Hello there you!
Are you feeling stressed? What are the signs when it raises it’s ugly head for you? Are you feeling tired, are you going through massive changes in your life at present? You probably have so much going on in your mind at the moment. Juggling way too many balls, would that be right?
According to the Mental Health Foundation UK, over 74% of adults have felt stressed and overwhelmed in 2021 (this is no surprise with COVID). A high figure to the amount dealing with stress.
There really are so many contributing factors to raising those stress levels. I know myself when stress hits – as those palpitations start as I’m about to fall asleep at night, my head is full of worry and I struggle to relax (avoid Caffeine or keep it a minimum) However, stress can work in your favour throughout certain times of your life. Should it be right before an exam, reaching a work deadline, running a marathon or situations where you need to be focused (Smith, 2022). Stress could help you during these times as you want to perform at your best (Smith, 2022). But, it’s learning how to manage stress levels and to be aware.
So what is stress and what are the triggers?
It’s when your body goes into the fight and flight mode and as a result your cortisol levels go way way up. Cortisol is the main stress hormone and works with certain parts of your brain to control your mood (webmd). It also increases blood sugar and regulates blood pressure.
Do you have a poor diet? Are you an overthinker? A perfectionist that compares yourself to others?What is your working environment and relationships like? Are you sleep deprived? All these tend to make you more prone to stress (Oh I can tick quite a few myself but I’ve learned how to manage those levels and to recognise the signs)
Oh do I know when I’m stressed as I feel irritable, tired and just not myself. And, I always crave that chocolate, or junk food in general (and that raises those blood sugars to a high level) I always get a head cold and those beautiful little bad boys called ‘cold sores’ always make an appearance too! I know it’s time to slow down and look after my own body when I get all these symptoms. Getting a proper nights sleep really is the key!
So how do you manage stress?
- Exercise regularly as it regulates blood sugar and lowers those cortisol levels (even a long walk in nature or a swim. It doesn’t have to be strenuous)
- Plenty of early nights (aim for at least 7 hrs)
- Eat healthy foods i.e fruits, green leafy veg, eggs, yoghurt, wholemeal instead of white. Nuts, meat and oily seafood
- Take a b vitamin
- Journal and write it out
- Avoid caffeine just before bed and limit the amount you take throughout the day
- Take a break from social media if it affects your mood as that can be a big one (very guilty of that myself but I’m aware of it and have cut way down).
- Breathing exercises are a great tool for pausing and to reconnect with yourself. Inhale deeply through the nose for 3 secs, exhale slowly through the mouth for 4 secs (give it a try)
Long term problems
Stress really can take it’s toll on the body, making the risks higher for hypertension, stroke, heart failure, digestive problems and many, many other problems (mayoclinic)
Listen to your body
Check in with yourself
For a more stress free life
You owe it your body and mind
If you are feeling stressed at the moment (oh there is so much going on in the world it really is inevitable at times to feel highly stressed and overwhelmed) take a step back, look at your diet, changes that are going on in your life and remember: REST, SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE are all key to reducing stress and controlling your cortisol levels.
You owe it to your body and yourself.
How are your stress levels at present?
Be kind to yourself!