I have battled with anxiety for my entire life. You can read a brief introduction to THAT story in the following article, My Mental Health Pledge. Now though related, today I want to talk about something more specific. Something that didn’t occur in my life until I became a mother of TWO.
From my experience, being a mother of just one child, especially with an “easy” firstborn – THAT was nowhere near as taxing compared to motherhood with more than one child! Once my second (and last) was born, there was this specific mood issue that started to creep up in to my every day life. Every weekday, around 3:30-4p.m., I would start to feel like I all of a sudden was in a HORRIBLE mood. Furthermore, my energy levels would drop drastically at the same time. At first, I chalked it up to being due to the anticipation during that specific time of day, waiting to see what time my husband would be able to come home and help with the dinner-bath-night-time routine (parenting stuff). But, like with most things, I started to dig a little bit deeper, research more, and in return ask for certain hormonal blood tests from my doctor.
Sure enough, my cortisol levels were dropping super low around that doomed 3:30-4p.m. time of day where I was feeling unpleasant mood and energy symptoms. Though the body’s cortisol levels naturally rise and fall throughout the day, I was starting to realize that my body’s cortisol regulation was just not working as smooth as before.
You see, cortisol is a steroid hormone that aids the body in responding to stress. It’s actually commonly referred to as the “stress hormone” because during times of high stress, levels of cortisol spike high. This type of hormone is in a category of hormones that are naturally synthesized in the body to carry out a wide range of functions.
Cortisol also plays a role in metabolism, by stimulating the liver to increase production of blood sugar. It aids in the process of converting fats, proteins, and carbohydrates into *usable* energy. During a fight-or-flight response, cortisol is released to give the body an energy boost as well. But when cortisol levels are constantly high (because of chronic stress, etc.) the systemic effects can lead to chronic health conditions – like type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and much more.
I believe that my dysfunctional cortisol regulation was adapted because of a plethora of things, including lifelong anxiety (way too much time spent in “fight or flight” mode), being an athlete for my entire childhood and adolescence, the many years of hardships (family members cancers/deaths, traumatic events, life-threatening pregnancies/births, miscarriage and loss, + more), and also VERY MUCH DIRECTLY related to the adrenal fatigue that comes along with Hashimoto’s Disease.
Cortisol aids the body in fighting inflammation. I have autoimmune conditions and widespread/chronic inflammation. Boom, even more of a reason that my morning cortisol blood work made my doctor do a double-take when reading the results (which was more than 3 times the “normal” amount), and my afternoon levels being what they “should” be at midnight/when asleep!
Now the adrenal glands, are small, triangular-shaped, and sit on top of each kidney. From the adrenal glands, cortisol is released directly into the bloodstream.
The pituitary gland (a pea-sized gland at the base of the brain) and hypothalamus (a region of the brain that controls the activity of the pituitary gland) determines whether the blood has the “right amount” of cortisol. In essence, these two work together as the control mechanism regarding how much cortisol is made. Amy Myers, MD, the author of “The Thyroid Connection“, states this:
Once a stressor triggers this cascade of hormones, cortisol and your other stress hormones redirect your body’s normal functions to deprioritize anything that is not necessary for overcoming the stressor in front of you. This means that functions like digestion, immune response, and yes, thyroid hormone production and distribution, are temporarily put on hold or slowed down until the stress has passed. Ideally the stress passes quickly, your body returns to normal, and everything runs smoothly.
Unfortunately, in today’s society, we often experience chronic stress, either because our stress does not end quickly or it is quickly followed by yet another stressor. This state of chronic stress puts your adrenals on overdrive for extended periods of time, continuously flooding your body with cortisol until your adrenals can no longer keep up with the constant demand for more and more stress hormones, leaving you in a state of adrenal fatigue. This flooding and eventual plummeting of stress hormones has many negative impacts on the thyroid.
All of this, leaves me playing the guessing game of “Which Came First, The Chicken or the Egg”… or rather for me, “Which Came First, the High Cortisol Levels or the Autoimmune Conditions”; but I don’t think that there is any true way to ever figure out which caused what issue first, in terms of my body/conditions/symptoms. However, having even a basic understanding of all these functions and interconnections, I believe that is still imperative. It has driven me to varying options for trying to re-normalize my hormones and lessen unwanted symptoms – like the “3:30-4pm” ones that this entire article is supposed to be about, lol.
