The modern working-woman faces many challenges. The term “work-life balance” is actually an understatement; when really we have to maintain work-children, work-hormones, work-leisure AND work-relationships balance.
Women’s bodies, different from men’s, also receive a disproportionate impact from a 24-7 world. The disruption of natural rhythms and cycles affects our hormones, sleep and ultimately… our MINDS. Here are some strategies to keep your mind alive and performing powHERfully:
1. Regulate your hormones.
Cortisol, the infamous STRESS hormone, is one that affects brain function deeply, making stress-reduction the FIRST step in hormone balancing.
Most women have experienced things like “period-brain” or “menopause-brain”, so it may not come as a surprise to you that hormones play a big role in how well we perform mentally. Estrogen, progesterone and many other hormones, are active not only in reproduction, but also in the brain.
2. Get adequate sleep… at the right times.
The most brain-rejuvenating sleep is between the hours of 9pm and 7am when it is actually dark out.
Getting quality sleep at night is key for proper brain and nervous system function. Our bodies are the culmination of millions of years of evolution that have finely attuned to the natural cycles of light and dark. Cortisol, for example, is not only activated by psychological stress. Things such as light, standing up, walking and TV watching, also stimulate it. Having trouble falling asleep? Investigate blue-light blocking devices for computers and phones.
3. Feed your brain with herbs and select supplements.
There are so many herbs and supplements that help with brain function, and, with guidance of a professional, can be customized to your needs. Herbs that stimulate blood flow to the brain include rosemary and ginkgo whereas herbs that help to calm the brain and assist with memory and focus include Bacopa and Gotu Kola. Phosphatidylserine is a supplement that can help with brain function as well as cortisol regulation. In addition to brain specific supplements, getting on a program to help your hormones, stress, sleep and inflammation, will also help to function and perform optimally.
4. Stick to a routine.
Women’s bodies LOVE natural cycles and rhythms!
When we have predictability and regularity in our daily, weekly and monthly schedules, our hormones stay regulated, our sleep is better, and our minds function optimally. Be aware of natural rhythms such as the lunar cycle and the four seasons when planning different types of business activities. This awareness can be hugely beneficial.
For more on this, enjoy this TED Talk by Alisa Vitti.
5. Stay inspired!
You can choose to recreate your environment into one that inspires you, whether it’s through the relationships you foster, the activities you engage in, or by adding colour, texture or softness to your space.
I recently was given some GREAT advice to “follow my bliss” in every moment. Even within the confines of business structure, you will almost always be given the option of choosing between coffee or tea, of going out to lunch with this person or that person. There is no greater productivity booster than being 110% inspired by what you do and those you surround yourself with.
The perfect antidote to the type-A driven personality is, therefore, inspiration.
Dr. Rae St. Arnault is a Naturopathic Physician and the Co-founder of Empower Health Clinic. Her main areas of training and focus are with hormones, chronic disease, pain and nervous system. She works together with a team of integrated health professionals to create customized wellness programs to suit each client’s individualized needs.