3. Get active and reduce PCOS stress
PCOS sufferers often struggle with high levels of stress, not least because of the many painful and debilitating symptoms of the disorder. Stress can show up in various ways, from insomnia, binge eating, mood swings and tense muscles, to general anxiety, decrease in libido and high blood pressure. If you’re currently experiencing any of these symptoms, then your stress levels might be elevated.
The best stress cure is relaxation – but we know it can be a challenge to chill when you’re wrestling with high stress and PCOS. Luckily, there are certain techniques and activities that can decrease tension and boost your mood, from meditation, to deep breathing and yoga. Indulging in daily meditation and visualisation sessions can help to alter the way you react to stress, letting you cope better when anxiety and worry strikes. Meditating also boosts your impulse control and sharpens focus, helping you stay in the moment and be more resilient. If you have PCOS, take just 10 minutes a day to get comfortable and meditate – you can focus on visualising a peaceful scene if it helps, or you just let your thoughts flow, without stopping to analyse. Focusing on your breathing aids your system if it’s feeling overwhelmed, especially because when you’re tense, you often automatically take shorter, shallower breaths. When you’re feeling nervous or stressed, inhaling and exhaling deeply and purposefully can calm you down and can act as a mini reset for your body and mind.
Sunlight is vital when you’re attempting to lower stress levels, as it’s the key to boosting both mood and the immune system, which can be lower due to the increased inflammation levels that go hand in hand with PCOS. Open the curtains, spend time in rooms with lots of natural light and get outdoors as much as you can to get a free Vitamin D fix – and you’ll be significantly helping to decrease your stress too!
There are many effective ways you can deal with stress and anxiety, from mood-boosting supplements such as St John’s Wort and Rhodiola Rosea, to gratitude journaling, where you write down everything you have to be thankful for – and don’t forget spending time with furry friends, like your cat or dog. Petting animals has been proven to decrease blood pressure and stress, plus having a pet to care for not only helps to lower anxiety, it also gives you a sense of purpose.
Research has shown that taking Adaptogenic herbs like ashwagandha daily can help improve stress resilience, as they equip your body to handle greater amounts of stress without undergoing a subsequent spike in stress hormones.
Don’t forget exercise – which decreases stress by boosting endorphin levels and mood but for the ultimate in relaxation, turn to yoga for some supercharged stress relief. Yoga is a superb way to reduce your stress response and you don’t even have to go to a class, as there are many helpful videos available for free online. Just 20 minutes of daily yoga in the morning or at night before you go to bed will have a dramatic effect on stress levels, calming you down and lowering the harmful inflammation that contributes to PCOS.