The car breaks down, the kids are sick and you have to scramble for a sitter or take the day off, there’s talk of layoffs at work, you have more bills than budget, you spend more time with your smart phone than your family, crisis management at the office is the new normal, you work with or for a difficult person, your garden is full of weeds …
It’s a pretty long list and it keeps getting longer. This low-level hum has a physiological consequence because your body interprets these minor nuisances as threats. After a prolonged amount of time, you start to feel like you’re constantly under attack.
Part of the problem is cortisol levels stay elevated. That means your body is prepped for “fight or flight” but no action is being taken. Over time, the stress begins to take it’s toll and a variety of symptoms start to surface.
There are things you can do to fortify your health and keep stress at a manageable level:
- Limit coffee or caffeinated beverages. If you do use caffein, try green tea and take advantage of the health promoting benefits like antioxidants and regulation of glucose levels. If you’re a coffee lover, eat something or drink water with lemon before having your coffee to help create a more friendly environment in your stomach.
- Set an alarm for half an hour before the busiest part of your day and take five minutes to breathe deeply. Breathe in to the count of one and out to the count of two. If possible, close your eyes. Try this for 21 days so it becomes part of your daily routine. Studies have shown the three deep breaths can lower stress levels.
- Get a good night’s sleep. Shut down computers, television and smart phones at least 30 minutes before bed. The light emitted from these devices mimics natural light which can overstimulate and encourage the body to stay awake.
- Exercising 30 to 60 minutes a day lowers cortisol. If you don’t have a lot of time, try the new Focus T25 offered by Beachbody. It offers both low and high impact options in a 25 minute program five days a week.
- Try taking a supplement like Bach Rescue Remedy or Cortisol Calm by Pure Encapsulations to help reduce stress naturally.
Stress is a natural part of life. But it doesn’t have to run your life. If you’d like to learn more about stress reduction, please visit our website. Be well.
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