Every year at Rejuvenate retreat I’m asked what vitamin regimen helped me get back to health after a doctor told me I was going to die if I didn’t get rid of my stressors. I figured I’d finally write it up in a post it so people can more easily share it. For me, in my situation, these truly are the best vitamins for stress.
To be clear, I’m not a doctor, but I’ve worked with my doctor and a dietitian and done a lot of research on which vitamins and nutrients help to counter our body’s stress response. It has taken me years, but I feel like I’ve to come up with a regimen that works for me when I’m stressed. Hopefully it can help you discover what works best for you.
Quick Disclaimer: I have no relationship with any of the companies who manufactures the these supplements, I chose the products below for myself because they came highly recommended by my doctor as a good product (yeah there are some bad ones out there). HOWEVER, if you buy these products from the links below, amazon does give us a small portion of the proceeds to support the work we do.
Before I go into the specific vitamins I recommend, I want to make sure to explain a few things. When our brain perceives a threat (and it doesn’t distinguish between a hungry lion chasing you or a three year old throwing a temper tantrum on the floor), our body responds by releasing a flood of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol. Certain nutrients help counter the effects of stress on our bodies and help them recover more quickly. These vitamins are quickly depleted during times of stress and need to be replenished.
For a year and a half, I had a terrible eye twitch. It looked like I was winking at everyone. I also was feeling high levels of anxiety and struggling to sleep. Turns out, I was low in magnesium. Magnesium aids with sleep and mental function. It helps counter the stress response in the body, so it becomes depleted quickly under times of high stress. Magnesium provides the body with sugar for energy and helps relax muscles.
There are several ways to get magnesium. One is in a supplement form. I like using chelated magnesium, because it’s not as likely to cause diarrhea. I really like this brand.
The other way to get magnesium is through the skin. I like to take baths withmagnesium flakes. They are made from magnesium chloride, which is supposed to be a better form to be absorbed through the skin. It’s amazing to me how much better I sleep after doing that.
You can also use epsom salts, which are less expensive but are made from magnesium sulfate to me seem a little less effective.
The B Vitamins
When I added Vitamin B supplements to my regimen, I noticed my energy level increase. Vitamin B helps the body manufacture neurotransmitters, such as serotonin, which help us cope with stress, balance mood, and sleep better. It’s another vitamin that our bodies use up rapidly rapidly during times of stress. I really like the raw vitamin brands like this one.
Rhodiola is another supplement that can help support our bodies during stressful times. This root is an adaptogen, which helps the body adapt to and resist physical, chemical and environmental stressors.
Melatonin, L-theanine, 5-HTP
During stressful times I’ve struggled with sleep. One product that I love (and don’t go anywhere without taking it with me) is Somno Pro. It combines melatonin, 5HTP and L-Theanine. This one tastes amazing as well…..just a little added bonus.
Something else that happens during high-stress times is that blood is diverted away from our digestive system and sent toward the brain, heart, lungs and large muscle groups. Because blood is diverted away from the digestive system, many people, including me, have struggled with digestive issues. Chronic stress can cause the bad bacteria to overtake our digestive system, so a good probiotic can help bring it back to balance. I personally take the Klaire Lab brands.They come in 25 billion or 50 billion. One thing to make sure you know is that if you start taking the probiotic and you do have an overgrowth of bad yeasts and bacteria, you could experience nausea and other symptoms as the good bacteria kill off the bad.
Something else I found helpful for both energy level and hydration was electrolyte tablets. When our adrenals are not working well due to chronic stress, they actually flush out sodium and other important electrolytes. With sodium levels low, we don’t retain water like we should. For the longest time I was constantly thirsty. In fact, I thought I had diabetes. What I didn’t realize at the time was that as I was downing the water, my adrenals were just flushing out my electrolytes. I’ve found several products that help with keeping my electrolyte levels where they should be. When I start to feel dehydrated despite drinking plenty of water, I know that I need some extra supplementation.
