I'm just stressed...no big deal! Or is it?
The end of the year has quickly come upon us, and with that comes work deadlines, work breakups and planning for Christmas.
It can be an overwhelming time of year, and stress levels can be at an all-time high. But what is stress? And what is it really doing to our bodies? What can we do to help manage stress?
WHAT IS STRESS?
Stress is our bodies natural reaction to a stressor that brings about change to its internal balance, or homeostasis. For short periods of time stress can be beneficial. For example, you may have heard of the “fight and flight” response. Your brain tells your body to release hormones called adrenaline and cortisol. This in turn increases your heart rate, blood pressure and blood sugar. It also diverts blood into your muscles. This allows your body to respond to the stressor. When the stressor is no longer deemed a danger, your body should return to its balanced state.
This is all great in theory. However, in the fast-paced lives we live today, we are constantly bombarded by stressors and our bodies can be forever in a stressed state. This can take a toll on your overall health and wellbeing.
WHAT ARE THE LONG-TERM EFFECTS OF STRESS?
Cardiovascular issues, including high blood pressure and increase risk or heart attack at stroke
Headaches and muscle tension
Image courtesy of https://drwilsons.com
WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP MANAGE STRESS?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support
Maintain a healthy diet - try to minimise consumption of caffeine and alcohol
Aim for 7 - 8 hours of sleep each night
Exercise and stretch regularly (whatever makes you feel better - it doesn’t have to be full on)
Practice mindfulness (including social media and device disconnection)
Get a treatment. Releasing tension in the body with massage and Osteopathic techniques can help to calm the nervous system.
If you would like to learn more ways to manage stress levels Caitlin and Sharelle are more than happy to help.
In the meantime, here is a breathing technique to get you started 😊
1. Lie on you back with your knees bent and your hands on your abdomen.
2. Breathe in through your nose, feeling your stomach push out against your hands. Count slowly to 5 as you inhale.
3. Hold your breath and count to 3.
4. Breathe out gently and feel your stomach move away from your hands, again counting slowly to 5.
5. Continue for 5 - 10 minutes.