Self-Care Combats Cortisol Overload
Despite most people not knowing what it is, cortisol is a chemical that might be affecting your life negatively every single day without you even knowing it. It sounds like a drug of some kind, but in reality, it’s just a natural hormone that your body produces when you get stressed out. Self-care.
In general, it’s meant to help you respond to stressful things and help you work through it. There’s a typical fight or flight scenario that your body experiences when cortisol is released.
Now, this doesn’t sound so bad at first, and in fact, you really need cortisol to help your brain handle big amounts of stress. Where the problems begin is when your body produces too much cortisol, chronically.
Too much cortisol can lead to your body lashing out and hurting itself in the process of trying to cope with all of the constant stress. In order to lower your levels to the right amount, you need to adopt some kind of self-care program.
In general, your body can respond in a lot of ways, and it can vary from person to person. One common sign you might see is weight gain. People suffering from high cortisol levels often start to gain weight because of it, only leading to more stress.
You might also find yourself with high blood pressure and even a feeling that you’re always tired, along with you finding it more difficult to sleep. There are tons of ways that self-care can help you fight back against your high levels of cortisol.
One method is to employ strategies to help you get the right amount of sleep. Staying up too late and waking up late, as well as getting few hours of sleep each night, can result in your cortisol rising to an uncomfortable level, so by taking steps towards a better sleep schedule, you can reduce your feelings of stress.
Relaxation methods that are often employed in self-care routines are also very useful. Doing things to help you immediately relax, drop your blood pressure, and take your mind off of any stressful things in your life can help lower your cortisol levels as well.
These methods are different for everyone, but a simple example would be meditation or even fishing by a calm lake. If you’re really dead set on lowering your cortisol levels, you can even go get your saliva tested by a doctor to figure out what times of the day your body produces the most cortisol.
By finding this out and combining it with a self-care strategy centered on that point in the day, you can certainly lower your cortisol for a longer period of time. If your levels are highest in the morning, you’ll know that most of your self care needs to be scheduled at this time of day.
Erlend Sølvberg, wellness blogger