Episode 137: Tired and wired? What you need to know about stress, cortisol and your adrenal glands!

In this episode re-release from June 2020, Dr. Toni and Dr. Lisa discuss: the benefits of some stress in your life; how stress becomes toxic; and how it impacts your libido, energy, mood, memory, immunity and more. Discover how to test for stress hormone imbalances and what you can do about is using lifestyle changes, meditation, exercise, nutrition, herbs and more.

In this episode, we cover:

  • What stress is and why you need good stress
  • How your adrenal glands work
  • What cortisol, your main stress hormone, does in your body
  • How you can test your adrenal function
  • How you can decrease toxic stress and the negative impact of stress on your hormones and health

Why is stress important to talk about?

  • There are downstream effects in body from stress, including hormonal changes
  • Stress is related to up to 90% of all illness 
  • Chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death in the U.S.: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide
  • More than 75 percent of all physician office visits in the U.S. are for stress-related ailments and complaints

Your ability to handle stress can be impacted by: events in your childhood; genetics; and tendencies and learned behaviours from your family and loved ones.

How Some Stress Can Serve Us In the Short-Term

Stress can be both physical and emotional. Not all stress is bad!

Why do you have stress? You need it to survive!

If you came across a predator like a bear in the wild, the fight or flight response (sympathetic nervous system response) kicks in the release of adrenalin and results in:

  • Heart rate and blood pressure increases
  • Blood vessels dilate to increase blood flow to large muscles (arms and legs)
  • Pupils dilate to see more clearly
  • Blood flow to your core organs of digestion is shut down since it’s not a priority
  • Reproduction and fertility is on hold so your energy is focused on immediate survival

Ideally, stress is temporary, allowing your stress hormones to go down and your body has time to recover and repair.

When Stress Becomes a Problem

Stress can become chronic when you are presented with one stressful situation after another and don’t have time to recover. It is important to note that it can be triggered by perceived threats or actual threats. Stress can build up and be too much for your system to handle, especially if you’re experiencing a combination from different sources like:

  • Being stuck in traffic
  • Running late for work
  • Doing a presentation at work
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Managing kids and home life
  • Dealing with sick kids or ill parents

Good stress has positive effects in your body!

When stress is very temporary and you’re looking forward to something that gives you “butterflies” in your stomach, like going for a job interview, writing an exam or going on a date, it can be a good thing for your body!

Good stress can:

  • trigger feelings of reward in your brain after it is over 
  • support your immune system by increasing heat shock proteins 
  • increase your wound healing ability and effectiveness of vaccination
  • increase your resistance to infection and cancer
  • reduce inflammation and allergic reactions
  • boost your energy
  • support your productivity (to a point)
  • control your sleep-wake cycle
  • regulate blood pressure
  • manage how your body uses carbs, fats and protein

Sources of stress can include:

  • Mental (worry, anxiety, depression, past trauma)
  • Chemical (medications, heavy metals, toxic chemicals, mold exposure, chronic bacterial or viral infection)
  • Physical (dehydration, vitamin deficiency, fasting, pain, injury, structural misalignment, lack of sleep, time zone change)

What are your adrenal glands and what do they do?

Your adrenal glands are triangular-shaped glands located above your kidneys that produce your stress hormones: adrenaline and cortisol (among other hormones as well).

  • Cortisol reaches its’ maximum level 15 minutes after a stressful situation occurs and:
    • Increases gluconeogenesis (increases blood sugar levels breaking down glycogen in liver)
    • Decreases insulin sensitivity
    • Decreases growth hormone
    • Decreases T3 thyroid hormone
    • Decreases your immune system and inflammatory response
    • Increases fat and protein metabolism

3 phases of the stress response curve: 

  • Alarm phase – adrenalin increases then decreases after acute stress
  • Resistance phase – cortisol increases and stays high with longer term stress, like work or school deadlines, car accidents, illness or death of loved ones
    • Can have you feeling hot and wired with issues like: 
      • Too much nervous energy and unable to wind down 
      • Feeling warm or hot
      • Sweating at night
      • Different parts of your body feeling red and inflamed
      • High blood pressure
      • Weight gain in the mid-section
      • Needing caffeine or sugar to increase your energy and keep going 
      • Needing alcohol to unwind in evening
      • Getting sick as soon as you relax or go on vacation
  • Exhaustion phase – cortisol decreases as you get into burnout
    • Can have you feeling cold and tired with issues like:
      • Fatigue and exhaustion
      • Feeling weak
      • Get dizzy upon standing
      • Experiencing low blood sugar
      • Dark circles under the eyes
      • Tongue and face appear pale and puffy due to retaining water

Are you stuck in the Resistance phase of the stress response curve?

