Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • December 2017
Written by 

Protect yourself from stress!

The holiday season brings many joys and it also brings a good deal of stress, so it is an appropriate time to discuss stress, its damaging effects on the body, and what you can do to protect your body and mind from stress. Research has demonstrated time and time again that chronic stress is very bad for us. Stress has been directly linked to heart disease, weight gain, low libido, a weakened immune system and premature aging, amongst others. Unrelenting, constant stress interrupts critical hormone processes that affect us in obvious ways: emotional, depressed, can’t sleep, crying and sad; and not so obvious ways: suppressed hormone production, inflammation in the body, and constricted blood vessels.

Stress happens

There are unmistakable stressors we encounter in our lives, such as divorce, death of a loved one, loss of a job or diagnosis of a terminal illness. Our bodies are designed to react to these stressors for a limited amount of time by producing cortisol to help us ramp up our ability to deal with the situation. In prehistoric times, we needed this “fight-or-flight” response to survive our environment and not become prey. The body then produces DHEA to help neutralize the cortisol and bring the body back down to a state of “all clear.” Chronic stress interrupts this cycle and can throw the body into a state of HPA (Hypothalamic Pituitary Adrenal) Axis Dysfunction. A tricky aspect of stress is the everyday stressors we have come to accept as part of our daily life, such as being late for a meeting or stuck on the highway. Our body does not distinguish between the obvious and not-so-obvious stressors and responds in the same manner, whether you are late for your daughter’s dance recital or you just got into a car accident.

Protection is the key

It is important to be mindful of the stress in your life so you can make healthy choices to reduce your exposure and create healthy habits to counteract the effects of stress. Below is a list of suggestions to help you combat the negative effects of stress and create a buffer between you and the stress you encounter as you move through your day.

Stress recovery suggestions:

  • 10-12 hours of sleep per night for 14 nights (in bed by 9 p.m., stay in bed until 7 a.m.)
  • Lounge, eat good food, get a massage, listen to relaxing music, meditate
  • Reduce work hours and workload (32-40 hours or less per week)
  • 4 hours a week to do what you want — “it’s fun to play”
  • Get rid of clutter, organize and batch cook and clean so your environment is soothing
  • Breathing exercises
  • Take days off for a vacation or “stay-cation” — stay in your hometown but explore and enjoy new areas
  • Gentle muscle building exercise (yoga, Pilates, walking)
  • Ask for support from family (emotional and physical)
  • Journal, practice mindfulness, appreciate beauty, kindness, good things
  • Regularly eat healthy, low glycemic meals and snacks (to balance blood sugar) — NO junk or processed foods!
  • Take an Epsom salt bath daily
  • Reduce inflammation — stress reduction, food choices, supplements (yoga, gluten-free diet, turmeric, fish oil)
  • Adrenal appropriate exercise (yoga, Pilates, walking)
  • Fix leaky gut (GI testing, remove reactive foods, take aloe, L-glutamine, zinc, vitamin A)
  • Replenish important nutrients and start adaptogenic herbs (professional-grade vitamin and mineral high in B vitamins and magnesium, vitamin C, selenium, ashwagandha, rhodiola, etc.)
  • Remove gluten, dairy, sugar, soy, caffeine and alcohol from diet
  • Try Paleo diet – fruits, vegetables, grass-fed, pasture-raised, free-range meats, eggs, night shades, nuts, healthy fats and pea protein powder (no grains, hot peppers, dairy or seaweed)
  • Have fats and protein at each meal and reduce carbohydrates
  • Repeat positive thoughts in the form of affirmations daily: “I am healing,” “I am loved,” “Every day in every way I am getting better and better”
  • Kick the caffeine habit 

Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, NCMP, is the owner of Wise Woman Wellness LLC, an innovative wellness and hormone care center at 1480 Swan Road, De Pere. Mann is the author of the eBook: A Guide to Gluten and Going Gluten Free. She is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner and certified NAMS Menopause Practitioner, one of a handful in Wisconsin and less than 700 worldwide to achieve this distinction. She combines the best of conventional, functional and integrative medicine to help women with female, thyroid and adrenal hormone issues to live healthier, more abundant, joy-filled lives using a blend of compassion, cutting edge science, practical guidance and humor. Please contact her at 920-339-5252 or via the Internet at

Reference: “Hashimoto’s Protocol.” Izabella Wentz PharmD, FASCP.

Randi Mann, NP

Randi Mann, WHNP-BC, NCMP, is a board certified Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, NAMS Certified Menopause Practitioner and is the owner of Wise Woman Wellness, LLC, an innovative, wellness and hormone center in De Pere. She is an integrative, functional medicine provider offering natural treatments and prescription medications for thyroid and hormonal imbalances including customized dosed, bioidentical hormones.

She combines the best of conventional, functional and integrative medicine to help women. Attend the introductory “End Hormone Havoc — Stay Sane, Slim and Sexy” seminar — offered monthly. Call 920-339-5252 to register. Visit for details.

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