3 months ago, I was having panic attacks so intense I was debating whether I should go to the emergency room. We had some very aggressive deadlines for finishing Solving Leaky Gut and I was ruining my health.
As I decompressed in March, after the project completion, I talked with Jordan. There was a much scarier reality headed towards us like a 100 foot tsunami. In 3 months, we were going to pull off our most ambitious project yet – much more complex and unknown than just building the program, a full scale product launch of it.
We had just given back a large chunk of our health by overworking, stressing and neglecting ourselves. And now, with minimal rest, we were going to shoot for a project that was about 3 times larger.
This Was Borderline Dumb For Me to Attempt
Remember, I wasn’t riding into this new stressful project high on my health horse. Most of my healthy and supportive habits had degraded away during the last project – I was a wreck.
As I approached the public launch of Solving Leaky Gut I knew things had to be different or I might suffer Karoshi (the Japanese term for literally working yourself to death). I started with outsourcing the two things I totally failed on in the previous 3 months: exercise and diet (more on that in a bit).
Next, I needed a different game plan for stress and the most powerful non-stimulatory supplement stack that I could think of (and afford).
I survived the launch much better than I thought possible, which when looking back proves a few things:
- Where there is a will there is a way with health. Only the bounds of our imagination and determination hold us back from the level of health we want regardless of external circumstances.
- When the stress isn’t just about me, I can endure much more than I thought possible.
What follows is how I survived the most stressful 3 months of my life. I hope that some of this might support you in your next period of high stress (it will come).
Outsourcing Your Most Important Variables to Thrive
It’s counterintuitive to think about outsourcing the most important things in your life. And until now I had never attempted it. But I knew, based on the previous 3 months, without some expert help I would fail and fall apart again. I couldn’t spend time and energy on planning food and body love. Food is of first importance for me and then second is moving my body.
During the first 3 months of this year, the variety and quality of my food intake plummeted. Anything that took extra time and prep was out – vegetable consumption, organ meats, and fermented foods were no longer parts of my diet – and my health suffered. So luckily, I found an amazing local woman who was knowledgeable about SCD, GAPS and The Wahls Diet. In other words, she got it when it comes to food. She supported me with green juices, organ meats and a whole diversity of foods during this time. It was amazing!
This step alone was one of the most powerful time and attention savers I’ve ever attempted.
Next, I outsourced exercise and body love. I hired a trainer who got it and shared with him what I was up against. I didn’t second guess him or try to direct it (which I typically do). I just let go and trusted him. He had me working out 2-3 times a week and he adjusted the intensity to match my level of fatigue.
Lastly, I did weekly massages to support my energy and relaxation levels. In my opinion, one of the most overlooked areas of health is human touch. Most of us, including myself, don’t get nearly the amount our ancestors did. My social life took a massive hit during this time period and getting some supportive human touch was very helpful.
These actions took putting my trust in perfect strangers but it was well worth it. I couldn’t have done it without them. The key here lies in the people you hire and you must have complete trust in them.
I Lowered Stress by Watching More TV Than Ever
I’ve talked before about my continued struggle to lower stress. By March of this year, most of my stress reducing activities completely disappeared from my life. Meditation, yoga, journaling, fun reading, play, sports, weightlifting – these were no longer happening on a regular basis. Because of this, my body started to shut down on me.
As I moved into the next 3 months, I tried hard to meditate but it didn’t stick. And so, exhausted and short on time and attention for the other activities, I rediscovered the television.
Typically, I don’t watch much TV or Movies, but this time around I unconsciously chose this numbing stress reduction habit. What I normally do is binge on movies, sports or a TV series every few months. I’d say dividing this out means I’d average 1-2 hrs of total TV time per week (more like 8 hrs in one week and then none the rest of the month).
During the last 2 to 3 months, though, I’ve probably watched an average of 1 hour a day (usually at night). I consumed movies and TV series at a rate unheard of for me. They were funny and lifted my spirits not to mention health (laughing helps with hormones). It also gave me a period of time each day where I was finally unplugged and not thinking. Normally I don’t believe in avoiding problems through things like TV, but in this case it worked very well for a small time.
