When we moved, I did not expect to still be stressed out…3 months later. But I am. I mean…I feel like it’s just STRESS on top of STRESS on top of STRESS!!!
The stressors are different now…it’s more about being stuck in the house (literally…there’s 18 inches of snow outside today and it’s 10 degrees!) and missing my friends…but before we moved, it was about having enough money to pay the bills, if we should really go out in 100 degree heat (with a heat index of 110)…and me being a working mom.
I guess somehow I expected things to magically be different when we moved and Ish took his dream job…but it didn’t. The stress just changed.
Which lead me to realize that there are always stress triggers. Those things that cause us to become agitated or over think. And if you stress too much, you could be facing some serious issues.
See, stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.
Do you ever find yourself repeating something along the lines of “You need to breathe! Stop stressing! You’re going to have a heart attack!”
These kinds of thoughts are often the begining of chronic stress (which is really bad for you).
Chronic stress can sometimes cause us to have an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious conditions).
And even if you don’t think you’re stressing “too much”…think about it. Stress promotes chronic inflammation, affecting your blood “thickness,” as well as how well your cells respond to insulin…which is bad news if you can’t get a handle on your stress.
I don’t know about y’all but when I’m stressed out, I ALWAYS end up sick! It never, ever fails. I’ve stressed myself into chronic bronchitis, sinus infections, and even walking pneumonia.
Sound familiar? Maybe you find that you end up dealing with colds, cold sores, or even the flu (but definitely not the man flu! HA!) more frequently when you are stressed out?
We end up sick because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (if you want to get all sciencey, they’re called cytokines) of our immune system consequently, which means they are less able to do their job effectively…which means that you are less effective too. Bummer.
Yes, this is a term that gets way overused, but honestly, it’s a legit problem if you’re overstressed.
Leaky gut is just an easier way of referring to something that The Google (and my doctor) calls “intestinal permeability.” Basically, microscopic holes allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body. Yuck!
And if you spend your days stressed out, then you have a higher risk for digestive issues like leaky gut with can lead to worse things. Luckily, a clean diet can help. Eating clean (think a diet similar to Whole30) can give your body a break so that you can heal.
Loss of Sleep
No one has time for sleep. I get it. You’re busy. But you really need to make the time.
If you already have a hard time sleeping (because you overthink everything), when you add stress to the pile, you may find that you’re getting very little sleep.
This is bad. It’s difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.
But when you don’t get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.
More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health. Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren’t doing you any favors ( no matter how much we pray).
How to Stress Less
Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step. Instead of stressing out…
- Is this thing that is stressing me out worth the stress?
- Am I putting too much pressure on myself?
- Can I ask for help?
- Should I say no? (one of my favorites over the past year)
- Can I delegate this thing to someone else?
No matter how hard you try, you can’t eliminate stress altogether (and if you can, make sure you tell me how you did it!). To help keep calm, here are a few things you can try to help yourself take a moment when you find that you’re stressing way too much:
- Deep breathing
- Walk in nature
- Read a book
- Take a bath
- Get some exercise (even if it’s just 10 minutes)
- Pop in a yoga DVD
- Connect with loved ones
Stress is a huge part of everyone’s lives but so many times people often view as just a thing they have to endure, but I promise you that you don’t. Use the ideas above to give yourself some breathing room.
Sometimes just taking stock and identifying if you really need to be stressed can help.
Remember, stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep…but don’t let that stress you out. Use one of the tools above to deal with it to help yourself learn how to stress less (I promise).
How do you cope with stress?