Hormones. They affect our mood, our sleep, our skin and so much more. So why don’t we talk about them? Or rather, when we do speak about hormones - or being hormonal - why is it in a negative way? To reframe the conversation, we asked Cowshed Educator Jess for some ways to understand hormones, regain control and ease the symptoms of hormonal imbalance.
How can you tell if your hormones are out of balance?
‘Hormones can make you feel really out of control. I suffer quite badly with hormones in the sense that if I’m premenstrual, or I’m really stressed or tired from working loads, I react differently to how I usually would. The smallest, most ridiculous, things can really annoy me. Someone uses my coffee cup, and before I even realise, I’m pouring the coffee down the sink and walking away with the mug, because it’s MY mug (if you're picturing Ross Geller, you're on the money). As soon as you do it you feel so ridiculous. If they caught you a week later or when you weren’t stressed or sleep-deprived, it wouldn’t be an issue at all.’
'Stress, in particular, really affects your hormones. If you think of the body as all connected, then one thing being out of sync will have an ongoing effect on everything else. If you’re living a very stressful life, it effects your sleep, your nervous system, your digestive system. I think at Cowshed, while we can’t cure your stress, we can help you cope with the symptoms. By having something like a massage, you can reduce the cortisol levels in your body, in the way that meditation and relaxation helps. It will also stop the lactic acid build-up in the muscles, reducing the tension in your shoulders that is preventing you from getting to sleep. You will feel looser and your breathing is more in control.'
'Sleep is central to your mental and physical health. The relationship between stress and sleep goes two ways: too much stress makes it hard to sleep, and too little sleep makes you stressed. To manage lack of sleep and high stress, we have the Sleepy Pillow Mist to calm the mind, making it a lot easier to have a restful sleep.'
How does the menstrual cycle fit into hormonal imbalance?
‘Oestrogen gets higher towards your period, which gives you a range of symptoms: tender breasts and high emotions to name a few. Your body goes through this cycle, even if you’re taking the pill. I really struggled with period flu. I was nauseous, and I even threw up. I was really under the weather, but this kind of thing is not talked about. Six months of my life was awful, I was really emotional and tender. I would completely swell up, the water retention was terrible.’
Have you found any ways to ease these symptoms?
‘The best way to cope with this is to avoid sugar, get enough sleep and take the Wild Nutrition Premenstrual Complex- they’re amazing for it, they changed my life. Supplementing can just balance those things out. I don’t supplement loads of things as I think you should be eating enough to get most nutrients.’
‘I also use our Balance collection. These products are incredibly calming, and the essential oils have hormone-balancing properties. Ylang Ylang, Linden Blossom and Rose Geranium are really neutralising to the nervous system as their fragrances have a therapeutic effect. If you use it in the bath or just rub it into the body, the fragrance helps to balance the mind.’