As hard as it sounds, it is time you broke up with stress. Like a toxic relationship with a person you just can’t seem to quit, stress is not only harming your mental health, but the effects of stress are hurting you physically as well. Yet breaking up with stress isn’t as easy as relaxing for a few hours, it is a dramatic shift in the way you work, think and interact with the world around you.
Now you’re probably stressed about being stressed. Instead, give these solutions a try.
Multi-taskers with high-pressure jobs rely on their schedule to keep them on-task and moving forward. However, they often overlook the need to schedule downtime. We’re not talking downtime where they only answer emails from their laptop at night, real downtime away from the pressures of work and stresses of home. For some people, this kind of rest looks like an hour at the gym. For others, it is spending time in nature or with their family. The key to relaxing is putting away your electronics and focusing on a task that will rejuvenate both your mind and your body.
Visit the Chiropractor
Chiropractic care does more than treating back pain or headaches. It can help every system in your body function the way it should, including its stress response. Your entire central nervous system, the part of your body that governs breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, and digestion, lives in your brain and your spine. When it can send unimpeded messages to the peripheral nervous system (your fingers, hands, arms, legs, feet, etc.) you are pain-free, energized and able to tackle anything that comes your way. However, when the spine is misaligned, it is hard for the central nervous system to communicate with the periphery. As a result, you may experience headaches, muscle aches, back pain, and numbness or tingling in your hands and feet. Additionally, misalignments in the spine can contribute to the digestive problems, attention problems and mood disorders commonly associated with chronic stress. Fortunately, chiropractic care can keep the systems of your body healthy and functioning the way they should.
Dial in your Nutrition
One of the purposes of cortisol, one of the body’s stress hormones, is to raise blood sugar to promote metabolism of the carbohydrates, proteins and fats you need to react to a stressful situation. In response, the pancreas begins producing insulin at a rapid pace which lowers your blood sugar rather quickly and triggers a craving for carbohydrate-rich foods. That’s why, when you’re stressed, you tend to crave comfort foods like pasta, donuts or ice cream. Fortunately, your physical need for food is not so great that it cannot be met by more nutritious options. Grabbing a handful of strawberries when you are craving a cookie can accomplish the same goal (a balanced blood sugar) without the calories. Even choosing whole foods rather than so-called “convenience foods” can leave you feeling better (and slimmer) when you’re stressed.
Even though stress is unavoidable, it is possible to combat its physical effects with a few simple changes. Scheduling downtime, adding chiropractic care to your routine and dialing in your nutrition will help your body function the way it should in spite of the demands you place on it.