Friday, 14 November 2014

Strategies to deal with Stress

As we are moving to the end of the year, stress levels increase. What should we be giving to the different people in our lives, what to wear to Christmas functions, when we don’t fit into our best party dress, what to do for the holidays, and the list goes on.  Here are some interesting facts regarding stress:
  • Caffeine increases stress (and how often we resort to coffee when we are stressed)
  • Stress shrinks the memory centre of your brain
  • Stress makes you fat in the abdomen

Being stressed, fat and forgetful certainly do not seem to be a pleasant combination. 

Stress can affect each of us differently. Perhaps you are suffering from anxiety, feeling worried, depressed or irritable; even feeling exhausted and overwhelmed can indicate you are under stress. As well as affecting your ability to cope, stress may also be causing a disruption to your health. When under stress for a length of time, you may be more susceptible to tension headaches, high blood pressure, frequent colds and flus, digestive disorders or a worsening of an existing condition. So you can see, there are many reasons why it is so important to manage your stress now, before it starts impacting your health and wellbeing.

For most people, the dietary intake during periods of stress are also not the best.  It is often takeaway food on the go, or no food, or snacks all the time.  This does not help as the body is needing more nourishment but instead it is deprived of it.

Dietary and Lifestyle recommendations to distress include
  1. Deep, slow, breathing, making sure that on inhalation, the abdomen extends.
  2. Engage in some meditation, prayer or yoga daily to distress, unwind and refocus.
  3. Have some ‘me’ time, be it an aromatherapy bath, listening to music, knitting, reading or cooking, whatever you enjoy that makes you feel relaxed.
  4. Eat seasonally, organic where possible or fresh produce.  Make sure you include greens every day.  It does not have to be just eaten raw, it can be lightly cooked, stirfried, put into soups or juiced or blended in a smoothie.
  5. Have adequate good fats – fish, seeds, nuts, olive and coconut oil.
  6. Avoid excessive alcohol, caffeine, processed foods, additives and preservatives.
When you can differentiate between the different types of stress disorders, whether it is anxiety, worry, depression or irritability, the appropriate herbs can be selected to support the body’s response to stress. We offer a Natural Stress Less Program, if you have trouble destressing, talk to us about what we can help you with.

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