It is a fact: we all deal with stress. Stress can come from any area of our lives. And it can arrive at different levels, and in different ways. But, for the most part, we feel stress in our bodies and our minds.
There are 1001 ways stress shows itself. Some of the most recognized ways are:
- low energy
- joint aches
- back pain
- increased or decreased appetite
- tense muscles
- upset stomach, bad digestion
- rapid heart beat
- depression, anxiety, panic attacks
- lowered libido
- feeling frustrated, moody, overwhelmed
But we all have our own quirks when it comes to stress, too. What ways does stress show up in your life? I sometimes can’t find the words I want or I feel like I want to go in a padded room and scream (and then sleep).
The standard definition of stress is when we feel (whether it’s correct or not) that we cannot meet the demands of what we are being asked to do. Whether that’s work stuff, or kid stuff, or marriage stuff, or even ‘me being better’ stuff. The point of overwhelm is the point of stress.
Stress may initially take its form on the mind, but all those thoughts turn into emotions which turn into chemicals and hormones cascading through your body. These hormones and chemicals can take a toll on your body. So here are some ways to repair that damage and help your body handle the stress of your mind a bit better.
Take Your Bs
B vitamins are a category of nutrients that your body basically flushes right out of you when you’re stressed. Pretty much every time. I always find it strange that the body dumps these vitamins from the system pretty rapidly, because they aid metabolism, improve cellular function, and improve nervous function- all the things we would be needing when we’re stressed! Women also lose B vitamins if they are on the birth control pill.
If you’re stressed, you’re probably low in B vitamins. Grab a B-complex (cuz it’s got all the B vitamins in one pill!) and take as directed.
Reduce Caffeine, Alcohol, and Sugar
I know! I’m taking away all your fun! Not really, though. I don’t want you to get rid of them completely, just take it down a notch. All three of those things are reasonably well documented in making stress worse by decreasing sleep, increasing cortisol, and making your system run on “wired…tired…wired…tired” energy.
Reduce each of these by 50% and I can almost (almost!) guarantee you’ll feel better. Except the first three days of less coffee, those days are gonna suck. But after? Yeah, much better.
Hydrate, baby. Your body needs enough water – via water, fruit, veggies, tea – to clear out all the used and not-so-healthy stuff. We talked about what healthy pee looks like last week, and that’s what you want. Being adequately hydrated is also likely to help you feel more awake and be less likely to over eat on sugar and other simple carb treats. (Okay, but I am all about the occasional treats- a gal has got to have a little fun!)
Most of the women I know feel like they can finally get some ‘me’ time at about 9:30 at night. And then we (I include myself in this because I still have to fight myself on it sometimes) stay up past our bedtime because it’s nice to have that time. And then we feel tired the next day because: not enough sleep. Who knew?
Get a bit of downtime. And also get to bed on time. Your whole system will feel like it got a makeover if you get enough sleep, seriously.
Yeah, if and when you can, find the things that help you de-stress. Getting those stress hormones out of your system is good for you- your mind and body. Exercise, meditation, quiet reading, staring out the window, guided meditations, a walk at lunch time, a hot bath, journalling, a gratitude journal- any of these can help.
Stress is pretty much unavoidable these days. But if you’re having prolonged stress, even low-level prolonged stress, your body is going to show it. Try using something from this tool box- just one thing!- and see where it takes you. I hope this helps.