The one stress reduction habit I did consciously choose was journaling. It’s one of the simplest, least time-consuming ones out there, but it’s remarkably powerful. Reflecting on the daily ups and downs, making gratitude lists and reminding myself there was a life at the end of this project kept me sane.
I recommend journaling to every single one of my coaching clients. I think it’s one of the most powerful tools we humans have to help us stay connected to ourselves as we live life.
I’m not suggesting that TV is the answer for everyone. There are many other activities I believe will make us healthier and happier, but it worked for me when nothing else did. I am suggesting, though, that journaling is for everyone. Take time to do it morning and night. Get to the point where you feel bad if you don’t record and reflect on your days.
Non-Stimulatory Supplement Cocktail For Stressful Times
During the first 3 months of the year I tried a supplement cocktail full of products I’d used before. These were supplements to biohack the brain, hormones and energy levels. In the past, I liked the results of the products but this time they only hurt me and made my health worse.
I didn’t need any further stimulation with the high levels of stress and overwhelm in my life. I believe this stimulatory stack was a major part of the racing heart, panic attacks and other problems I experienced. So I shoved them back in my cupboard and re-thought the next 3 months.
I decided to just support my detox and adrenals with non-stimulatory supplements only. And it worked remarkably well! Not only did I make it through the last 3 months, but my skin never broke out, I didn’t gain much weight and I didn’t get any overstimulation episodes. Stress hits everyone differently, but for me it shows up in the form of acne flares and extra weight on my belly. Not this time, though.
Here’s what I used:
- Magnesium Malate (400-600mg a day)
- B complex (1-2 a day)
- Vitamin C (2000-3000mg a day)
- ALA (900mg a day)
- Ubiquinol (high quality CoQ10) (300-600mg a day)
- 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine (ratio of 100:1000 – work w/ a practitioner)
- Ovation S-Acetyl-Glutathione (600-900mg a day)
NOTE: If you wanted to try the stack above you could except for the brain support of 5-HTP and L-Tyrosine. My doses were given to me by Dr. Kalish. Anything above a daily max of 300 mg of 5-HTP and 3000 mg of L-Tyrosine should not be exceeded without practitioner guidance.
The fascinating thing is, I’ve been on the brain support, b vitamins, and magnesium for over a year. So while they are great if you haven’t tried them I don’t believe they were the needle movers for me. I was actually super impressed with the Ubiquinol at higher doses as well as the S-Acetyl-Glutathione. I could actually tell on a daily basis if I skipped either of them.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this.
Ubiquinol, the more bioavailable form of CoQ10, helped increase my energy and helped me think more clearly. This doesn’t really come as too much of a surprise, though, since CoQ10 is well-known as a potent antioxidant and important for energy production and brain health.
Your Body Falls Apart Without Glutathione
I’m not shocked that Glutathione worked either, but what was surprising is that a bottled supplement form of it actually worked for me. I’ve tried 99% of the brands on the market – reduced, liposomal, other acetyl-glutathione – and not one of them ever gave me noticeable benefit. I’ve read many research studies on why the liposomal form should work but they just didn’t for me. There will be an upcoming blog post all about glutathione, but for now know this…
During states of stress, disease, inflammation and high toxicity, glutathione is typically depleted quickly.
Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants in the body. It is very important for liver health, DNA repair, protein synthesis, amino acid transport, and enzyme activation. In other words, it plays a major role in almost every single system in the body. But it’s especially important for GI health, brain and nerves, immune system and cellular function.
The amazing thing is it’s not just me. Jordan also used it during the launch and we use it extensively in our consulting practice. Besides Betaine HCL and digestive enzymes, it’s the one supplement that many people would never give up it helps so much.
I know that as you read this you are probably dealing with some stress. Maybe it’s from being sick, the kids or something that’s happening at work. Stress comes at us from every which way. Or maybe you are one of the millions who’s having seasonal allergies or adrenal fatigue right now.
This year, one of our goals is to expose you to different ideas and treatments that we use that might change your life. And this supplement is definitely one of them.
It’s such an important nutrient for so many areas of the body, and I’m excited to hear your feedback on how it works for you in the comments.