The Pandemic has brought on a level of stress that I have not seen before with patients. And even though mask wearing and social distancing have become a norm there is even more stress this year than normal. Managing stress (with self care, sleep, exercise, etc) is the key to controlling our body’s physical response to stress which can keep us healthier and happier in the future. Without proper management too much stress can lead to an increase in colds, sleep deprivation and fatigue.
The body is made to handle short bursts of stress, such as Cavemen who ran from a dinosaur or had to kill their dinner. The longer, sustained stress that is very common in our face-paced society has a tendency to wear out the small adrenal glands that supply the body with the necessary hormones to manage stress appropriately.
When the adrenals are working during high stress they make an increased amount of cortisol which, over time, can produce symptoms of anxiety, difficulty sleeping and weight gain. After longer periods of stress the adrenal glands become weak and have difficulty keeping up with the demand of higher amounts of cortisol. In this case the body can have signs of decrease in energy, depressed moods and hair loss or thinning.
There are simple ways to prevent stress from having an adverse effect on your body. Here are some tips to help manage stress:
- Do NOT change your exercise routine. Moderate (not too intense) exercise helps relieve stress and is often what falls by the way side with stress. Exercise 5 days per week for 30 minutes for optimal stress release
- Eat 7-9 fruits and vegetables. These foods are anti-inflammatory and will help decrease the overall amount of stress that on your body
- Simple, but amazingly effective. Breathe in 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breathe out 4 seconds. Repeat 4 times in one setting, 4 times per day
- Take time to rest. Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night. If you have difficult falling or staying asleep talk to your health care provider for natural remedies to help with these symptoms or try our DHB Sleep formula for a little help from the plants.
- Set limits to how much you can take on in your life, creating boundaries around what would cause too much stress
- Decrease the amount of alcohol and caffeine in your diet as these can contribute to internal stress
Stress management takes a little time and consideration but practicing daily can be the difference between overwhelm and calm. Try some of our HAPPY tea to go along with your rituals to support your moods and take a bite out of stress.