Holiday Complications: Stress and the Body, Part One
For most of you the holidays are stressful. For some it is good stress, and for others is it difficult stress. Stress isn't necessarily a bad thing. It's there to help motivate you to solve a problem. If we didn't stress, there would be no movement; however, there comes a time when too much stress can immobilize you and have the opposite effect of the the intended emotion.
We were not meant to live in stress constantly, so of course there can be negative effects on your body when the stress goes on for long periods of time, both physical and emotional. For example, it is not uncommon for those with chronic stress to develop headaches, stomachaches, fatigue, increased risk for getting sick or developing other chronic conditions, anxiety, depression, etc.
So what can you do to avoid this, or at the very least take steps to manage it when you notice it is happening?
You can take care of yourself in the following ways:
Getting enough sleep: our body needs sleep in order to recharge. Without it, we are not functioning at our best. Not getting enough sleep can even intensify stress, anxiety, and depression.
Proper nutrition: food is the gasoline to our car. Without it, we do not have enough energy to move forward. When we are busy and stressed, we tend to eat the things that are easiest, which aren't always the most nutritious.
Exercise: it is proven that exercise has a positive effect on our mental health and physical health, yet it is the first thing that goes when we are stressed out because of the time it takes to do it.
Breathing/Mindfulness: being in a constant state of stress can make it difficult to find relief. When we don't make time to be present, it can increase our level of stress significantly.
Bottom line: set aside at least 5 minutes every day to do something for yourself that gives to you rather than takes from you. Next blog in the series will give some examples of how to fit these four things into your life in an easier way.