• Kelsea Cannon

Stress, Anxiety, Fatigue...Oh My!


I just wanted to share a sneak peak on what one of our brave souls is working on within Sustaining Mom. I suspect she'll read this, so I'll go ahead and keep her information private, yet publicly speak her praises. She has been reallllly bending into curiosity and demonstrating *full* commitment to herself. And it's not been easy... But she's doing an amazing job. She's a busy mom of 3 kiddos and is working on getting more quality sleep, feeling more energized in life, and reducing the amount of anxiety she feels. Ultimately - she wants more consistent, quality sleep and she wants to feel rested, energetic, and capable of coping with stress in a non self detrimental way.

3 cheers for our brave soul of a client!

Recently, she was noticing how the stress response steals so much of her energy.

I'm sharing this with you all because it's all a really good fyi that deserves a spotlight...

Noticing how stress steals your energy can be super illuminating!

Stress is definitely an energy leak for many women. And this day in age - stress is maxed out. The conversation surrounding stress paves the way for us to highlight the juicy goodness of something called HPA axis dysfunction and why we care about it within health coaching.

Here's the mini scoop:

HPA axis dysfunction. What the heck is that you ask? Well, it's the sciency-way to describe the process of stress revving us up and leading to physical manifestations (including muscle tightening, jaw clenching, headaches, poor sleep, decreased immune response, gut issues, pelvic pain, joint aches, etc). HPA stands for Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal. It's a fancy way of saying that something in the brain is triggered, causing a cascade of signaling to organs within the body, ultimately leading to tissue response...usually inflammation (body-wide but especially in the gut lining...hence, why the gut-brain connection is so important).

That area in the brain that's first triggered is called the hypothalamus (the H in HPA), and what does that part of our brain do? Well, if you guessed 'coordinate our body temperature, thirst, hunger, sleep and emotional activity', then you guessed right!

What's the #1 hormone that the HPA axis will drive up if the HPA axis is revved up (causing that inflammation)?

If you guessed 'Cortisol', then you guessed right again!

With Cortisol, we need it, but a little bit goes a long way. If we have too much circulating, we're often wired but tired, can't sleep, our appetites are off, and we can have aches/pains that don't seem to go away.

Are you seeing how all this is playing into the whole picture your health as women and moms? And how maybe it's especially easy for mom's HPA-axis to be challenged more often...and stretched thin... ?

When stress is stealing your energy, it's a really good reminder that your body is doing what body's do: responding, reacting, and adapting. So, it's completely normal. BUT - not sustainable.

So how do you use health coaching and lifestyle medicine strategies to work through this?

  1. The process is 100% client led. As a client, you're always in the drivers seat. You're consistently heard, listened to, & supported.

  2. Yet - the process is collaborative. Allowing you to share what's going on, what's working, and what isn't allows for idea generation on how to move forward. All ideas are generated by you and the health coach as a team. Lots of questions come from the health coach in this process in order to find root causes that are buried deep! You then choose what strategies and behavioral changes are going to best fit your life and be sustainable for you. You use baby steps that eventually lead to larger gains.

  3. You're supported in your emotional health. Emotions are normal - excellent compasses - and deserve to be respected. Support in moving from lower energy emotions (fear, anxiety, etc) to higher energy emotions (willingness, courage, acceptance) is key. This is often the most limiting step in all of health care & health conditions.

  4. Behavioral change and motivation has to come from you (the client). In the wise words of Abe Lincoln “You cannot help people permanently by doing for them, what they could and should do for themselves.” This is what makes integrative health coaching so uniquely positioned to support sustainable change vs change that occurs for 4-6 weeks and then reverts back to old ways. Supporting you in taking full ownership and commitment to the process is the key to elevating and sustaining.

Here's the awesome thing about using collaboration to manage stress & increase energy (this can be collaborating with a health coach, friends, family, etc): we women are uniquely designed to butter stress through affiliation and connection...ie, through bonding with others...our bonding hormone (called oxytocin) helps us move into thrive, love, & connection mode...so communing with others and doing something that brings you connection, you're actually supporting your HPA axis.

Being chronically tired and low on energy is common but not normal.

Not sleeping is common but not normal.

Feeling anxious and fearful is common but not normal.

Feeling stuck? Common. Can be normal. But you don't have to choose to be stuck any longer.

Hop on that discovery call so you can share your story and together as a team we can discover where it is you wanna go, what's getting in your way, and a clear path to get you where you wanna be. And if at the end of that call, we feel like we're a good fit to work together, then I can share more with you about the details of Sustaining Mom.

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