To all the women out there. You’re tired, you’re hitting a certain age, you’re worn out, you’re worried. You’re stressing, you’re overworked, you feel like your kids don’t appreciate you, maybe your partner just doesn’t “get it.” Not getting anywhere in your career, or you feel completely lost on what to do with your life still. Going through a separation or divorce, you’re taking care of aging parents, your teenagers want you to drop dead. Does any of this sound familiar?
You go through so much stress as a woman in 2017, and you’re rocking it like a star!
If your kids are healthy and thriving, thank your mind and your strong will. Your husband is stress-free because you take the brunt of the stress, whether financially, with childcare, thank your tolerance and your resilience to get things done. If you’re driving for miles taking care of family, you’re hauling groceries like a boss, gardening and trying to coax those damn veggies to grow so you can feed your family and save money and get exercise, you NEED to thank your keen super-ability to multi-task!
Now, not all stress is bad.
In fact, you need stress to make things exciting and interesting, get things moving, have drive and motivation and creativity to make life go around. Eustress, which is a positive kind of stress, is short-term and prompts us to act when we need to. It resolves itself in 1-2 days. The issue is distress. This is the stress that is harmful and negative, and this is usually when it turns damaging as it evolves into long-term chronic stress.
Some of the responses to CHRONIC stress include chronic pain neck and/or lower back, change in sleep pattern, lowered immune system, aches and pains, and headaches.
You need to thank your body for being able to deal with the stress so far. I come across so many women, who just put up with so much and do so much for others, and they ALWAYS put themselves last. With the high levels of stress that we go through, we increase our chances of developing cardiovascular disease, all kinds of inflammatory conditions such as colitis, arthritis, Irritable Bowel Disease, and Autoimmune conditions.
Stress suppresses immunity as well, so you may find yourself getting hit with viruses more easily, or you become more susceptible to infections, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer, indigestion, and constipation.
Here are some ways to give your body TLC and a much-needed dose of gratitude for keeping it all together for you, so that you can fight on……..
There are so many benefits to just stepping outside for a breath of fresh air. Here’s an excerpt from my book, “The Little Book of Ass-Kickers: 5 Ways to Get Your Health Back on Track Naturally” about the awesomeness of being outside:
“A wonderful way to … to center and to gain relief if you’re feeling anxious, depressed or completely crushed, is the practice of Shinrin-yoku, or forest-bathing. There are studies to suggest its positive effects on depression and anxiety, reducing anger, lowering pulse rate and increasing feelings of vigor. … Surrounding yourself in nature allows you to experience quiet, to experience a new kind of noise such as the calls of birds, the sound of the water, creepy crawlies and woodland creatures living in the woods. Nature is also very inspirational; your level of creativity will increase as your mind becomes more relaxed and more open to new ideas and thoughts.
But the most relevant and important aspect of forest-bathing for our day and age is its ability to chill us out. We used to be surrounded and immersed in nature 99% of the time as we were growing as a human race. Currently, with urban sprawl, pollution, and hectic lifestyles, we’ve been cooped up inside for too long, with less access to safe, clean and green spaces.
We now spend 87% of our time INDOORS. Despite our advances in medicine, technology, travel, and education, we really haven’t advanced our evolution towards awareness. … We need the greener world to keep our wits about us. We will not thrive in the areas of arts, music, and any form of creation that needs our imagination and creativity. Without dreaming, without releasing and expressing our creativity, we increase our risk for depression and anxiety.”
The quiet times allows opportunities for you to check in with yourself; finding your purpose. Connecting with your inner spirit. Connecting with your divine. We find ourselves taking mindful pauses, breathing easier and deeper. Movement, meditation, and wonder of beauty are all healthful benefits for a tired body, and your body will love you in turn for doing it.
The effects of poor sleep are well-studied and documented. When you don’t sleep properly, we increase our chances of having an accident; hypertension; diabetes; obesity; depression; heart attack; and stroke. Anyone who’s had a horrible night’s sleep will tell you that they feel like a complete, brain-dead zombie the next day, and they’re not wrong. Their learning and thinking abilities are less; memory is affected, and experiencing less sex or losing interest in sex is common just because they’re so tired! So yes, a zombie is right. Unfeeling, tired, running on fumes, can’t think straight and blank stares are the faces of the sleep-deprived!
