Hormones act like chemical messengers that flow through your bloodstream after being secreted by your endocrine glands (like the thyroid and the pituitary gland) so that they can help regulate all the different and intricate ways that your body functions — from sleep and appetite, to reproductive function and mental alertness. Balanced hormones ensures you’ll feel great, look great, and be able to go about your day performing tasks and actions at your best ability.
Although they sure can be tricky to figure out, imbalanced hormones can be at the root of all sorts of different health issues. According to WebMD, common signs of a hormonal imbalance include weight loss difficulties, sleep problems, digestive issues, sluggishness, a low libido, food cravings, stress, depression and more.
If you experience any one of the above issues or think something might be seriously off, it’s always best to speak to your doctor about it. But in the meantime, several lifestyle changes can be made to help to potentially aid in rebalancing your hormones.
Try an Elimination Diet
Sometimes certain foods or entire food groups can be what’s causing sluggishness, weight problems or other issues. Even if you don’t suspect something you’re eating could be at the root of the problem, sometimes you never known until you take it away and then reintroduce it later. You may want to consider eliminating gluten, dairy, soy, refined sugar, peanuts, corn, alcohol, caffeine, or even eggs one at a time for a couple of weeks to see if it has an effect on you.
Improve Your Sleep Environment
Lying in bed for a good 7 to 8 hours at night is fine, but how’s your sleep quality? Poor sleep quality prevents your body from getting the rest and restoration it needs, which is indeed made possible by the hormonal shifts that occur during different stages of sleep. Try limiting use of blue light-emitting devices before bed, avoid caffeine and sugar after lunch, lower the temperature slightly below normal (or crack a window if the weather is cool enough), and consider doing something relaxing like a body scan meditation to help improve sleep.
Practice Restorative Yoga
When it comes to imbalanced hormones, intense physical activity may only exasperate the problem. Shift your practice to something more restorative with an emphasis on stillness and slow, gentle movement. This type of yoga is designed to calm and relax your entire body by soothing your nervous system and encouraging mindfulness. Any other relaxing activities you can do in addition to your yoga practice — like leisurely walking, going for a massage, or taking a bath — can also go a long way.
Rethink Your Scented Products
This may be a bit of a long shot, but it definitely doesn’t hurt to consider it. Slowly but surely, start replacing chemical-based products you used that are heavily perfumed with natural alternatives. Think cosmetics, cleaners, detergents, air fresheners, and candles. The Environmental Working Groups has everything you need to know about the 12 biggest endocrine disruptors plus tips on how to avoid them – so you may even want to go beyond the stuff that’s scented and aim to replace everything that contains these chemicals.
None of the above lifestyle shifts are absolutely guaranteed to balance out your hormones, but they’re certainly worth moving toward just for the sake of making healthy lifestyle improvements. Try tracking your habit changes and how your feel in a daily journal so you’ll have something to go by if you decide that you need to see your doctor.