Some amount of stress is totally normal, but do you feel stressed or overwhelmed more often than not? Too much stress can have a negative impact on your health.
Some physical symptoms of stress are:
muscle tension or muscle pain
upset stomach/digestive system
problems with sleeping
higher blood pressure
Stress can also trigger flare ups of autoimmune diseases! (For a free resource about food and inflammation check out my resources page!)
Stress can also impact your mood. It can increase anxiety, cause restlessness, make it so you struggle to stay focused or finish tasks, make you feel irritable, and can cause sadness or depression.
When you're stressed, your hypothalamus triggers the release of adrenaline and cortisol which have several functions. Cortisol impacts how your body uses carbohydrates, fats, and proteins, it also plays a role in inflammation and regulating blood pressure. It also has a role in controlling your sleep/wake cycle. Adrenaline raises your heart rate and boosts your energy supply so you can respond to a perceived threat.
If the stressor doesn't go away, your body's response continues which can cause symptoms.
Tips for managing stress:
- Make sure you get regular exercise! Whether it's just going for a walk or heading to the gym and doing strength training. - Get 7-8 hours of sleep! Check out my post about the importance of getting sleep. - Focus on slow, deep breaths. You can also do a mindfulness activity, there are plenty of free apps for guided ones! - Stay connected to friends and family. Use your support system! - Schedule alone time or relaxation time to make sure you get to take care of yourself!
- Make a plan — plan and prep your meals ahead so you don't have to worry about what to eat during the day (You can check out my meal prep guide or my free meal planner resource). Plan out or schedule your day so you know what's coming. Make a to-do list and prioritize what needs to get done today to keep you organized.