One of the most common issues is not being able to turn off your mind when you’re trying to sleep. This is one of the signs that your body is too stressed to sleep. A bedtime routine is essential to train your body and mind to recognize that you are preparing to sleep. One of the ways to do this is to cut out the tech stuff an hour before bedtime.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a poll revealed that 95% of people use some type of computer, video game, or cell phone at least a few nights a week within the hour prior to bed. Light from technological devices and television disrupts sleep. When sleep is disrupted, it creates stress, and so a wicked cycle begins. Sleep in a room that is as dark and quiet as possible – sounds easy, right? It is. We just need to do it.
Ahhhh…..food. My least favorite topic to discuss. Even with my education in natural, holistic nutrition, and herbalism, and my individual research throughout the years, I still get information overload and can lapse into a depressive state. Food is either simple or really complicated. Some people choose to just do what they’ve always done and not deviate or explore in any way, and some people choose to complicate food by delving too much into it, researching it, studying it to death, taking pictures of it, getting food guilt or food euphoria, freaking out about diets and denouncing certain foods, and berating bad agricultural practices.
I’ve come to learn this one simple thing about food. Food is VERY individual. How one person reacts to a food, doesn’t mean it will affect another person the same way. With our own unique biochemical signature, our history, our culture, our career choices, we just need to eat foods that are right for us and right for now. Food choices can always change as situations change.
With our individuality, we all have one thing in common though. When it comes to food, we need to keep our food sensitivities and allergies in check. We don’t live in a perfect world, and so we’ve exposed our bodies to stressors within and without. We need to eat to nourish, to facilitate our own body’s healing mechanisms, and yes, to relieve stresses. When we eat foods that our bodies are sensitive to, it creates a stress response.
A great way to say Thank You to your body is to adopt a healthier view of food and start enjoying it again. Savour the way it tastes, appreciate where it comes from, acknowledge the work it takes to prepare it, enjoy the colors. Make just one change for the better, and your body will be shouting “Hallelujah!!!!” Some changes to the way you eat can include eating food more local to your area, eating seasonal foods, replace a processed, packaged snack with a healthy one that you really like. Drink more water and less pop, coffee, and alcohol.
The following vitamins and minerals are great for combating, preventing or calming stress. These are just some of the great Anti-stress foods! Keep in mind of any sensitivities or allergies!
|Vitamin C||B Vitamins||Calcium||Magnesium||Sodium With Potassium||Selenium||Omega 3s||Zinc|
Green Leafy Veg
|Dark Green Vegs
The calcium/magnesium minerals are essential stress prevention minerals. Vitamin C is an anti-stress vitamin because your body utilizes this vitamin to address the stress. You need to replace these vitamins because they do get depleted after every stressful occurrence. Another good habit to try is to eliminate, or at least reduce, your alcohol consumption. Drinking your stress away only masks it. Drinking alcohol excretes calcium and magnesium, and B Vitamins are required for the metabolism of alcohol. It’s just something to keep in mind if you are chronically stressed.
While there are many more tools and coping mechanisms that can help achieve stress relief, these 3 tips are a great way to start your journey to more stress-free living. Thank your body, and your body will thank you back. Take it one day at a time, try to break away from your day to get outside, start eating and drinking better, reduce your time in front of a screen, and go to sleep earlier. Sounds simple? It is. You just have to do it.
“Brain Cells Create Ideas. Stress Kills Brain Cells. Stress is Not a Good Idea.” ~ Frederick Sanders
Rebecca Ramdeholl is a great wife, a weird Mom to two interesting girls, and a mediocre domestic goddess. She loves steampunk stuff, science fiction, and fantasy, learning how to do things off-grid, and communing with Nature. She’s a Certified Holistic Nutritional Consultant and loves to teach others through writing about how to polish and shine their innards and add extra years and quality to their lives. She directs most of her focus on guiding women 35+ in properly managing their stress, depression, and anxiety, and kicking Life in the balls by getting a little bit stronger. She works full-time on her blog and is the author of The Little Book of Ass-Kickers: 5 Ways to Get Your Health Back on Track Naturally, which you can download for free by subscribing to her website, Earthy Fix.