Your stress first aid kit

Posted by Karen in Life Coaching tips

It’s often said that stress is actually good for us but it’s important not to confuse stress with stimulation

Keeping active, mentally and physically is absolutely essential for good health. But a prolonged states of stress can leave us feel drained and little alive.

So, what is stress? We talk more about stress than we talk about happiness and we feel stressed more often than happy, calm and relaxed. So what’s going on?!

As primitive beings, we lived outdoors, in nature. We needed to protect ourselves from all sorts of dangers, in particular wild animals. Our bodies are built to deal with heightened states when there is real danger, risk or crisis. That’s when adrenaline is pumped around our body, helping us to react fast to whatever is happening to us. But we’re built to deal with this only occasionally.

When we spend most of our life in a state of heightened alertness or stress however, with adrenaline pumping around our bodies all the time, our hormone balance becomes disrupted and cannot return to its normal state even when, for example, at the weekend our stress level drops. We then find it hard to wind down and to ground ourselves. We enter a vicious circle that is very difficult to break.

To find relief and to make matters worse we lean towards a cup of coffee, a glass of wine in the evening, chocolate and comfort food which increases our blood sugar and as a result we’re left feeling permanently tired, bad tempered, depressed, jumpy, restless, we may suffer from insomnia too.

Stress First Aid kit:

There are many things we can do to help us relax and to calm down; to live a more balanced life. Here are some that I have found useful and that work:

  • Notice when something is causing you stress
    The fact you recognise when something is causing stress is the beginning of changing it. Look for symptoms in your body, such as tensing in your belly and shoulders, frustration, irritability, compulsive thinking.
  • Catch it early
    Stress reactions can speed up and fire off very quickly. The longer they go on, the more difficult they are to work with.
  • Do something!
    This may mean you need to stop what you are doing and do something else – stop shouting, stop working on your computer, stop getting up at night when you lie in bed feeling anxious. Bring your mind into your body, notice your feet, legs and belly and take a few deeper breaths. This is an immediate antidote for anxiety and tension.
  • Doing less and allowing more me-time/time at home
    I have an intention for this year to have more weeks with two or more evenings at home to rest and relax, to potter around the house, to eat well, to connect and catch up with friends and family… I’ve already managed the first two weeks this year to spend three evenings at home which has felt restorative, grounding and energising.
  • Getting enough sleep and taking naps when possible
    Contrary to our conditioning that says that the more we work the better, it’s absolutely okay to take a nap or rest even if it’s only for half an hour. The body can recover and recharge its batteries quicker than we think. Often the result is we are much more productive and focused.
  • Fresh air and moments in natural green spaces
    Take regular walks in your local park or countryside or go on a cycle ride. Half an hour daily or a few times a week can make all the difference. You could try to incorporate a short walk into your lunch break or start walking all or part of your way to work.
  • Healthy eating and drinking
  • All fruits, particularly berries
  • All vegetables, particularly celery, asparagus, cucumber, cabbage and garlic, brown rice and corn or rice pasta
  • If you eat meat and fish: white meat and fish
  • Pulses
  • Two big helpings of sprouts a day – this is my new discovery which makes me very energized and happy
    Sprouts are a wonderful source of energy and so deliciously fresh on their own or in salads and other food. You can buy sprouts in health food shops or grow them yourself which is very easy and rewarding. Here is the book that I read and that got me into delightful sprouting mania. Sprouting by Deborah Fowler.
  • Lots of water and herbal teas – I always have a water bottle on my desk to remind me
  • Moderate caffeine and alcohol consumption

Let me know how you get on. Did you find this blog useful? I’d love to have your feedback. Write a message on my Facebook wall or write a comment below.

Warm wishes, Karen


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