How do you make the “Resistance” phase of stress tolerable instead of toxic?

  • Chronic stress can be manageable with enough personal resources and support system
    • Tend and befriend
    • Spending more time feeling zen and relaxed in the spa in your mind (parasympathetic nervous system) instead of staying in the emergency room in your mind (sympathetic nervous system)
  • Toxic stress can happen when you don’t have personal resources and/or support system to deal with it and can result in:
    • uncertainty and feeling lack of control
    • physical and mental illness

Your normal daily/diurnal cortisol curve:

  • Cortisol is highest in morning in response to morning light, giving you energy to get up and take on the day
  • It decreases over the day and has an inverse relationship with melatonin (your sleep hormone)
  • If cortisol is high at night, then melatonin can’t be properly produced and released by pineal gland

The World Health Organization (WHO) is bringing attention to the problem of work-related stress. WHO is updating its definition of burnout in the new version of its handbook of diseases, the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) which will go into effect in January 2022. The WHO:

  • specifically ties burnout to “chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed”
  • defines burnout as “feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.”

Chronic toxic stress causes your brain to change! 

  • It shrinks your hippocampus and impairs memory
  • It weakens the connections in your prefrontal cortex (your rational self) to decrease your concentration, focus, impulse control, decision making ability, regulation of stress response
  • It increases activity in your amygdala resulting in more hypervigilance, more sensitivity and reactivity to stress (like a toddler having a tantrum)
  • It induces cerebrovascular changes and increases: neuro-inflammation, oxidative stress and blood brain barrier permeability resulting in brain fog, mood disorders and accelerated aging of your brain tissue.

Other negative health effects from chronic toxic stress include:

  • Weight gain in midsection
  • Blood sugar issues and increased risk of diabetes
  • IBS including gas, bloating, constipation and/or diarrhea
  • Reflux and heartburn
  • Muscle tension and headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Reduced immunity
  • Mood disorders
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Lower bone density
  • Accelerated aging

How are your hormones impacted by stress?

  • You need the appropriate amount of cortisol for your thyroid to work properly
  • If stress and cortisol levels are high, you can’t make enough of your other sex hormones like testosterone and progesterone causing:
    • Low libido
    • PMS, menstrual cramps, headaches/migraines, irregular cycles

How do you find out what is happening in your body?

Testing for stress hormone imbalances includes:

  • Orthostatic hypotension
  • Pupillary response
  • Questionnaires like Identi-T Stress Assessment
  • Lab tests for adrenal function
    • Urine – DUTCH and CHI testing for cortisol production and breakdown plus other hormones, multiple samples throughout the day (4 or 5 point testing)
    • Saliva – multiple samples throughout the day (4 or 5 point testing)
    • Blood – cortisol AM is of limited value, best for testing thyroid function

How do you keep stress tolerable instead of toxic? How can you prevent burnout?

  • Keep a regular daily routine
  • Sleep – aim for at least 7 hours, avoid screens at night, use blue-blocker glasses 
  • Get enough natural light and sunlight during the day
  • Get in the right types of exercise at the right time of day, avoiding over-exercising
  • Avoid unhealthy coping mechanisms like alcohol, caffeine, sugar
  • Stay hydrated and consider adding pinch of salt in water
  • Practice mindfulness, meditation and journaling to reduce: worry, negative thoughts and rumination
  • Get therapy or counselling from a psychologist or psychotherapist. Also, take advantage of the Government of Canada’s free online mental health portal, Wellness Together Canada, to access free online mental health resources and support, including access to therapy, apps, meditations and more.
  • Talk to your Naturopathic Doctor or licensed healthcare practitioner about taking supplements such as: vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, adrenal glandulars, and adaptogenic herbs like: Siberian ginseng, ashwagandha, rhodiola, holy basil, licorice, maca, reishi, cordyceps, shatavari, schisandra.
  • Get outside: walking in nature and practice “Forest Bathing”.

Today’s Mama Must Have – 

Dr. Toni enjoys Traditional Medicinal’s Stress Soother Tea to relax and get into the “spa” state of mind. 

