High cortisol levels mean more than just feeling a bit tired and stressed; it can be detrimental to your health. If you’ve had your cortisol levels tested and your doctor confirmed your levels are higher than normal, below are some tips you can use in conjunction with your doctor’s recommendations to help improve your situation faster:
Do low-intensity exercises
Intense exercise like prolonged cardio or high-intensity aerobic exercises raise cortisol levels, and if your cortisol levels are already too high, this is the last thing you should do. Rather consider doing some low-intensity exercise like Pilates, light walking, stretching, or non-strenuous dancing. If you want to do weight lifting or aerobic exercise, limit the duration to 30 minutes per day and take rest days in between sessions.
Get enough sleep
Getting enough sleep is just as important as having a proper sleep routine. You should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night and try to be in bed by 10 PM to avoid putting more stress on your body by staying up too late. Having high cortisol levels can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep, though. If you really struggle with sleep, consider speaking to a Functional Medicine doctor about possible solutions. Making sure your room is dark enough and free of disruptions will also help.
Consume enough whole foods
If you’re not consuming enough calories each day, your body might respond by increasing cortisol output, tapping into your stored energy reserves to raise glucose levels in your blood. This is a normal process in humans, but with already-too-high cortisol levels, one that you want to avoid. Skipping meals puts extra strain on your body and might cause you to miss your optimal caloric intake. This study shows that restricting your caloric intake to less than 1200kCal per day can raise cortisol levels.
Supplements to assist in lowering cortisol
Some vitamins and minerals can assist your body in coping with the high cortisol levels. This includes B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, minerals like calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium, as well as other supplements including L-theanine, omega 3-fatty acids and phosphatidylserine. Herbal and hormonal therapies can also be helpful. However, it is important not to self-medicate and rather see a Functional Medicine doctor for blood tests and assessing your individual situation.
Avoid things that cause stress
As far as possible, try and avoid situations that can cause extra stress. Be mindful of the people you surround yourself with. Avoid negative and manipulative company, or at the very least, see a psychologist or counsellor that can assist you in coping with it. If you have a stressful job, consider finding something else. Also avoid alcohol, coffee, and smoking, as it puts extra stress on the body by interfering with your body’s normal functioning.
Focus on things that make you feel good. Owning a pet can increase happiness; as will listening to uplifting music, watching a funny movie, spending time with people that make you feel good about yourself, or going for a massage. Drink enough water and make time to rest – take care of yourself and don’t ignore your body if it is screaming for help.