SO. To get back to the point. It has been 2 and a half years dealing with the “3:30-4p.m. Woes”. Even after I had worked past PPD a few months after my last birth, the lifestyle and dietary tweaks – were not enough to combat the mood and energy symptoms. I also have regularly had my thyroid levels checked which always come back within a good range.
I had given birth to Niko in Texas, and these symptoms were first activated while living there as well. So when we were presented with the opportunity to move back to Hawaii (the place in which we always felt peace) I had hoped that the move would be a changing factor in the “Woes”. But boy, oh, boy was I wrong!
The transition back to Hawaii, a place in which Santiago and I had called home for a decade as non-parents, had since changed in so many ways, and nontheless brought upon even more stressors. Overall, the “Woes” got worse, and Santiago’s new position was sending him out of the country even more!
So throughout the past year and a half, I was still seeking ways to combat the afternoon “Woes”, but was at most times just trying to tread water – because there has been SO. MUCH. happening, always.
At the start of this new year though, signs of relief started to appear. Our request to leave Hawaii was approved, and a new affiliation was born within my work as a blogger/writer. That affiliation is also the reason in which I can now say that I HAVE FINALLY CONQUERED THE “WOES”!!!!!!! The best part… is that the solution is COMPLETELY NATURALLY-DERIVED!!! It’s not a synthetic man-made chemical-laden pill that a physician throws my way to mask symptoms, but in the long term causes other issues… RATHER, it’s an herbal tincture formulated by an herbalist that I deeply respect and trust, Organic Olivia.
Now for the sake of being completely transparent, it wasn’t love at first use. No. You see, the first day that I took the “MOOD JUICE“, I made the mistake of taking it a few hours before that “3:30-4pm” timing and in return, thought that it did the opposite – made my mood even worse! Granted, I first took it on a day in which was just an all around horrible day + I had drank a strongly-caffeinated tea around the same time. It just wasn’t what I had hoped for, for my first time use at least. However, in reading all of the success stories from other users of MOOD JUICE, I was determined to find a way that it could help me, too! So I kept trying and kept tweaking the timing of when I would take it, and found that since it is SUCH A FAST ACTING supplement, that if I take it at the exact time I start to feel that shift in my day (the “Woes”), then it works absolutely PERFECTLY as a remedy!!!! Not only does it stop the bad mood from occurring or progressing, but it also gives me a natural boost of energy to finish my day off like a rockstar mom and wife!
My husband now comes home to the music blaring, dancing happening in the kitchen, food-smeared grins on the kids faces while they are finishing their dinner, and me not stressing about a little mess or all of the other things left to do in between! He asked me once, “Do they sell this Mood Juice by the gallon?” haha.
Let me share some more details about this MOOD JUICE, but first a necessary disclaimer:
“Depression is an extremely complex topic that often requires professional medical attention such as counseling or medication, and should be tackled from all angles including stress reduction techniques, talk therapy, diet, and exercise. There is no one quick fix or cure all, and this formula is not designed to be a magic pill.
Again, rather than being a ‘magic bullet,’ this formula is designed to calm, strengthen, and restore the entire nervous system, relieving anxiety and gently boosting mood over time. The goal is to soothe your nerves, help you think clearly and positively, and help you feel happier naturally.” – Organic Olivia
*Do not use mood juice if you’re on antidepressants and always talk to your doctor about potential interactions if you are taking any other pharmaceutical drugs. It contains St. John’s Wort, which can potentially make you more sensitive to the sun, so be mindful of excessive UV exposure while taking. Also, because this blend contains kava root, always ask your practitioner before use if you have a history of liver problems.
I am not a medical doctor, I am in no way giving medical advice or recommendations for you to take these supplements yourself. I am simply sharing my story. Your biological makeup differs and you should do your own research as well.
MOOD JUICE INFO:
this information is provided directly from the developer of the tincture.