Dr. Lisa likes Traditional Medicinal’s Chamomile with Lavender Tea, and their Lemon Balm Tea to wind down in the evening.

Thank you for joining us today! 

What’s Else is Happening?

Dr. Toni’s next HypnoBirthing session for expecting parents looking to decrease fear and anxiety to support their natural instincts around labour and birth is happening this fall. Join her at https://www.hypnobirthingcalgary.com/register

Join Dr. Lisa’s new Meetup group Wild Woman Adventures Toronto if you want to get out in nature, connect with other women and push yourself out of your comfort zone. Activities include: sunrise/sunset SUP, tree-top trekking, a new moon workshop and more!

Dr. Lisa’s Wild Collective in Fall 2022: get on the waitlist: wildcollectivetoronto.com

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram

We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 108: 5th Wave of the Pandemic Survival Kit: How to Reduce Stress and Anxiety When You Don’t Have Any Time

In this episode, Dr. Lisa and Dr. Toni review simple yet effective ways to manage your stress and anxiety, especially when there is still so much uncertainty around the latest wave of the pandemic. If you’re feeling worried and overwhelmed dealing with unexpected school closures and online learning, listen in to learn how to support your mental, physical and emotional health during this challenging time.

In this episode, we cover the importance of:

  • Lowering your expectations
    • Use the “good enough” mantra to help you get through
    • Get clear on your non-negotiables or deal breakers 
    • Have a “not now” list 
  • Celebrating your successes with a “Ta-da” list, not matter how small it is
  • Getting outside daily
  • Making the mundane fun by injecting play and fun into your day with your kids
    • pairing up activities – dance and sing along with your kids’ favourite movie 
  • Prioritizing and planning one thing you enjoy doing each day, even if it is for 5 minutes at the end of the day
  • Getting the kids involved with age appropriate chores around the home like sweeping and cleaning up, making beds, emptying dishwasher, fold laundry, putting groceries away
  • Quick nutrition hacks like hard boiled eggs, 30 second smoothie bowl (mix protein powder with yogurt and berries), buying whole roasted chicken, buy frozen veggies and fruit, make things in bulk, getting meal delivery
  • Deep breathing throughout the day to increase your ability to be calm and mindful
    • Pair with activities like doing dishes, washing hands, sitting in meeting
  • Activating your vagus nerve with humming, singing and gargling
  • Using essential oils to support calm and stress reduction
    • in bath with epsom salt, back of tub during shower, on tissue or diffuser: lavender, citrus like orange, lemon and grapefruit, peppermint, Easy air, Serenity
  • Enjoying a cup of relaxing tea
    • tulsi and lavender, chamomile, lemon balm, kava, ginger
  • Completing the stress cycle with releasing emotion 
    • Cry it out to your favourite song or sad movie
    • Moving your body, even if it’s jumping jacks or punching a pillow
    • Laughter
    • Hugging for at least 20 seconds
    • For more info, see this episode of Brene Brown’s Podcast with Emily and Amelia Nagoski and this episode of the Ten Percent Happier Podcast.
  • Talking to your kids about feeling different emotions and how to deal with them
  • Setting yourself up for a good sleep with relaxing bedtime activities:
    • Meditation to sit with your feelings without judgement
    • Gratitude practice or journal
    • Journal for brain dump to get out your worries and things to do list

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Lisa is a big fan of dry shampoo to get away with washing her hair less frequently.

Dr. Toni loves the Beatles documentary Get Back on Disney+ featuring some fitting songs like I’ve Got a Feeling I’ve Got A Feeling – The Beatles Rooftop performance in 1969 #ivegotafeeling #getback #thebeatles and Let It Be – The Beatles – Let It Be (Official Music Video)

Thank you for joining us today!

Email us or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

You can also support us by visiting our Patreon page where you can find out how you can join us for our monthly patron webinar where we do a deeper dive discussion about all things perimenopause,

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Disclaimer: The information provided in this presentation is not meant to replace treatment with a licensed health care practitioner. It is for informational purposes only. Consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or other licensed health care professional to determine which treatments are safe for you.

Episode 89: Let’s Talk About Sex – In Conversation with Dr. Trina Read (previously released as Episode 23 on May 28, 2020)

Don’t feel like having sex? It’s time to listen to this re-release of Dr. Toni’s conversation with Dr. Trina Read, sexologist and CEO of the Business of Sex. They discuss the impact of perimenopause and stressful events (like a pandemic) on your sex life. This episode was originally released on May 28, 2020.

