By Dr. Nicole Sundene
Holistic Hormone Expert
When you are under stress do you go into fight, flight or fright?
Fight, flight and fright are all normal responses to stress. Everyone generally has an anxiety pattern of what they lean towards or have a combination of a few. I am personally not a fighter so I tend to like to run or ride my bike when I am stressed or wrap up in a ball in bed in fright. Understanding how we respond to stress is critical to addressing adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, and burn out. Every time we are triggered with stress...and BOY IS IT A TRIGGER FILLED TIME….our adrenal glands ZAP us with adrenaline, cortisol, norepinephrine and epinephrine. In nature the purpose of this is so that we can “Run From a Bear" as I explain in my last hormone blog.
But these adrenal gland stress hormones don't help our anxiety one bit and can make us feel even more anxious. One easy way to burn them off is to go running or do some type of endurance event for at least 45 minutes. Most long distance athletes end up with burnt out adrenal glands because long distance exercise is generally depleting adrenal hormones over time. But if you need to blow off some steam and the stress is becoming too much make sure you exercise. As it is obviously the best choice in my picture above.
Your stressed out doctors, nurses and public servants would certainly appreciate it if those in “Fight Club Mode” could just simply run far far away from us rather than attack us over things beyond our control when we are already pushed well past our own stress comfort zones on a daily basis and have no choice but to continue returning to a very broken health care system that was not functioning properly before the Pandemic and certainly has not been improved upon or made more efficient due to the Pandemic causing delays with pharmacies, supplies, vendors and labs, on top of us losing more patients than normal per year than we are used to dealing with on a grief level....many of us will have PTSD from this for the rest of our lives, and dealing with angry unreasonable patients should not be part of the pile on our stress plates.
Please do not yell at your health care workers. We are not okay! Which is why so many doctors and nurses I know have quit practicing medicine completely and refuse to ever go back. I literally pack myself up as if I am going off to war every day now. Previously the month of 9/11 was the hardest time I ever experienced in health care with everyone crying and hysterical. But this has been MUCH MUCH worse and has continued to go on for almost two years. Anyone that is still showing up for their job in health care at this point is a hero in my mind.
These are trying times for everyone. You can head to my blog on Herbal Sedatives for Anxiety Disorder to learn some herbs for coping with stress...otherwise Please consider sharing my post as an important stress management PSA to your friends and family. I have never talked to more depressed patients going through tough times at once and that means the majority of people are struggling with constant stress. Many of my patients are pretending they are fine and simply saying “I am hanging in there,” which is the new code language for “I have reached the VERY end of my rope.”
Needless to say many of us are guilty of going into FIGHT MODE...and we should be doing much more flight and fright than spreading more anger and rage. Consider the activities that make you angry and put you into fight mode and try to eliminate and minimize them. Instead of starting the next fight...head out on a flight. You can go for a run, swim, biking, skiing, walk or just head outside to a beautiful look out area and sit and enjoy the magic of nature.
When fighting happens too much in households it's important you give each other a break and get out of the house at different times. If you are struggling with your hormones and dealing with PMS, Perimenopause or Menopause its time to work with a Hormone Doctor on balancing your hormones!
Heading out to nature is a great break! I have been doing a lot of marriage counseling for my patients this past year which makes me sad and also laugh to some degree because I have now come full circle as a doctor. When I first started my Internship at Bastyr University twenty years ago they had the students provide marriage counseling for $5.
So my marrriage counseling training has come in handy during this Pandemic. The real underlying problem with most of my patient’s relationships is they are just spending too much time together at home. So please get out of the house, schedule yourself out of the house, and find some new activities that get you out of the house so your family has a break from you. “Absence makes the heart grow fonder.”
You can help everyone battle this extra stress by reminding them of the importance of exercise for stress management and also ask your friends, family and children tonight at dinner if they go into Fight, Flight or Fright.
It is an important time to keep people talking about their feelings during this Mental Health Crisis caused by Pandemic life hardships. Please remind everyone, especially children and teenagers that you know that it is okay to ask for help and please go see your therapist or Naturopathic Doctor or SCHEDULE a visit with me if you are not doing well and need my hormone help with your adrenal gland hormones or female hormones.
If you have signs of adrenal fatigue or hormone imbalance I would be happy to measure your labs and help you. Lets all make a pack to stay out of “Fight Club Mode'' and respond with excessive kindness instead of rage for the sake of everyone’s sanity, especially your health care workers. Lets try something new.... how about the angrier we feel the kinder we decide to act? We have experienced enough rage from the public for one life time. Which is why I will be blogging about PTSD treatments next. Stay tuned for my next blog on PTSD and Hormones.
Dr. Nicole Sundene
Female Hormone Expert
Dr. Sundene is a Naturopathic Doctor in Scottsdale, Arizona, and is considered a Female Hormone Expert in Women's Health and Bioidentical Hormones. She specializes in Holistic Women's Health for Menopause, Thyroid, Hashimotos, PMS, Perimenopause, Autoimmune, Postpartum, Chronic Fatigue, Depression, Anxiety, Food Allergies, Digestion, Dermatology , Acne, Psoriasis, Eczema and Adrenal Hormonal Conditions. In 1999 she began working for a Hormone Doctor prior to starting Naturopathic Medical School. With over 22 years of experience in both Prescription and Natural women's health and hormones she presents to women the best integrated health solutions for their Chronic Disease. She has been an Herbalist for over 27 years and enjoys teaching women how to use herbs to balance their hormones, nutrition and optimize their health. Dr. Sundene relies on blood testing for her hormone metrics. The hormone testing is covered per the patient's insurance plan and conducted at certain points in the woman's menstrual cycle. To learn more about Hormone Testing for Women Visit: Bioidentical Hormones. Follow Dr. Sundene on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for more tips on Women's Health, Female Hormones and Naturopathy!