5 Tips to Handling Back to School Stress

5 Tips to Handling Back to School Stress

Female student holding backpage

Back to school shopping, fall sports and fall schedules are all looking a little different this year. The unknowns of the season can easily put added stress on our bodies, which is exactly what we don’t need right now.

If you’re experiencing added stress, your body may be telling you exactly that by increasing your anxiety, insomnia, sugar or salt cravings, irritability, heartburn, change in periods, weight gain, plus many more. Chronic stress cripples the adrenals and makes it hard for your body to compensate properly. So what do we do as we are running from the tornado into the hurricane?

5 Things to Try Today to Manage Stress

1. Cut out what you can.

In this season it’s best to work smarter, not harder. For example if you are always stressed about making lunch before work, make a few easy meals ahead of time so your meals are then effortless.

2. Reframe what you can and find the calm in the storm.

A gratitude journal, meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or night time bath—these are just a few recommendations to help the body relax. Since a lot of stress is not removable, it is important to try and find a way to experience calmness. Your body follows your mind. If the mind can be calm for even 5-10 minutes, that helps!

3. Eat a healthy, whole food anti-inflammatory diet.

And don’t skip meals! Healthy nutrition supports healthy hormones and optimal recovery. Skipping meals can add even more stress to the body.

4. Keep a regular rhythm.

Get up at the same time and go to bed at the same time. Providing your body a routine can help support a natural hormone rhythm.

5. Add in supplements and adaptogens.

There are several natural options to help support your adrenals, including adaptogens, herbs that help your body adapt to stress. Some examples include Siberian ginseng, rhodiola, cordyceps to help with your stress response. Or ashwagandha, magnolia, theanine (from green tea), which can help to calm and improve sleep. Several vitamin options include vitamin C, zinc, and B5. With any of these suggested changes, it’s best to consult with your doctor first.

Stress may never go away in our current environment, but there are some tangible action items you can implement to make it just a little more tolerable. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, like you can’t manage it on your own, or like there might be something more than chronic stress going on, we’re here to help with a personalized approach to your care.

5 Tips For Getting Pregnant In Your 30s

5 Tips For Getting Pregnant In Your 30s

Pregnant woman in long dress

Delaying pregnancy into your early (or even late!) 30s is becoming more commonplace. Not only are people generally getting married later, some people are also choosing to wait to have kids until they have more financial stability.

This trend resonates with me personally—I was 34 when I delivered my first baby. But waiting until you’ve blown out 30 candles on your birthday cake doesn’t mean pregnancy is a walk in the park. It’s well known that as we age, chances of getting pregnant decrease. In your 30s, fertility begins to decline, and as women reach 35, biological systems kick in and tell your body to ovulate less frequently.

With that said, pregnancy is possible! But, getting pregnant is like a marathon—it’s best run with some deliberate preparation. So, if you’re one of the hopeful moms trying to get pregnant once you’ve waved your 20s goodbye, try these tangible tips for prepping for pregnancy in your 30s.

5 Tips For Getting Pregnant In Your 30s

1. Eat a Balanced Meal Plan

A healthy diet is an important recommendation for everyone, but it is paramount for women trying to get pregnant. It supports healthy hormones, gut health, and overall bodily function. Of course, “healthy” can be defined in myriad ways, but foods that are closest to their natural state are what best support conception and a healthy pregnancy. Healthy fats (avocados, olive oil, nuts) are key to healthy hormone production. Fruits are a great source of antioxidants, which contribute to helping your body protect itself. Vegetables are nutrient-dense, which encourages good digestion and gut health, as well as helps manage your body’s systems.

2. Start Supplementing Key Nutrients at Least 3 Months Before Pregnancy

Isn’t diet enough? In theory, yes. In practice, not really. Our foods are not as nutrient dense as they once were, so adding in a prenatal supplement is helpful to boost your body. Starting a prenatal supplement a minimum of 3 months before you begin to try to get pregnant can increase your body’s nutrient stores, therefore increasing your chances of getting pregnant.

Why 3 months? That’s how long it takes an egg to mature, and 3 months of supplementation (on top of a nutrient-rich diet) supports that egg’s maturation. We’d actually recommend up to 2 years (24 months) of supplementation to build your nutrient stores, but not everyone is thinking that far ahead. Also: Make sure your prenatal includes folate, not synthetic folic acid—not everyone can metabolize it, so you might not be getting all the support you need.

3. Clean Up Your Environment

It’s said we’re exposed to 100s of chemicals daily—and many of those are xenoestrogens or endocrine disrupting chemicals. When pregnancy is your goal, taking exceptional care of the entire endocrine system (adrenals, thyroid, and sex hormones) is essential.

One place that’s easy to clean up fairly quickly to make a big impact is with your personal care products (makeup, face wash, soaps, lotions, and anything that goes on your skin). Beauty products can contain a number of these potentially harmful chemicals, and swapping them out for nontoxic versions can help balance your hormones.

To think about switching out your products can be daunting, but make it easy on yourself—we actually have already talked about 5 easy tips you can use to clean up your routine, with an emphasis on replacing things as they run out. 

4. Decrease Stress

Any time that your body perceives stress or thinks that your environment is unsafe, your adrenal glands are activated. Adrenal glands make cortisol, the “stress hormone,” which can cause your body to go into fight or flight mode—and activate your thyroid and sex hormones as well, leaving the pyramid of hormones necessary to get pregnant out of whack.

And, if your environment feels unsafe, the last thing your body wants to do is support a pregnancy.

The problem? Your body doesn’t know the difference between being chased by a lion or getting only three hours of sleep as you stay up trying to meet a deadline. The solution? Work at decreasing your stress. Try meditation. Get enough sleep. Don’t overdo the workouts. Put your phone away and read a book.

5. Track Your Data

In our digital world, we have more access to tracking what’s going on internally than ever before. This data tracking can be really helpful for conception. While period tracking definitely provides excellent information, you can go a step further: Find an optimal fertile window.

One easy option is to track your basal body temperature. This is incredibly easy and doesn’t require anything fancy. You can find a BBT thermometer on Amazon that even works with an app to easily track your temperatures. We walk through how to use this method for family planning here, but you take your temperature every day right when you wake up—when your temperature rises, you’re ovulating. And you’re the most fertile the two to three days before that (so you have to do it for a couple months to get the most accurate results).

Ovulation test strips (also known as LH strips) are another easy way to collect data. You pee on a stick once a day during the middle of your cycle and the strip changes color when you have a luteinizing hormone (LH) surge. That hormone is telling your body to release an egg—and that signals fertility and time for you to start trying!

While these tips are great for the 30+ crowd, they’re also helpful for anyone trying to get pregnant (as are these 5 tips for men to boost sperm motility). If that’s you and you want more integrative support, schedule an appointment with a Minneapolis Integrative Medicine Clinic provider—we’re here to help find options that work best for you and your (budding) family!