Sunday was Mother’s Day and I hope all of you mother’s out there got spoiled and received a well-deserved break! However, I think we should not have to wait a whole year to get breakfast in bed, dinner out and children (husbands) that willingly take over tedious household chores. Mother’s Day once a week – I would vote for that!

            The reality is that today’s Moms juggle more tasks, work longer and sleep less than their own mothers did. They are on call without PTOs or mental health days. In addition to coordinating family life, social activities and children’s school and play schedules, their job description includes cleaner, shopper, book-keeper, spouse and more. Many mothers do all and work full-, or part-time jobs. Fact is, that busy moms have very little “me” time to re-charge through rest, exercise or fun activities.

            The constant pressure to do and give your best to everyone but yourself, leaves many women headed towards physical, mental and emotional depletion. In the book “Mother Nurture – Mothers Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships”, the authors coined the term Depleted Mother Syndrome which occurs when demands on the mother increase and her resources decrease. As a result, women develop physical, mental and emotional burnout symptoms ranging from insomnia, weight gain/loss, headaches and digestive problems to irritability, brain fog and depression.

            Quick fixes such as pharmaceuticals to treat symptoms of burnout, or stimulants like caffeine to keep up wit the demands, are short lived solutions and often have unwanted side effects. Chronic stress is like a dripping faucet – it erodes your health over time. Don’t wait until you the dam breaks but find ways to carve out time for yourself. It is not selfish to take a mental health day, make arrangements to have someone watch the kids, skip a soccer game or decide to have breakfast for dinner because it is easier. This is much needed self-nurturing! Block out a couple of days a month for just you, for self-care and fun!

            One way to get back into balance naturally, is by getting regular Acupuncture treatments. There is enough research available that shows the efficacy of Acupuncture in the treatment of stress related symptoms.

            Acupuncture, is a gentle, safe and effective therapy that creates balance and promotes the body’s innate healing processes which is weakened by chronic stress. In a way, the needles remind the body how to repair, regulate and create homeostasis (balance) through down-regulating the body’s stress response (one of the reasons why patients fall asleep during treatments) and by increasing natural opiates, endorphin and dopamine. Acupuncture treatments can positively affect cortisol levels, thereby alleviating anxiety, depression, irritability and stress. It also promotes circulation and can therefore positively affect cognitive function.

            Acupuncture strengthens the body’s immune function and reduces/alleviates systemic inflammation and pain. With regular treatments, patients can develop resilience and adapt better to the many external stressors they encounter on a daily basis.

            Mother Nature, too, has many wonderful Herbs to calm, balance and strengthen the body as well as the nervous system. Some of these fall into a special category called Adaptogens. These herbs are well studied and have been used for thousands of years to improve stamina, immunity, and to promote longevity and overall wellbeing. We also call them tonic herbs for their safe and gentle nature. They can help regulate the hypothalamus and adrenal glands (HPA axis) which are in charge of the stress response and cortisol production.

            Among the most popular adaptogens are Astragalus, Eleuthero, Rhodiala Rosea, Ashwaganda, Reishi, Ginseng and Schizandra. Adaptogenic herbs can be taken daily, their effect is subtle and cumulative. Research has even shown that they can greatly increase the effectiveness of some modern drugs, including antibiotics, antidepressants and in some cases eliminate the side effects of some drugs. All adaptogens have anti-stress qualities, yet some of them are a little more stimulating and others more calming. To find the right herb and dosage for your specific needs, check in with me during your next appointment, or schedule an herb consultation.

            Stress and burnout are rampant in our society and women are especially affected. We experience more stress than men because of greater demands, managing multiple roles – and the hormonal fluctuations across the life cycle. Therefore it is important that we nurture not just our loved ones, but tend to our own needs as well.

Make yourself, your health and your wellbeing a priority by planning a “Mother’s Day”  (that includes Acupuncture!) on a more regular basis and.