Wrote by Stephanie Oswald Certified Health Coach (IIN, graduated 2014) and an Registered Holistic Nutritionist.
We all deal with stress in our daily lives, in the world we live in it is almost unavoidable. Whether you’re a parent juggling all of your responsibilities, a busy executive with pressing deadlines, an entrepreneur in charge of making a business successful, we all have stress.
Stress comes in many different forms and has many effects on our body and mind. We can accumulate physical stress from intense exercise or pushing the limits of our bodies, mental stress from pressing deadlines and worries around financial strain and emotional stress from a break up or the loss of a loved one.
When we are in an unbalanced state dealing with an excessive or chronic amount of stress, we might reach for some unhealthy coping mechanisms. A common coping tool for many of us is food. Over eating, eating out all the time and reaching for comfort foods can deteriorate our health and leave us feeling even more exhausted and inflamed. We may see this coping through alcohol consumption as well. When we are so stressed out, our nervous system can be thrown out of wack. This makes it hard for us to rest and unwind at the end of the day, alcohol may seem in the moment like the fix for this inability to relax.
Sleep is another important aspect of our lives that can be heavily impacted by stress. We need to get enough quality sleep to restore our bodies and minds at the end of each day. When our mind is full of worry and stress, we might not be able to fall asleep. Cortisol the major stress hormone, also has an impact on our sleep. Chronic stress causes an imbalance in cortisol which can cause levels to spike in the night, waking us up in the middle of our sleep all of a sudden completely alert. Sleep deprivation can impact many aspects of our health, causing weight gain, lowering immunity and impacting mental health.
So how do we cope with this stress? Some of my favorite ways to stay healthy through times of stress include:
- Relaxation massage and other deeply healing body care. Massage is a wonderful way to deeply rest and let go of tension stored in the body.
- Meditation and breath work are some of the most effective tools for quick relief. Even 5 minutes a day of sitting in silence and breathing deeply, can help calm the nervous system and rest the mind.
- Yoga and dance are fabulous ways to feel present and release tension and stress stored in the body. Hatha, restorative and yin yoga are some gentle yoga practices great for chronic stress, as intense exercise might add too much to the stress load on the body.
- Eating nourishing food while stressed is so important. We burn through many vital nutrients creating stress hormones and our bodies need some extra love and nourishment. Chew your food slowly and breathe deeply while you eat to help your body absorb and assimilate the nutrients from your meals.
- Supplementation is another great tool for stress. Adaptogens are amazing for adrenal support and can help provide energy when we are tired and relaxation when we are wound up. Land Art has a 5 Mushroom Extract which is a great source of adaptogens to help support your system, provide energy, stress coping and boost the immunity in times of stress. B-Complex Zen is another great supplement for stress relief and replenishing the vital B-vitamins we deplete during the stress response.
- Gratitude has been a game changer for me when it comes to letting go of mental stress. Focusing on all the good in my life has helped me let go of some of my mental stress and feel happiness and gratitude even during challenging times.
- Counselling and other mental health care practitioners can help provide a safe space to express your inner worries. Old traumas, negative thought processes and old stuck emotions can cause mental and emotional stress. A mental health care practitioner can help you process those emotions, thoughts and experiences to help relieve that stress.
Try this stress Chocolate relieving smoothie to nourish your body and calm your mind.
- 1 Tbsp. B-complex Zen
- 1 cup almond or coconut milk
- 1 Frozen banana
- 2 Pitted dates
- 1 Tbsp. hemp seeds
- 1 Tbsp. raw cacao
- 1 Tbsp coconut oil
- *Optional 1 scoop chocolate or vanilla protein powder
- 1.Pour 1 cup of almond milk into your blender.
- 2.Add in 1 scoop protein powder, 1 tbsp cacao, 1 Tbsp hemp seeds, 1 tbsp coconut oil, 2 pitted dates and one banana.
- 3.Blend on high until smooth.