Dr. Trina has an unique perspective as a sex and relationship expert who has a corporate background in marketing and PR and who is also a perimenopausal mom.

In this episode, we cover:

  • How to use self care to bring libido back
  • Why you need to know your happy triggers for sex
  • The importance of knowing what you want out of sex and communicating it
  • Why you might want to take intercourse and orgasm off the table for better sex
  • How to have those awkward conversations around sex
  • Why personal lubricant makes all sex better
  • The importance of working your pelvic floor muscles

In perimenopause and in stressful times, you may find your libido is flatlined and don’t feel like sex.

Your body can only produce either cortisol (your stress hormone) or testosterone (your sex drive hormone). If you’re producing cortisol, you can’t produce testosterone.

In situations with great change, it’s important to connect with your partner and look for ways to be together, so that you don’t drift apart. Being proactive and finding pockets of time to be close with your partner helps your relationship, as well as feeling more powerful yourself.

Ask yourself – what can I do to help myself feel more sensual?

You can back into the groove and bring your body back to a place where you feel more centred and sensual by:

  • Taking a bath
  • Listening to your favourite music
  • Giving yourself some me time alone in your bedroom with a vibrator
  • Just making up your mind to connect with your partner (even if it feels forced at first)

The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research (CeMCOR) was founded at the University of British Columbia (UBC) by endocrinologist Dr. Jerilynn Prior. There is lots of information about their research around menstruation and hormones at https://www.cemcor.ubc.ca/

UBC is also home to the Sexual Health Laboratory run by Dr. Lori Brotto that focuses on research around women’s sexual health. https://brottolab.med.ubc.ca/

Research shows that sexual desire is similar to happiness. For most women, in order to feel sexual desire, you needed to be triggered. You can learn positive triggers around sex and negative triggers around sex. You need to set up your positive triggers for sex.

Unfortunately, you may have been brainwashed to think that only 2 things available for sex is having intercourse and having an orgasm.

Sexual intercourse all the time can be a negative trigger for a lot of women, especially if you feel like it doesn’t quite do it for you.

When you can anticipate doing something that you want to experience, a happy trigger for sex can be created. Working on triggers for sexual desire and increasing your repertoire for sex are important for your sexuality to evolve.

Self care like meditation, yoga and tai chi lowers stress and cortisol and can increase your libido.

There are studies that prove that meditation improves your sex life!

Perimenopause is like reverse adolescence with wild ebbs and flows of estrogen and progesterone that can create mood swings, anxiety, hot flashes and insomnia. No wonder you don’t feel like having sex!

Once you hit 40 years of age, you produce less oxytocin. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone. With less oxytocin, you start being more “selfish” and focus on yourself. With more wisdom, self confidence and self care, you can feel more deserving and able to explain to your partner what you want.

This is your opportunity to create something different and better in your sex life! Your partner will be on board with you becoming a more engaged partner…it could result in you actively wanting sex more often.

If you’re experiencing vaginal dryness sometimes or all the time, sex can be painful. Trying out a few different brand of lubricants (silicone based, water based or a combo) can be a game changer for your sex life. Lubricant makes all sex better. You might even want to try a lubricating suppository.

If you don’t use it, you lose it! If you don’t use your vaginal canal, you could experience vaginal atrophy. Exercising your pubococcygeus muscle increases blood flow. Research shows that post-menopausal women who do Kegel exercises have bigger, better orgasms than women who don’t do Kegels. 

What’s the female equivalent to the towel test? 

Every woman’s uterus will prolapse to a certain extent. Greater levels of prolapse can create painful sex. 

There are options to address uterine prolapse other than surgery:

  • Herbal medicine like black cohosh
  • Pelvic floor physiotherapy
  • Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy
  • Laser rejuvenation

You can slide or decide: slide into painful sex or decide to do something different and exciting.

Too scared to talk to your partner about doing something different and new?

How can you start talking to your partner about sex when you feel awkward and uncomfortable. Dr. Trina’s website http://trinaread.com/ has many different articles you can share with your partner to stimulate conversation around sex and your own sex life.

Connect with Dr. Trina Read on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/trina.read and Twitter at @DrTrinaRead

Watch for the release of Dr. Trina’s self help fiction book Amy Finds Her Sex soon!

