By David Blyweiss, M.D., Advanced Natural Wellness
December 31, 2018
Over the past several weeks I’ve noticed more and more of my patients have succumbed to holiday fatigue.
Their nerves are frazzled. They’re stressed out, run-down and ready to hibernate for the next month or two.
If you feel the same, you can blame it on the relentless pressure you’ve been under for the past four to six weeks – perhaps even longer.
You know the deal.
Shopping. Cooking. Partying. Eating all the wrong foods, not getting enough sleep… and still dealing with all of your day-to-day responsibilities.
This constant onslaught of strain and tension produces a “fight or flight” response in your body. This means your adrenal glands suddenly start pumping out large quantities of cortisol and adrenaline.
It’s these two “stress hormones” that give you the energy and alertness to react quickly to a threat. Once the threat passes, they return to normal.
But guess what happens when you’re continuously under stress?
Your body sees it as a threat. So your fight or flight response stays “turned on” – day after day and week after week. And your adrenals keep pumping out more and more stress hormones. This can have an extremely negative effect on your well-being.
In particular, continual generation of excess cortisol affects your brain function, sleep, immune function, blood pressure and aids in the accumulation of abdominal fat.
Eventually, when your adrenals can’t keep up with demand, your cortisol production will begin to lag. At this point your thinking starts to get muddled. Brain fog, depression, low thyroid function and inflammation set in.
It feels as if you’re wired and tired at the same time.
This isn’t the best way to enter the New Year. After all, you’ve got a long list of resolutions you want to tackle. But it’s going to be pretty hard to accomplish them if you’re so stressed out that you don’t even have the energy to get out of bed in the morning!
Let me help you get out of that funk and reawaken your natural vitality so you can…
Be the Active, Lively and Energetic Person you want to be in 2019
The first thing I recommend is starting on a few herbs that can help you handle stress more effectively and make it easier to stay relaxed, energized and focused all day long.
Two of my favorites are rhodiola rosea and ashwagandha.
Rhodiola is my go-to herb whenever I’m stressed. In just a couple of weeks I’m as good as new again.
This stress reliever is so powerful that it even works on patients with fatigue syndrome. In these patients, taking between 150-200 mg of rhodiola daily reduces fatigue, increases mental performance, improves ability to concentrate and decreases cortisol levels.
Ashwagandha is another potent energizer and stress reliever. It helps fill you with energy during the day, but also helps you sleep better at night.
Plus, taking just 600 mg of ashwagandha daily can…
- Cut anxiety by more than half
- Slash stress levels as much as 44%.
- Reduce cortisol levels by almost a third
Additionally, people with chronic stress who take ashwagandha experience better cognitive skills, improved weight management and report feeling happier.
So get started on these two stress-busting herbs, and then…
Feed Your Adrenal Glands. Enjoy plenty of fresh, organic produce and healthy proteins like wild-caught fish, grass-fed beef and pasture-raised poultry at meal time. For snacks, opt for healthy options such as nuts, fruits and berries or even a small container of plain organic Greek yogurt. Avoid the refined carbs, sugar and grains to help maintain a healthy blood glucose level.
Sleep Your Way to Higher Energy Levels. Make your bedroom a sleep oasis. When darkness falls, shut the shades and turn the thermostat down a few degrees…I like it cold, and even I was surprised that studies show sleep temperatures in the mid 60’s are optimal for initiating sleep. Then shut down all of your electronic devices (phone, computer, TV) about an hour before bedtime so the blue light from them doesn’t stimulate your brain. It also helps if you go to sleep and wake up as close to the same time every day. Aim for 7-8 hours a night.
Erase Stress with Physical Activity. Daily exercise has several benefits that boost adrenal health. It burns fat that may influence you stress hormones, promotes better sleep and reduces feelings of fatigue.
Change Your Breathing to Lower Your Stress. Deep diaphragmatic breathing triggers signals to your nervous system to reduce cortisol and lower both your heart rate and blood pressure.
Just slowly inhale through your nose for a count of four, and hold it for a count of seven. Then exhale through pursed, rounded lips for a count of eight.
Do this for about five minutes in the morning shortly after awakening when your cortisol is surging. You can also do it any time during the day when you feel your energy is flagging.
These are just a few proven tips I recommend to my patients for an immediate boost of energy and to get rid of the stress and fatigue that has been plaguing them.
I also suggest indulging in soothing activities whenever you can. Listen to music, take a hot bath, meditate, get a massage… any activity that gives you a little release from day-to-day activities and calms your mind.
Ishaque S, et al. Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2012; 12: 70.
Olsson EM, et al. A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study of the standardised extract shr-5 of the roots of Rhodiola rosea in the treatment of subjects with stress-related fatigue. Planta Med. 2009 Feb;75(2):105-12.
Pratte MA, et al. An alternative treatment for anxiety: a systematic review of human trial results reported for the Ayurvedic herb ashwagandha (Withania somnifera). J Altern Complement Med. 2014 Dec;20(12):901-8.
Chandrasekhar K, et al. A Prospective, Randomized Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study of Safety and Efficacy of a High-Concentration Full-Spectrum Extract of Ashwagandha Root in Reducing Stress and Anxiety in Adults. Indian J Psychol Med. 2012 Jul-Sep; 34(3): 255–262.
Choudhary D, et al. Body Weight Management in Adults Under Chronic Stress Through Treatment With Ashwagandha Root Extract: A Double-Blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Jan;22(1):96-106.
Pingali U, et al. Effect of standardized aqueous extract of Withania somnifera on tests of cognitive and psychomotor performance in healthy human participants. Pharmacognosy Res. 2014 Jan-Mar; 6(1): 12–18.