Stress. We all experience it. Sometimes it is from a positive event like a new job or moving into your dream home. Sometimes it is from something negative like illness, uncertainty or concern for a loved one.
Our bodies are well-designed to deal with short-term bouts of stress. Our adrenal glands produce chemicals that divert blood flow from the centre of our body (digestion) and send it to our extremities for mobilization.
We become alert and our attention widens to take in and assess more information from our surroundings.
Our nervous system switches into a state of hyper-vigilance and our minds and bodies are ready to take on whatever comes next.
All of these systems can be super helpful when we need to get through a short-term stressor and show up alert, in problem solving mode, energized and ready to act.
Things go awry when we remain in this state for long periods of time, with chronic concerns hanging over us that we feel powerless to resolve.
Our adrenal glands become exhausted from pumping out stress chemicals. Our nervous system becomes "stuck" in a state of fight, flight or freeze and our emotional well-being suffers.
We may have difficulty focusing or remembering. We may desire connection but feel totally overwhelmed by other peope. We may be exhausted but lay down to sleep and stare at the ceiling with a million thoughts on a continous loop playing in our minds.
When this happens, I recommend interventions to help encourage the nervous system back into a state or rest & digest, calm racing thoughts and support a healthy adaptive response to stress.
Three simple strategies to help women combat stress are:
1.) Box breathing. Inhale on a slow count of 4. Hold your beathe for 4 seconds. Exhale on a slow count of 4. This simple technique can help enourage the nervous system to shift into a relaxed state.
2.) Reduce caffeine. Before you get mad, I didn't say give up coffee! Keep your morning cup if you love it. But if you're into multiple caffeinated beverages per day, and consuming them well into the afternoon, start scaling back and notice if your anxiety, energy & sleep improve.
3.) Use a rememdy that will offer support & nourishment to the nervous system while keeping the mind calmly focused. My favourite is Adrenal Chill from CanPrev.
If you are experiencing the negative effects of stress on your mind or body and want help creating a strategy that can help you, reach out to us.