Chronic stress, burnout, adrenal fatigue - sound familiar?!
It's estimated that up to 80% of doctors visits are due to stress...
Symptoms of chronic stress can include: - feeling on edge, unable to relax, irritable - trouble falling asleep, early morning waking - fatigue - recurrent infections - muscle pain/tension - unexplained weight gain - blood sugar spikes and crashes - craving carbs or sugar - missed or irregular periods - racing heart or palpitations
( please see your doctor if any of these are new or severe, to rule out other causes)
I covered how stress affects the body in my last post - this one is how to manage it!!
Diet can have a big impact, things that help include : - eating balanced meals with adequate protein and healthy fat (balances blood sugar) - including complex carbs (reduces cortisol and helps gut health) ie wholegrains, legumes - avoiding refined carbs and added sugar (exacerbates blood sugar issues, fatigue and cravings and adds to inflammation) - limiting alcohol and caffeine - whole plant foods (contain magnesium and b vitamins, both of which can help reduce stress levels) - fermented foods and prebiotic foods (improve gut health and may reduce stress levels) - time restricted eating (not eating after 7pm for 12-16h), may counteract effect of cortisol and reduce inflammation - green tea /matcha may also help
- I'll be covering diet and stress in more detail in a future post, so watch this space!
Practical ways to reduce stress include : - gentle exercise (reduces cortisol and adrenaline, relieves muscle tension, improves vagus nerve function)
- time in nature (reduces cortisol by up to 60%) - switching off screen
s (these create microstress due to constant stimulation) - setting boundaries ie clear times for work /home , and saying no - prioritising sleep (sleep deprivation raises cortisol, worsens fatigue and cravings) - practicing self compassion - deep breathing (switches off 'fight or flight') - writing down stressors creates a feeling of control, and helps you prioritise and manage them - make a list of what makes you feel relaxed, and try doing something daily - meditation (changes brain function,meaning it reacts less to stress). Walking meditation is great if you find it hard to sit still
These tips may all sound too simple, but combined can be highly powerful in reducing both symptoms of stress, and in improving future resilience to stress
If you arent sure where to start, try picking one thing to focus on at a time - try incorporate this into your daily life for 2-3 weeks, then reassess where you're at
If you feel good, then stick with this. If its helped but you still feel stressed, try choosing another thing to add
The small steady stepwise approach means you are far more likely to keep up new habits longterm, and far less likely to get overwhelmed and quit
If you are suffering from stress, I challenge you to trial some changes for a month and see how you feel - theres nothing to lose :-)