If you're anything like me, you are constantly being pulled in different directions and always have something on your mind such as launching a new business idea. As a busy working mom I have a lot of things to juggle just to keep things functional - personal development and relaxation time have become pipe dreams! Depending on your lifestyle and circumstances, stress can be caused by any number of things including: a frustrating job, personal or family health issues, a feeling of inadequacy in juggling different roles (personal vs. professional) and a let’s not forget the biggest stressor for most of us- finances.
So today's blog is all about addressing the causes of stress, making small changes to get stress under control and getting back to the mental state that you know you need to be in to be the best version of yourself!
As always, we'll be putting some related posts up on our Higher Tea Facebook page during the week. Be sure to stop by to post any tips you have and see what others have to share.
Before we share our Five Stress-Busting Tips, we have a quote from Dr. Esther Sternberg- guru of all things neurobiology. Dr. Sternberg has done groundbreaking work in uncovering the link between the central nervous system and the immune system. If this doesn't kick start you into addressing those stressors, especially long term, chronic stress, in your life then nothing will!
"The nervous system and the hormonal stress response react to a stimulus in milliseconds, seconds, or minutes. The immune system takes parts of hours or days. It takes much longer than two minutes for immune cells to mobilize and respond to an invader, so it is unlikely that a single, even powerful, short-lived stress on the order of moments could have much of an effect on immune responses. However, when the stress turns chronic, immune defenses begin to be impaired. As the stressful stimulus hammers on, stress hormones and chemicals continue to pump out. Immune cells floating in this milieu in blood, or passing through the spleen, or growing up in thymic nurseries never have a chance to recover from the unabated rush of cortisol. Since cortisol shuts down immune cells’ responses, shifting them to a muted form, less able to react to foreign triggers, in the context of continued stress we are less able to defend and fight when faced with new invaders. And so, if you are exposed to, say, a flu or common cold virus when you are chronically stressed out, your immune system is less able to react and you become more susceptible to that infection."
You know how your “edge” feels dulled when you're exhausted and over stressed? Or how you’re able to dig deep and channel those super powers of productivity and focus when you're running up against a big deadline or preparing for something that really matters? The key is balance. It’s alright to have some stress. Channel it for good. Train the 'muscles' that respond to stress and be deliberate about what you allow in your life, and how you choose to respond to it. Everything is a choice. We'll help you move toward some healthy choices in the tips below!
1) Too much coffee is not good for so many reasons! In addition to interfering with sleep, the caffeine in coffee triggers a cascade of hormones that enable "fight or flight" responses. Your body doesn't know what it's being told, so it prepares for battle! This might be alright for a short burst of energy, but it takes hours for those hormones (adrenaline and cortisol) to settle back down. Try switching to a healthy tea- ideally caffeine free. A after a few days off the coffee you'll notice you feel less on edge, sleep better and your energy levels will become, well, level! Some teas can actually help you relax, like our wellness and detox teas which help settle the body and clear the mind through a blend of all natural herbs.
2) Exercise is probably the single best thing you can do to deal with stress. In addition to the short and long term physiological benefits, there is huge value is stepping away from your computer, family or other responsibilities to pump some oxygen into your system. It's amazing how often a good idea or solution will come to you after stepping away from that computer screen. Exercise with music, friends, in nature, whatever you find most effective to recharge and reset for the next stage of the day. Plus you'll sleep like a baby and feel amazing.
3) Passion flower and multi vitamins with plenty of zinc and B group vitamins can help destress and help that brain and body unwind. There are plenty of reputable brands around- be sure to seek good advice from a doctor, naturopath or other health care professional as quality and recommended dosages vary. Don't underestimate the power of herbs - passion flower can make a big difference in a short time span and can help keep you off other pharmaceutical options for stress, anxiety or sleeping issues.
4) Sort out your sleep. We talked about some ways to do this in last week's blog post and we cannot emphasize enough what a difference good sleep makes. For me, getting my children's sleeping habits in order was life changing. I went from feeling like a frazzled thirtysomething working mom to having energy and clear thinking I haven’t enjoyed for years! You can address numerous health related issues such as over eating or craving sugar by making sure your body is rested and can properly process and digest your food. Do whatever it takes!
6) Meditate. I enjoy listening to The Tim Ferriss Show, a podcast in which Ferriss interviews world class people at the top of their game: business, academic, sporting and other personalities. A commonality in his interviewees is nearly 80% meditate and see it as a key way to stay on top of stress and maintain peak performance. There are many types of meditation, some are easier to pick up than others. I particularly like www.calm.com and www.headspace.com, these apps provide guided meditation with options from 2-20 minutes a day. Transcendental meditation and other groups offer weekend training courses and retreats. This small habit gets the brain into Theta state, where brain activity slows almost to the point of sleep, but not quite, allowing your body and mind to relax fully, regain calm and focus and obliterate stress!
Make sure to stop by our Higher Tea Facebook page to share what you do to help keep your stress levels in check and see what our other followers are doing. Life is crazy and there will always be stressors present. The key is to learn how to deal with and manage those stressors.
Next week we’ll look at some of the herbal remedies that are becoming increasingly popular at the moment, and deconstruct the fads vs proven solutions to give you current, safe advice on what can help you and your health interests. Let us know if there are any herbs in particular you'd like us to cover- turmeric, raspberry, detox herbs?
Till next week,Sophie