Unfortunately, we can't avoid stress in our lives these days. As professional women, we are all juggling careers, families and obligations. And a global pandemic.
So, let’s face it. Stress is pretty much impossible to avoid.
We often just think of emotional stress, our to-do lists, deadlines, responsibilities. However, stress can actually come in the body in many forms. Let’s identify it!
Here are the four main types of stress:
We can all have stress from being busy, burning the midnight oil from running around, and all our tasks. This feeling of strain and uneasiness is produced by situations of danger, threat, and loss of personal security.
We can have physical stress, from injury, poor posture and tension, and clenching your jaw overnight.
Biological stress can be from inflammation, infections and toxic overload and our bodies. This can impose severe demands, like sleep apnea.
This type of stress comes from past trauma and holding onto things that maybe we aren't ready to release. In return, it is causing stress in our bodies.
Sometimes we, physiologically, can't tell where our stress levels are coming from. That’s actually when I work with people, we dig into all the factors surrounding where their individual stress is coming from and how that's affecting their body.
Our bodies have two nervous systems. We have a system called the parasympathetic nervous system, where you rest and digest. Then, we have the sympathetic nervous system, and we can think of that as fight or flight.
When our bodies feel a trigger of stress, our brains will release epinephrine and norepinephrine as a first response. Then, our adrenals will release a stress hormone, called cortisol. Cortisol is what we know as the stress hormone and is a natural process from our body. It has many benefits and purposes in our body, such as metabolizing glucose, breaking down proteins, helping convert thyroid hormones, etc.
When we stay in that stress response for too long, we start to live in a sympathetic dominant system. Our bodies do not come back down into the parasympathetic and many of us are living in that fight-or-flight state all the time.
Eventually, our bodies just can't handle it. We give up on our dreams and then end up getting flatlined. It’s hard to do anything, and we’re just tired all the time.
So what can you do about it?
- Aim to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night
- Meditate, journal, or schedule ‘me time’
- Maintain physical exercise
- Connect with others
- Clean up your diet. Get rid of refined and lavatory foods, and concentrate on low glycemic, fruits and vegetables, low glycemic, carbs, proteins, and unsaturated fats
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Create boundaries and learn to say no
- Consider seeing someone who will help you look into the root cause of what's causing stress in your body
We can bring our body back in balance. Since it's something that's unavoidable in all of our lives, then we need to be aware of it and manage it the best we can!