a review and sharing this podcast with other women in their 40s and beyond. Thank you so much for listening and sharing your time with me today in this Chaos to Calm conversation.

Understanding Hormones and Perimenopause Stress
Impact of Cortisol on Health
Self-Care and Stress Management Tips