What is Stress and how does it affect us?

Stress is such a buzz word. How often do you say or hear someone else say “I’m stressed”
But what is it?
Stress is perceived differently by different people and what is stressful for one person may be an exciting challenge for someone else. Some people thrive on being super busy, juggling & multi tasking whereas someone else may only be able to do one thing at a time in order to avoid feeling stressed & overwhelmed. We are all different and have different perceptions and coping mechanisms and there are times when we can cope with having all the balls in the air ?‍♀️and others when we want to hide away from it all.

Stress can serve a purpose in short bursts, Our bodies are programmed with the ‘fight or flight response’ which is a primitive response that we have from being Cavemen running from a wild animal. When we feel stressed our body reacts by releasing adrenaline and cortisol which increases blood flow to our vital organs and muscles in anticipation of us having to face our stressor or flee. This can result in increased blood pressure & affect blood sugar levels. So you can see that the system works well in this situation or any when we have to be sharply aware and react to something quickly.
However when the stress response kicks in, other systems of the body, such as our digestive and reproductive systems are suppressed as they aren’t needed to deal with our stress. As a result of this, we may have symptoms like acid reflux/ indigestion, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting as well as menstrual problems and ultimately difficulty conceiving.
The reality of our modern lives is that we are constantly exposed to these stress hormones as we tend to take on too much, without allowing adequate time for rest and relaxation, allowing the hormones to work their way out of our bodies and to reset the balance. This is known as Chronic stress and can have serious implications for our health.

So What can we do about it?

?Take some time out of each day to rest/switch off, even if its small amounts at first,if it doesn’t come naturally to you. Do something you really enjoy, just for you – A good book, a cup of tea in the sunshine, a relaxing bath…..??

?Make sure you are eating a nutritious diet and drink plenty of water. The food we eat directly affects how we feel and how we cope with stress. ????

?Get some form of physical activity. Exercise is as good for our minds as it is our body. I hate running and I can’t run far at all but there is nothing like the feeling I get afterwards, much more upbeat for the day. You might prefer a good walk, a swim or an exercise class, it doesn’t matter as long as it gets you moving and you enjoy it. (OK not so much about the running for me but find something you enjoy and you will want to do it more often)?‍♀️?️‍♀️?‍♀️??‍♀️

?Get out in nature, whether it’s out in your garden or a walk on the beach, It has been proven that this is good for our Mental health and who doesn’t feel calmer when surrounded by Nature’s beauty. ?️?️?️?

?Have a Reflexology treatment (when government restrictions are lifted) which helps to take stress away from the body by focusing on balancing the endocrine system and allowing hormones to normalise and the body to ‘rest and digest’ instead of ‘fight or flight’.?
And if the feet aren’t for you Massage, Reiki or another relaxing therapy or treatment, it’s all time for you away from your busy life. How many of you have a haircut booked now that you can? That’s ‘me time’ too. ?‍♀️

?Have a catch up with your friends. Even if you can’t have the usual get together yet, just a phone call to your bestie, to share your troubles & laughs can make you feel so much better.❤️

?Make sure you get a good night sleep. We underestimate the importance of sleep but is essential for a fully functioning mind and body. Have a regular bedtime routine, take time to unwind, put down those devices, find a way to relax like a nice bath, camomile tea or some meditation, should all help you to sleep better. Lavender has relaxation properties so if you have any in your garden to use or you can get lavender spray for your bedding. ?

Above all Be Kind to yourself, take off the pressure, does that ironing really need to be done? (Not in my house it doesn’t ?) Can anyone else help with the chores? Do things have to be perfect? Give yourself a break, it will do you good!

Claire x

©2021 Claire Burchnall

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