The word “summer” often conjures idyllic images of frolicking though sand and surf, dreamy camping landscapes, and gorgeous road trips across empty stretches of highway.
However, the reality of summer is often somewhat less than glamorous. In fact, according to a recent study that looked at workplace stress levels, most people are actually more stressed from April and September than they are the rest of the year. So what’s the reason behind this summer slump?
There have been a number of surveys and studies that examine the factors that may contribute to our stress levels during the summer. For example, increased heat may have a negative effect on sleeping patterns, and people have busier social lives in the summer, struggling to squeeze vacations, play dates, work, and outdoor activities into the span of a few months. The lack of sleep combined with increased responsibilities cause stress levels to rise, resulting in negative effects on your health.
What Happens to Your Body Under Stress
High stress levels can affect not only your body, but also your thoughts, feelings, and behavior. While many stress-related symptoms may be attributed to illness or lack of sleep, these symptoms can become increasingly serious if left untreated.
Some common physical and mental stress symptoms include:
- Muscle tension or pain
- Chest pain
- Change in sex drive
- Stomach upset
- Sleep problems
- Lack of motivation or focus
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Irritability or anger
- Sadness or depression
Additionally, long-term stress can contribute to other, more serious health issues that can be detrimental to your overall quality of life. It’s important to find way to manage your stress levels in order to live your happiest and healthiest life!
Natural Alternatives for Stress Support
Rather than take a prescribed medicine for stress, many people are turning to alternative ways to support a healthy stress response. We’ve written on this blog about the potential of adaptogenic herbs to support a healthy response to stress, but there are a number of other ways that are becoming popular to support your health. Read on to learn more about our top picks for natural stress support.
If you’d rather not take a supplement, essential oils may be a perfect option for you! Essential oils have become incredibly popular in the last few years, although their use dates back to ancient times. There are a number of oils that are designed to offer stress support, including lavender, bergamot, frankincense, vetiver, and more. Add them to our favorite moisturizer, dab a little on your temples, or add to your shower to support calm and relaxation. You can also try an essential oil blend like this one from Touch of Earth to support a healthy response to stress.
High stress levels are often attributed to a lack of sleep, which is often caused by disruptions to your circadian rhythm. Normally, your circadian rhythm is maintained by healthy melatonin levels (which is a hormone produced in the pineal gland that regulates your sleep/wake cycles), but several factors may affect melatonin production in your body (including, ironically, stressful feelings or situations). Many people choose a melatonin supplement in order to maintain a normal sleep/wake cycle and to support an overall healthy sleep. We love this supplement from Utzy that offers micro-melatonin so you can adjust your dosage.
Our adrenal glands are responsible for maintaining a healthy stress response. However, if you are constantly exposed to stressful situations, you may experience a condition called Adrenal Fatigue, which leads to lower numbers of the hormones and neurotransmitters that allow your body to function optimally. Some people choose to take an adrenal tissue supplement like this option from Pure Encapsulations in order to support healthy gland function.
5-HTP is a naturally occurring amino acid and is a precursor to serotonin, which works to maintain a healthy mood. This supplement from Source Naturals is derived from the African tree Griffonia simplicifolia and works to offer healthy stress support and promote a healthy mood.
Of course, we still love our adaptogenic herbs! Adaptogens are a group of herbs that work to offer healthy stress support, as well as other potential health benefits. If you’re looking for an adaptogenic supplement that offers an alternative to Adaptocrine, try our proprietary herbal formula Adaptoplex. This supplement offers adaptogenic support with panax ginseng, Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha, rhodiola, and holy basil leaf. It works to normalize the hypothalamus-adrenal-pituitary axis during stressful situations.