Today’s Mama Must Have: 

Dr. Toni is a huge fan of her local neighbourhood buy and sell groups on Facebook. These can be a lifesaver for moms on a budget. 

Thank you for joining us today! 

Find the show notes at perimenopausalmamas.com or connect with us on Facebook and Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 88: Exhausted, Gaining Weight and Forgetful – Is it Your Thyroid? (previously released as Episode 42)

We refer to this past episode from October 8, 2020 so often that we decided to re-release it! Is your thyroid the reason you are exhausted, depressed, constipated, forgetful and gaining weight? We discuss signs and symptoms of hypothyroidism, how to properly diagnose imbalances, how to eat to support thyroid health and how we approach assessment and treatment as Naturopathic Doctors.

One in eight women will develop thyroid disease at some point in their life and women are 5-8 times more likely than men to experience thyroid issues.

As Dr. Lisa shared previously in Episode 3, she realized that her thyroid wasn’t functioning properly after giving birth to her son. It is common for women to discover thyroid issues in the postpartum period. Proper blood work, addressing stress and taking dessicated thyroid were crucial for Dr. Lisa to feel her best. 

Why is your thyroid so important?

Your thyroid gland regulates your temperature, energy production and metabolism. When your thyroid is under functioning, it is called hypothyroidism. High thyroid function is called hyperthyroidism.

Symptoms of hypothyroidism include:

  • Fatigue and exhaustion
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Increased sensitivity to cold and temperature changes
  • Constipation
  • Dry skin and thinning hair
  • Puffy face
  • Cravings for sugar and carbohydrates
  • Muscle weakness, aches, tenderness and stiffness
  • Pain, stiffness or swelling in your joints
  • Heavier than normal or irregular menstrual periods
  • Depression and anxiety
    • as many as 15% of women on antidepressants have an undetected thyroid problem as the cause of their depression 
  • Brain fog, poor memory and concentration
    • Studies of women in their 60s have shown that low thyroid function can cause dementia-like symptoms and treatment can improve cognitive function and have a protective effect on the brain
  • High cholesterol
  • Increased risk of heart attack, cardiac arrhythmias and congestive heart failure due to the regulatory control of the thyroid on heart rate and rhythm
  • Fertility issues, increased risk of miscarriage and preterm birth
  • Increased risk of prenatal and postpartum depression

Why do so many women have thyroid issues?

Possible Causes of Your Thyroid Issue Include:

  • Environmental exposure to different chemicals, xenoestrogens and heavy metals
  • Certain medications including birth control pill
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
    • Iodine, selenium, vitamin D, zinc, iron, vitamin A
  • Low calorie diets
  • Infections
  • Stress
    • High cortisol levels due to chronic stress:
      • reduces thyroid hormone production
      • inhibits your conversion of the inactive form of thyroid hormone T4, to the active form T3
  • Gut issues
    • Leaky gut (also known as intestinal hyperpermeability) and imbalances in your gut microbiome have both been shown to impact hormone imbalances and fluctuations, like when you are postpartum or in perimenopause
  • Autoimmunity
    • Environmental toxins, chronic stress, nutritional insufficiencies, leaky gut, food intolerances and having chronic inflammation are all factors that can contribute to autoimmune disease
    • Your immune system is triggered to produce antibodies that can attack your thyroid, which is what is happening when you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

How do you properly test your thyroid function and the underlying causes of thyroid issues?

Blood work: 

Full thyroid panel: TSH, free T4 and T3, thyroid peroxidase antibodies, thyroglobulin antibodies, reverse T3

Vitamin D, iron

Celiac screen 

Gluten and other food sensitivity

Saliva and urine testing for hormones including cortisol, estrogen, progesterone

Urine testing for heavy metal exposure (eg. cadmium, mercury)

Temperature checks every 3 hours during the day to see if your body is using your thyroid hormones properly

What can you do about an underfunctioning thyroid?

Avoid raw goitrogenic foods – soy and Brassica family veggies like broccoli and cauliflower

Increase your intake of thyroid supporting foods 

  • Seaweed like dulse for iodine, brazil nuts for selenium, pumpkin seeds and oysters for zinc

Reduce toxin exposure

Replace nutrient deficiencies

Consider adrenal and stress support:

  • Address your throat chakra – speaking your truth, asking for help
  • Herbal support with ashwagandha, kelp, bladderwrack, Coleus forskohlii

Thyroid hormone replacement with Synthroid or Dessicated thyroid

  • Take in the morning, on an empty stomach, away from caffeine

Why would you consider dessicated thyroid?