These are my favorite. They are a little more pricey but worth the extra money in my opinion. There are a ton of different flavors. The one thing you need to know is that if it says “Energy” on the tube, it contains caffeine in addition to the electrolytes.
I am making a list of the best adoption books. Can you help?
Which adoption book(s) have been the most helpful to you?
It is no surprise that adoptive and foster parents have limited time constraints. As a group, we tend to really want to help our kids. I’m working to put together a list of books that should be at the top of the newer parents reading list.
Would you take a moment to tell me your favorites?
Results are private, so be honest. This is list is not and endorsement or review of any book…..just a list of some that have been popular. It is also not exhaustive so if your favorite(s) are not on the list, please add it in the “other” section
The Adoptive Parents Biggest Mistake That Hinders Attachment - And How to fix it. - YouTube
We are continuing our series on the difficulty of loving difficult kids. In this episode we will uncover the biggest mistake parent can make which will make it even more difficult to look lovingly at a child who has suffered complex traumas.
Watch to the end and will will bust through 6 myths adoptive and foster parents buy into. When we bust through these myths this monumental task will get easier (not easy).
As the retreats grow, we’ve seen the need to add more retreat staff. We are excited to announce that Joanna Martin has accepted the position of Director for the Washington state Rejuvenate.
Joanna attended one of the first Rejuvenate retreats in Washington state and has been an avid supporter of it. We’ve asked her to share a little bit of her experience, as well as a little bit about herself, so you can get to know her:
“In 2016, I found myself navigating life on auto pilot. I was numbly surviving day-to-day, sometimes just moment-to-moment. An ad for Rejuvenate Retreat with the words “just for foster and adoptive moms” caught my eye. Even though I knew nothing about the retreat, no one that was attending or who would watch my adopted son for a weekend, it was the single fastest purchase I’d ever made and one that proved to be life changing.
During the first ice breaker activity, you stood up if a label read described you. As the activity proceeded, it clicked that my journey was not unique or abnormal as my loving but clueless about foster care and adoption friends, family and coworkers had made it feel. For the first time ever, I was in a room full of women that shared similar labels, similar challenges and similar lives. Suddenly, I wasn’t alone.
Then the lady sitting next to me, patted my leg and said sometime nice to me. To my embarrassment, I promptly burst into uncontrollable tears. While I’d recognized that I needed a break enough to come to the Retreat, I hadn’t realize how utterly burnt out, isolated and devastatingly overwhelmed I felt until this sweet stranger’s kind understanding. All I’d done was stand up to identify that I was a single, foster, adoptive, working mom and she understood what all those titles entailed without me having to say a single word.
That is the underlying power of the Rejuvenate Retreats. It meets you wherever you might be and makes you feel seen, cared for and connected. If provides you with an opportunity to be still and take a deep breath. For one weekend, all your everyday struggles, stress and chaos falls away and the only thing you have to focus only on is yourself. There is such beauty of what this one magical weekend can do to breath life, energy and love into foster and adoptive moms.
How could I not want to be a part of creating that magic? During my 19-year career, I have planned a variety of community special events with attendance ranging from 50 to 15,000 including over 10 multiple-day conferences and training programs. I’m thrilled to be this year’s WA Rejuvenate Retreat Director because I get to use my professional experience to serve a population near and dear to my heart: foster and adoptive moms.
Over the last eight years, I fostered nine kiddos and adopted one of them. They have taught me more life lessons than I ever thought imaginable. They pushed me to grow, learn and become a better version of myself. Sometimes that pushing felt like loving nudges and other times they were violent pushed over the ledge that led to the feeling of free falling with no parachute. Out of necessity, I’ve learned to embrace therapy, self-care, alternative medicine and the importance of building strong support systems.
My goal for the WA Rejuvenate Retreat is to create a safe place for foster and adoptive moms to gather, rest, learn and network. We offer a variety of programs and activities to pamper, support and show moms love. There are also plenty of tissues available in case anyone else is a crier like I am.”
Let us walk along side of Joanna in her new role and support her efforts to reach out to moms who are in need of connection, encouragement, and support.