How To Determine If Its Actual Stress, Or Just Life

An at Home Cortisol Test Can Save The Day​

An At Home Cortisol Test Can Save The Day

When it comes to stress, modern humans have found ways to include it in almost every aspect of life, from work life and family events to strolls around the neighborhood and vacations. It’s almost as if we’re addicted to stress, even though we know it’s bad for us. We’re so hooked on stress that we’ve organized it into categories. And cortisol, the “stress hormone,” doesn’t necessarily differentiate between the kinds of stress. It’s happy to be there for all of them.

Acute Stress Is Not So Cute (Unless Its A Pittie In Some Jammies)

Acute stress is short-lived, like when your neighbor’s barrel-chested pit bull escapes the yard and starts running your way while the dog parent is screaming at them to come back, but then you see the dog is in pajamas and realize he just wants to make a new friend.

We Believe In You Too, But Seriously, Demand The Raise

Chronic stress is ongoing, like when your boss keeps giving you work that is meant to be done by someone with a different area of focus but thinks telling you they believe in you is enough motivation when really a raise (or the threat of being fired) is the only thing that will inspire you to do it properly.

Stop Throwing Around The "P" Word

Traumatic stress is life-threatening and, as the name suggests, traumatic. PTSD is a word thrown around far too easily these days, but it is caused by actual traumatic stress like war or sexual assault. PTSD does not include that slight bit of panic every time you pull into the Starbucks drive-thru because of that one time they didn’t have the caramel syrup for your five work orders.

Cortisol Hormone At The Ready

What is important to know is that your body releases cortisol when it feels any of these stress types.

You Can Have Too Much Of A Good Thing

Cortisol is one of the steroid hormones that help suppress inflammation and affects your metabolism and sleep cycles while also helping your body regulate its stress response, blood pressure, and blood sugar. Symptoms of high cortisol levels can include rapid weight gain (have you heard the phrase cortisol belly?), high blood pressure, changes to your skin, muscle weakness, increased thirst and frequent urination (although doesn’t the first logically lead to the second?), and anxiety, depression or irritability (so…parenting).

Is It Cortisol Or Life Choices?

None of those are pleasant symptoms to have. Thankfully there are at home cortisol test to determine if that belly is growing due to high cortisol levels or if it’s just the pizza, beer, and ice cream every Monday, Wed, and Friday nights. (It is a yummy combination, but three times a week is a bit much.) Perhaps those daily naps you must take to get through the rest of the day aren’t just the product of having two children under two but also the stress of chasing, feeding, and soothing little humans most hours of the day.

Cortisol Testing Doesn't Sound So Bad Now

At home cortisol test are simple, and most only ask for a saliva sample. While it may look gross while you’re collecting it, think of some other at-home tests and what kinds of human material they require (insert poop emoji here.) To learn more about at home cortisol test kits, check out this article:

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