  • If you’re on monotherapy like Synthroid (T4), you still night suffer from anxiety and depression even if your TSH levels are normal
  • T4 may not be enough to restore your T3 levels in your blood and target tissues
  • It contains all four natural thyroid hormones – T4, T3, T2, T1, plus iodine, thyroglobulin

Today’s Mama Must Have:

Dr. Toni loves having a healthy and easy recipe like Egg Muffins from Amanda Naturally that the whole family will eat for breakfast or a snack. Check out Episode 5 for more tips for healthy food habits from Amanda.

Dr. Lisa knows that Dessicated Thyroid is an absolute must have for her!

Thank you for joining us today! 

Connect with us at our website www.perimenopausalmamas.com, on Facebook and on Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Episode 64: What Your Personality Says About You with Kimberly Mueller

In this episode, Dr. Toni chats with registered psychologist Kimberly Mueller about how your personality shapes your life, especially your experience of this past year. Knowing more about the Big 5 personality traits can reduce stress and improve your understanding of yourself, your kids, your partners and other important people in your life. 

You can find the 2 previous episodes from last year featuring Kimberly Mueller here:

Episode 7: Anxiety, Mom Guilt and Getting Out of Your Head

Episode 14: Testing Positive and Recovering from COVID-19

Kim has a passion to help individuals understand how their own unique personality, life experiences, and social conditioning are impacting the quality of their relationships and lives. In addition to being an active mom of 2 young boys, Kim is also the co-founder of www.sheworth.org which is a movement to help women improve their self-worth and ultimately the quality of their lives.

In this episode, we cover:

  • Kim’s reflections on the past year, as someone who experienced COVID-19 at the beginning of the pandemic one year ago 
  • How every individual’s response to the pandemic can fit along a bell-shaped distribution curve 
  • The importance of giving yourself, and others around you, grace and compassion with whatever you are feeling right now
  • How your unique personality provides the lens that you choose and view your relationships can be seen through the Big 5 Personality Traits – OCEAN
    • Openness to experience
    • Conscientiousness
    • Extroversion
    • Agreeableness
    • Neuroticism 
  • If you can change your personality over time
    • Spoiler: while you can build in environmental structures and intentional commitments to impact personality tracts that you feel aren’t serving you, you will always default back to who you are 
  • The impact of genetics on your personality – good news for moms?
  • Personality traits are not good or bad; there is value on both sides
  • How you can think of neuroticism in terms of emotional stability or sensitivity to stress and negative emotional triggers 
    • If you are high in neuroticism, you tend to celebrate or medicate
    • If you are low in neuroticism, you are more emotionally steady
    • Women are generally more neurotic than men
  • Women are also slightly more agreeable than men (due to social conditioning?)
    • If you are more agreeable, you are easier to get along with others, friendly, likes to go with the flow, more of a people pleaser
    • If you are more disagreeable, you like people to know your opinion and don’t care what others think
    • Like Kim, you might experience resentment if you are naturally disagreeable and work hard on being agreeable with your kids
    • You may need to be more intentional with boundaries and saying no to others if you are high agreeable
  • Why the world is generally more suited to extroverted people, though they tend to struggle more during the pandemic
    • The book Quiet explains how introverts tend to be undervalued 
  • How conscientiousness is the greatest predictor of success in the workplace and long term romantic relationships
  • What you can do if your child is low in conscientiousness
    • Low conscientiousness may lead to more procrastination and less goal-setting and goal-achieving
    • If there’s enough pain, you may work hard and be able to shift where you fall on this spectrum
  • How you can conserve your mental energy be recognizing someone else’s openness to new perspectives and experiences
  • The importance of non-judgement when looking at the personality traits of other people in your life

Do the free personality test and check out SheWorth’s free monthly events.

Connect with Kim at psychologycalgary.com 

This Week’s Mama Must Have: 

Dr. Toni has been relying on her neti pot to deal with dryness and environmental allergies

Kim highly recommends Pema Chodron’s book When Things Fall Apart

Email us or connect with us on  Facebook  and  Instagram. We’d love you to subscribe, leave us a review and a 5-star rating if you enjoyed this episode.

Please tell your perimenopausal mama friends about us, too!

Stay safe and healthy everyone!