3 Ways to Add CBD to Your Self-Care Routine
After months of “rest and relaxation,” you feel worse than ever. Sure, you probably overindulged a little—maybe even a lot— during quarantine, but why do you feel like you’ve been hit by a train every morning? You might have aches and pains you’ve never had, sadness and edginess you’ve never experienced, or all of the above. Here’s the reason why you feel terrible and how you can turn it around fast.
Running on Adrenaline
The hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis is the body’s built-in stress response system. When faced with imminent danger, the HPA axis stimulates our adrenal glands, releasing a hormone called cortisol. This leads to what is commonly known as the fight-flight-freeze response.
Fight-flight-freeze is a natural biological effect that is vital for survival. It helps you take fast action when confronting real (or perceived) threats. But it has one design flaw. It was never intended as a long-term solution.
Too Much Cortisol
For many of us, the ongoing stress of a worldwide pandemic has created an unusual physical (and mental) crisis of sorts. With no clear end in sight, the HPA axis is stuck in overdrive, releasing more and more cortisol as time progresses.
One of the most profound results of a long-term fight-flight-freeze response is glucocorticoid resistance. The immune system becomes less sensitive to cortisol’s anti-inflammatory effects and inflammation starts to increase in the brain and body.
If you’re wondering what all of this means in practical terms, the reason you feel so bad is that your body is revolting against prolonged nervous tension. In some cases, perhaps even trauma.
Self-Care vs Self-Indulgence
If you are one of those disciplined folks who maintained good habits and stuck to your healthy lifestyle choices over the past seven months, you should give yourself a pat on the back. While most people had great intentions, (there was plenty of time, after all) many found that will-power wavered after a while, even becoming non-existent.
A few too many naps, alcoholic drinks, and homemade cookies later, lots of us are feeling the consequences of our own actions. Indeed, our bad habits, combined with a steady infusion of adrenaline and cortisol, have left some of us worse than we’ve ever been.
The answer seems obvious. We need to chill out. But isn’t that part of what got us here to begin with?
Creating a New Kind of Self Care Routine
Too much of a good thing is almost always a bad idea, so it may be time to re-evaluate how you’ve been “caring” for yourself lately. If you aren’t feeling up to snuff, you need to get proactive about self-care before things get worse, and that means taking choosing action over inertia.
Long lists of lifestyle changes can be overwhelming, so to start out, focus on just the big three—exercise, sleep, and nutrition. Our tips also include some easy ways to incorporate CBD, too.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that when we said we would start exercising if we only had time, we were lying. If your exercise routine has consisted of a walk to the fridge instead of a walk around the park, it’s time to get serious.
You already know that you need to do it, so there’s no point in lecturing. The good news is that you can lower cortisol levels by exercising. And you’ll be happy to know that you don’t need to go crazy to get results. In fact, high-intensity exercise can actually increase cortisol levels, while moderate exercise helps lower it. Opt for activities like gardening, yoga, walking, and Pilates.
When you first start out, expect a little discomfort. If you’ve been sedentary for a while and you’re already sore, it may seem counterproductive to exercise. However, once you get into the routine, your joints and muscles will love you so much.
For relief of minor aches and pains, there are many CBD topicals available including salves, balms, lotions, roll-ons, and creams. Some are infused with other helpful botanicals that can also be a part of your new self-care routine.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Cortisol levels are linked to circadian rhythm, so it’s not just about getting enough sleep but getting it at the right time of day too. Sleep is one of the main things that affects cortisol in the body, and a solid eight hours of rest can keep levels under control. Incidentally, quality sleep can help you lose weight too. How easy is that?
There are lots of herbal preparations that claim to help with sleep and CBD is one of them. If you’ve never tried it, or you’ve tried it in the past but have gotten out of the routine, now might be a good time to return to this practice. CBD Sleep Gummies with Melatonin are an excellent option. So are CBD capsules and tinctures formulated specifically for sleep.
Practicing good sleep hygiene is a fairly painless fix. You know the drill. Try to go to bed at the same time each night. Put your phone away. Have a light snack or some tea. Practice deep breathing. Do all the things.
3. Stop Eating Crap
If you’ve developed a fun new baking hobby that you suspect is contributing to your overall sense of malaise, you could be right. High-carb baked goods can only be comfort foods for so long. Because they are digested quickly, they lead to a spike in blood sugar and insulin, but once blood sugar plummets, cortisol is released.
Too much meat can also be detrimental. According to Nutrition Facts, just one animal-based meal can double the amount of cortisol in your body, so it makes sense to swap out some of your meaty favorites with veggie entrees.
Choosing just a few plant-based options can help. Leafy greens like kale and spinach contain folate, a compound that can help balance mood. Squash, collard greens, wild rice, and mushrooms do the same. Bananas, pears, and yogurt are thought to help regulate cortisol levels, too.
Before you start getting all bummed out about your upcoming deprivation, take heart—dark chocolate has been shown to reduce cortisol as well. And if you want to add the potential anti-inflammatory properties of cannabidiol, you’re in luck. Delicious CBD chocolate is just a click away.
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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.