As we head into a second year of new normals, and as our stress levels continue to rise, more of us find ourselves searching for new ways to naturally support our mental, emotional and physical health.
In the short term, we recognize the familiar signs of stress, like tension headaches, a racing heart and an upset stomach. But did you know that long-term exposure to stress can be linked to serious health issues? While our minds and bodies are designed to adapt to temporary periods of high pressure, if it lasts for weeks or months, stress can become overwhelming and lead to a range of serious symptoms, including:
- hormone disruption
- weight gain
- disturbances to sleeping and eating patterns
- anxiety and depression
- blood sugar swings
- changes in mental focus and alertness
Over time, unmanaged stress can impact our well being even further - damaging our immune systems, digestion, and cardiovascular health, sometimes leading to serious complications and disease.
Getting to the Root of Stress
The sources of stress fall into a few key categories. It may be physical (over-exertion, working long hours, lack of sleep), chemical (overly processed foods, exposure to chemicals in the home or workplace, prescription and recreational drugs), or emotional (strained relationships, social isolation, changes in financial situation).
There are a number of ways to tackle feelings of burnout and stress. And the sooner you make it a priority to address them at their root, the better you’ll feel – both physically and mentally.
Here are some suggestions from our Healthtree Wellness Advisors:
- Sleep: By the end of a busy day, it can be difficult to settle in for the night and get restful sleep, especially if you still have a to-do list as long as your arm. You can break a bad cycle by scheduling enough rest each night to allow you to wake up feeling energized and restored. If recent changes in your home or work routine is making restful sleep a challenge, we suggest Natural Factors Tranquil Sleep formula, because its formula includes a combination of Melatonin, L-Theanine and 5HTP that helps you sleep soundly without any groggy feeling the next day.
- Clean Eating: During stressful periods, it’s easy for bad dietary habits to slowly creep in. Whether it’s too many coffees, skipping meals or reaching for sweets when your energy level drops in the afternoon, how well you are able to handle stress can be directly related to how well you are nourished. A diet that focuses on colourful produce, variety and moderation is the key. Look for ways to add more nutrients to your meals, and limit or eliminate refined carbohydrates, sugar, and alcohol.
- Exercise is extremely beneficial for helping to relax the body and mind. Any aerobic activity is helpful – even during colder weather, a brisk walk around the block can help to let off some steam and reduce anxiety. At the same time, look for an activity that’s recreational and fun that you’ll look forward to and that will help you get outside each day! On days you can’t get outside, try to fit in a stretching routine or an online exercise program that can be adapted to suit your schedule and lifestyle.
- Proper Breathing: Deep breathing circulates more oxygen throughout your body, which is the most immediate way to minimize the effects of stress. Take 5 minutes each day to practice abdominal breathing (check that you’re doing it correctly by expanding your belly as you inhale), especially at times during the day when you feel like you need a pick-me-up — you’ll be amazed at how quickly your breathing can change how you feel!
- Supplement with Gaba: Gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is a natural calming agent that can be thought of as the “breaking system” of the brain. When we become overwhelmed with stress, the brain typically responds by producing more GABA - essentially, pumping the brakes on a mind that’s going too fast. GABA works by increasing the production of alpha brain waves (associated with a relaxed, yet alert state) and decreasing production of beta brain waves (associated with nervousness, scattered thoughts, and hyperactivity). Overall, this leads to enhanced mental focus and improved relaxation without drowsiness. Look for a superior sourced Pharma Gaba like Stress-Relax 100% Natural GABA
People are understandably feeling more “stressed-out” than normal. But if you’re feeling the strain, you don’t have to let stress run your life. Change or eliminate what you can and take steps to protect yourself from what you can’t. Click here to find a whole range of natural help for stress that’s within reach.