Even when you’re feeling pressured and stressed there are still small, practical steps you can take to cope with that stress and stay healthy.
Often when we are stressed our health gets affected because we don’t always make the best choices, or put ourselves first, in those situations – and not being at our best, healthwise makes it harder to cope with the stressful situation and the impact it has! It’s a vicious cycle and one that can at times seem impossible to break!
The truth is that first, it is important to acknowledge stress so you can reduce it or cope with it a little better.
Think of it like aiming for a 1% improvement….you may not be able to change the stressors in your life, but if you can manage the impact on your body 1% better, then you’ll stay healthier and more able to handle the stress.
I’m the first person to pretend that stress is no big deal, so if you’re like me, then the two of us need to have a “Come to Buddha” moment and get real about how stress IS affecting our bodies….
● Stress increases cortisol production associated with weight gain (especially in the belly), an inability to lose weight or gain muscle and premature ageing
● Stress decreases nutrient absorption due to decreased enzymatic production from the stomach, pancreas and liver and decreased bile flow from the gallbladder
● Stress decreases gut flora populations by destroying healthy intestinal bacteria and can lead to immune problems, skin disorders, nutrient deficiencies, and digestive distress
● Stress increases salt retention which can lead to high blood pressure
● Stress decreases the thyroid hormone which can negatively affect your metabolism
But you’re not reading this just to talk about problems, you’re reading to find solutions! So read on…
Remember, since we can’t always control the stress in our lives, the goal is to reduce our experience of stress by even 1%.
Here’s how you can do that, starting NOW:
● Look at your calendar for the next 7 days. What’s one activity you’ve committed to that you can cancel?
● Look at your to-do list. What’s one item you can delegate to someone else in the next 24 hours?
● Consider your schedule today. Where can you fit in 20 minutes for yourself —where you’re not taking care of anyone else or being “productive”—so you can just relax and do something mindless?
● Look at your calendar for tomorrow. Where can you fit in a 10-minute walk or a bit of downtime? The fresh air and movement will help you cope way better with stress, and switching off may help you see things differently.
● Before your next meal, try what I call the “5-5-7” breath. Inhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 7. Repeat at least 3 times. This gives your body a chance to relax before your meal, which will increase your digestive capacity and help your body pull more nutrients from the food you’re eating.
If you feel too stressed to relax, and you KNOW it’s affecting your health, your weight and your energy levels, then drop me a line to discuss how health coaching can help.
I’ve helped clients solve this problem, and chances are very good that I can help you, too.