How does stress affect your health?
Throughout the month of April I'll be talking about different types of stress on our body, how it affects our health, and ways we can remove some of this stress. It might not always be a fun topic to talk about because we all know we have stress within our life and honestly it can become overwhelming thinking about it all...causing more stress.
In the last 3 months, I've had more moms come into the office saying they need to get their own health under control. There are common symptoms these moms are coming in with, which are, exhaustion, not sleeping, headaches, anxiety, and depression (just to name a couple). I get it, in the last year your life has been turned upside down and stress has been accumulating on your body. You are reaching the point of where the straw is or has broken the camel's back. In my world we call it allostatic load. The point where stress has accumulated over time and now your body is in extreme exhaustion. So let's talk about the different types of stress.
In my office I talk about 3 (sometimes 4) big stressors, which are physical, chemical, and emotional. The newest one added to the list has been technology. When we have too much stress on the body, we get pushed over the threshold and into dis-ease...meaning a body that is not working at ease. When this happens we start to feel different symptoms. Everyone's ability to handle stress is different. So let's break these stressors down.
Physical stress: This stressor is probably the most obvious...it's the stress of a fall, car accident, ect. But it also is the stress of sitting for long periods of time or constantly looking down at your phone. Our body wasn't made to sit for 8-12 hours a day...our body was made to move!
Chemical stress: This stressor is anything we put in and on our body that causes more stress for our body to filter through. So think processed foods, red dyes, increase caffeine or alcohol, the parabens in our beauty products, the chemicals in our drinking water. Honestly the list can go on and on. This is the list of things that can cause someone to feel more overwhelmed. So instead of trying to Marie Kondo every little thing, try sticking to one meal that is only whole foods. Or as you finish different personal care products, swap them out for something with less chemicals...later in the month I'll go through a few of the clean products I use!
Emotional stress: This is the big one that we often skip over but to be honest this is the most impactful. This can be the stress of being a mom, work emails, the new schedules 2020 brought about, and honestly juggling life. Taking time for self care is extremely important. Taking a day off of work to go to the spa is important. If your cup is empty, you cannot fill up your kiddos cup. I say this because I have this conversation with too many moms who have vacation days but don't take a day to themself...and I don't mean to do laundry or clean.
So now that I've unloaded all the stressors...what can you do!
1. Add in some things that move you off the gas pedal side of life to the brake pedal, such as, chiropractic care, massage, exercise, acupuncture, and meditation.
2. Take time for yourself. If you enjoy taking a bath, going to get a massage, quiet walks, whatever that might be that brings you joy and calmness...schedule it in!
3. Swap out some processed foods for whole foods!
4. Swap out products that have more chemicals to ones that have less.
5. Add in an evening route to prepare you for the next day. I always hear about how important morning routines are but honestly I've found that my evening routine of what needs to be completed the next day is so much more beneficial.
Everyone handles stress differently so take things at your own pace. When I chat with patients about their stress we always talk about their symptoms, their goals, and run a neurological scan. The scan shows us if you are living on the gas pedal or brake pedal side of life, how deep the stress might be, and where the tension is coming from. The goal is always to help remove the tension/stress off the body so that you have enough room to adapt to life's stressors and move into the healing phase!