Must Know: Stress
What is Good Stress?
- It doesn’t last long. Typically the sensations from good stress are over in minutes or hours.
- It encourages you to accomplish a big goal or motivates you to get something done.
- It gives you a feeling of hopeful excitement and confidence.
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Stress?
- Constant feelings of worry or anxiety.
- Sensations of feeling overwhelmed and suffocated with pressure.
- A tough time concentrating.
- A short temper or regular feelings of irritability.
- Mood swings that can leave you feeling in one moment sad and then feeling excited and then angry.
- Abnormal eating habits, where you’re eating more or less than is normal for you.
- Struggling to relax and just hang out with friends and family.
- Ill health that can include sore muscles, aches, pains, stomach problems, frequent colds/flus, and a general feeling of not being well.
- Lethargy and exhaustion that can stop you from getting out of bed or doing activities that you enjoy.
- Irregular sleeping habits such as sleeping more, less, or erratically than is normal for you.
How to Reduce Stress
- Get some exercise. This can be a 15-minute walk, a dog walk, or floating in the water in a kayak or canoe – essentially anything you enjoy that puts a smile on your face. This exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or exhausting. This exercise should be something you enjoy and that allows you to relax your brain and get a change of scenery.
- Focus on relaxation. When you’re dealing with bad stress, your muscles naturally tighten and become painful. Think of your shoulders and recognize if they’re hunched up around your neck. Many people end up with a sore and tight lower back as a result of stress. Try some at home stretching, go to a relaxing Yin yoga class, take a hot shower, enjoy a relaxing bath with Epsom salts, or stretch out, close your eyes and take a nap.
- Take natural supplements. Stress impacts every part of your body, this includes your immune system, gastrointestinal system, endocrine system, nervous system, cardiovascular system, and respiratory system. Taking a natural supplement that supports immune system health can have trickle-down effects to the rest of your body, giving you the ability to heal and recover from stress-induced illness.
- Breathe. So often when we get stressed, we inadvertently hold our breathe or breathe erratically. Some deep full body breaths can do wonders to relax your mind and body. Sit or lie down, close your eyes, and take long slow breaths in and out.
- Eat the rainbow. We all have our favorite comfort foods that we turn to when we’re stressed. While these comfort foods are okay, it’s important to make sure you’re fueling your body with healthful fruits, vegetables, lean meats, dairy, beans, and fats. Do enjoy your favorites but remember to add a side salad with your macaroni and cheese or some celery sticks with your hamburger.
- Recognize the stressors. This can be very hard but if you can recognize what or who is causing you stress, you can take steps to make real change. This could mean disconnecting from social media, reducing your workload, asking for extra help with childcare, or taking a step back from negative relationships.