If you feel stressed during these unusual times, you’re not alone. How can you support your body and find balance when your home, your work, and current events instantly put you on edge?
In today’s world, we find ourselves worrying about the future, living in the past and not being present in the now. Can you remember a more stressful time than now? So how are you dealing with all this stress? What does your body do when put under all this pressure and how can you support it? Let’s find out what stress type you are and then the answer will become easy!
A moderate amount of stress can be beneficial; it can motivate us to change our situation, finish a project on time and it brings about growth and change in life. In contrast, chronic stress is hard for your body to deal with and leads to inflammation, severe health concerns and illness.
Our ability to adapt to stress is regulated by the adrenal glands, which are located on top of the kidneys and secrete ‘stress’ hormones. Stress hormones include cortisol and adrenaline.
Types of stress responses
There are a few types of stress responses and these are dependent on the amount and the duration of time that you’ve been under stress.
We’ve broken them down into 5 types:
Occasional Stress—this is the anticipatory normal stress response to life challenges, symptoms are milder and less frequent, and often include; feeling overwhelmed, cry easily, get hot flashes, forget to eat, get wound up when tired and have trouble calming down. Digestively, things slow down and constipation can be an issue along with mouth sores.
Worried—is more acute stress that affects the emotional and physical states. This would include symptoms of worrying about big and small things, feeling ready to explode, muscle spasms (eye twitches are common), lying awake thinking about the day’s events and what needs to get done tomorrow.
Wired—is a result of excess exposure to acute stress hormones. Usually some of the previous issues of worrying, unable to fall asleep are happening along with cravings for salty foods, dark circles under the eyes, and more muscle and joint pains appear. Diarrhea can also be an issue.
Mentally Fatigued—when chronic stress goes on for a long time, we stop producing so much cortisol and we enter the “burnout” phase. This leads to poor concentration, feeling like you get easily distracted, have trouble organizing your thoughts, feeling depressed or apathetic and oversleeping becomes more common, along with waking up and still feeling tired or unrefreshed.
Tired—On top of feeling mentally fatigued, our last stage of burnout includes feeling tired for no reason, depression, difficulty to concentrate enough to complete a task, sweat spontaneously during the day, feeling puffy and retaining fluids, poor muscle tone and difficulty losing weight.
Digestion is poor and getting colds and flu are common.
So where are you on this list?
We can help
As Naturopathic Doctors, we make an assessment of adrenal function with in-office testing of blood pressure and with urine hormone testing, along with your symptoms.
We have an array of adrenal support products that include herbs, glandulars, B vitamins and homeopathics for your type of stress response and stage of adrenal dysfunction you are in.
If you’re experiencing increased issues due to stress, be sure to come in so that we can help support your body to recover quickly.
At home, here are some things to keep your adrenals healthy!
Have a routine. Keep a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends. Ideally, go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday. Get to sleep before midnight because every hour of sleep before midnight is worth 2 hours after midnight. Aim for 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night in a dark room, it helps you produce more melatonin, that will naturally decrease your cortisol.
Play or do something fun everyday.
Laughter is essential for stress management.
Go on vacations or stay-cations.
Daily movement or exercise or at least 20-45 minutes, 2 to 3 times per week.
Eliminate caffeine, or decrease to only having caffeine in the morning.
Use prescribed herbal medicines, homeopathy and B-vitamins from a health professional.
Incorporate reminders to breathe such as the“Blue Dot Stress Buster Program”
Place blue stickers in areas where you frequently look (ie. car steering wheel, computer, microwave clock), every time you see a blue dot, take 2 deep breaths.
Journaling assists with expression of emotion and increases self-awareness.
Music helps manage stress, listen to your happy song or a meditation/relaxation track daily.
Incorporate spiritual practices into your daily life to assist in the ability to remain in the present moment. These include meditation, qi gong, yoga, tai chi, breath work and prayer.
If you are feeling particularly stressed, anxious, exhausted or suffer from insomnia or adrenal fatigue; it is important to consult with a professional to assist with these health concerns so that you may bring more balance into your life and ultimately enjoy it.
Dr. Rebecca Sagan, ND and Dr. Hajnalka Pinter, ND