Key Tips to Overcome Chronic Stress
Believe it or not, stress was designed to help us. Long ago, stressors in human life included hunting dinner, fleeing a lion’s teeth, or surviving famine. Our bodies were made to handle this stress through the adrenal glands which release hormones to deal with our current stress level.
You know the, “fight-or-flight” response? See, that kicks your adrenal glands into gear, releasing adrenaline (or epinephrine), norepinephrine and cortisol into the bloodstream.
How stress hormones affect the body:
- Increases heart rate
- Directs blood away from seemingly extraneous needs (skin) and directed towards muscle (to out run that lion)
- Maintains fluid balance, blood sugar and blood pressure
- Suppresses non-essential functions like digestion and immunity
- Metabolizes fats, proteins, and carbohydrates (to provide energy needed to deal with the threat)
These effects come in handy in a life-threatening situation, however the chronic stress of today’s world leaves us with a near constant stream of these hormones in our bodies.
Stress hormones and modern life
With chronic stress, the cortisol that metabolizes glucose, fats and amino acids (carbs, fats and proteins), and thinks we need extra energy to out run a predator. Your body doesn’t realize you’re stressed because is traffic is slow and you are late picking up your kid from school.
Extra energy that isn’t needed, gets stored – you guessed it – mainly around the midsection. Awesome! So, now there’s extra fat in your system, your heart rate is elevated, blood pressure high, and your immune system is low. Constantly.
So, you’re over committed and stressed from too many projects, and too little sleep, and your extra belly fat won’t budge. You crave simple carbs and fatty foods – remember, you need it to outlast that famine – so you cram in 30 minutes of intense interval running.
Congratulations! You added yet another stressor to your system. Now, you’re tired and drained of energy, hungry for a bagel with Nutella, but can’t fall asleep because your system is internally on high alert.
You’re one of the many experiencing Adrenal Fatigue. Adrenal Fatigue is a host of related signs and symptoms, like those mentioned above, signaling your adrenal glands – and related hormones – are out of whack.
But, hope is not lost! And, with patience and time you can work your way back to a balanced system.
Here are tips on getting your body in check!
- Aim for a balanced diet of whole foods
- Eat at regular intervals (don’t wait until you’re starving to eat)
Read This: 4 Genius Ways To Masker Your Hunger Cues
- Stock healthy foods at hand; snacks like string cheese, almonds, and fresh fruit are ideal
- Avoid over caffeinating. Too much adds more stress on the adrenal glands – exactly what you want to avoid
Read This: Forget Coffee! Here’s How to Eat for Energy
- Get your omega 3s and help reduce inflammation and cortisol production
Treat Your Body Right
- Sleep! This is when your body recovers. Aim for 7-9 hours.
- Get to bed earlier by avoiding stimulants (phone, email, TV, heavy foods) at least 30 minutes before.
Read This: How to Create a Better Bedtime Routine
- Exercise to feel good. Pounding in a workout will make matters worse. Try a relaxing walk, or any activity that gets you moving but enhances your energy, not zapping it.
Read This: 4 Red Flags Your Exercise is Unhealthy
Find Your Happy
- Take time to do things you enjoy purely for yourself. A long bath, a good book, your favorite beer (or all three!).
Read This: 5 Ways Moms can Unwind with a Cozy Night In
- Enjoy the moment you’re in (this takes practice!) by taking things one at a time.
- Make a mental choice to move on from a bad moment/situation and look for the good.
Set your goals and crush them!
While these steps are simple in understanding, they aren’t always as easy to implement. If you’d like guidance on finding balance and living your ideal life, Health Coaching may be for you. To explore what’s possible, email me at Samantha@simplywellcoaching.com to schedule a FREE 20 minute Discovery Call!
For more information, check out Adrenal Fatigue Solution where you can explore adrenal fatigue symptoms, causes and treatment options in-depth. Also, take a few minutes to take the quiz and learn where you fall in the realm of adrenal fatigue. The e-book is highly informative so don’t miss it!