THE HERBS + BENEFITS/
Each herb in this blend has been traditionally used as a natural anti-depressant or anxiolytic (anti-anxiety agent). Some are mood boosting, some are extremely calming and soothing, and others tonify and strengthen the nervous system to promote neurotransmitter health.
- ST. JOHN’S WORT
St. John’s Wort is considered an adaptogen and trophorestorative to the entire nervous system (meaning it helps to restore and rebuild the nerves over time). On it’s own, it is used to help address anxiety and nervous depression, as well as post natal depression. However, it is even more powerful when combined with other nervines in this blend such as lemon balm and skullcap. Herbalist Michael Moore considers St. John’s Wort wonderful “for people whose life has fallen apart and are having difficulty dealing with it. Depression from such a major shift is common and the herb can help until innate resources come back online.” Herbalist William LeSassier used St. John’s Wort together with lemon balm for mild depression with a digestive component, and taught that adding a companion herb such as this makes SJW more effective as an antidepressant. Herbalist David Winston recommends combining it with ginkgo leaf to increase brain energy and vitality, so if you also feel that you have low mental clarity or brain fog, you can combine this formula with Organic Olivia’s Brain Juice tincture.
- HOLY BASIL
Holy Basil, also known as Tulsi, is traditionally used in Ayurveda for low spirits, brain fog, anxiety, and mild depression. It is an adaptogen and nootropic that helps the body adapt to stress, increases oxygen intake, and promotes energy and endurance. Although it contains no caffeine or other stimulants, it is thought of as containing gentle stimulant properties that can help with motivation and drive. As adrenal fatigue can also contribute to depression, I added this herb to the blend to boost mood by way of supporting the adrenal glands and hormone production.
- LEMON BALM
Lemon balm is used to reduce anxiety, mild depression, nervousness and panic attacks. It also addresses “sympathetic excess” of the nervous system, where the adrenals are in overdrive. It is one of those nerve tonics that actually work to rebuild the nerves over time, which is extremely important in cases of long-standing depression or burnout. By increasing GABA levels, lemon balm was shown to reduce anxiety, increase calmness, and improve mood in rats via this study.
Skullcap is an extremely safe and reliable mild nervine that not only helps with anxiety, but insomnia as well. A double blind study where 15 women and 4 men took one of three types of skullcap preparations, proceeded to rate energy, cognition and anxiety at intervals for two hours thereafter – concluded with the researchers finding that it “demonstrated noteworthy anxiolytic [anti-anxiety] effects.” It is particularly useful for depression brought on by prolonged stress, illness or overwork.
- KAVA ROOT
Kava has been shown in more than a dozen placebo-controlled studies to be effective with good tolerability for treatment of generalized anxiety, with some evidence for stress, depression and insomnia. It is an extremely calming and comforting stress-reliever.
As the name suggests, motherwort has a calming energy like a big hug from mom. It is classified as a nervine herb, and is incredibly helpful for the type of anxiety where thoughts are racing and worries feel “pent up” in the body. Also in line with its famous name, motherwort is helpful for postpartum anxiety and melancholy felt by new mothers. It helps to ground you emotionally and improve clarity when you’re feeling lost.
HOW I USE IT:
I consider myself a newbie still when it comes to herbal medicine. So, I would rather take the drops mixed in water, than directly in to my mouth. I will add 1 entire dropper full of MOOD JUICE to a cup of water, and drink. I currently only take it to combat the hormonal shift that tends to occur on weekdays, but could also see myself utilizing it in times where I would need extra emotional support as well.
Furthermore, I have read success stories of people using MOOD JUICE for a wide array of other issues. GABA is a neurotransmitter that communicates messages between the brain and the central nervous system. There are a plethora of conditions that are directly related to low GABA production (anorexia, panic attacks, schizophrenia, ADHD, PMS/PMDD, etc.). MOOD JUICE is formulated with plants that specifically help to increase your own natural production of GABA, which can reportedly, in return, aid in the treatment of such conditions.
As Always, Thanks for Reading!
*Some Links are Affiliate Links, Opinions are My Own and 100% Authentic Testimony.