What is stress?
Stress is a response to an event that causes bodily or mental tension. The response can be physical, mental or emotional. Many people tend to feel frustrated, nervous, anxious or angry. They also tend to carry these feelings with them around for quite some time.
Stress causes the “stress hormone” cortisol to be released into the bloodstream. When we have too much in our bloodstream and it has nowhere to go, it damages our organs and tissue. The long-term consequences can lead to heart disease, diabetes, weight loss/gain, GI problems, muscle tension, nervous habits, etc. I’ve been there. Done that!
What can I do to manage my stress levels?
You probably know that routine exercise that includes meditation, yoga, and relaxation techniques are great ways to deal with stress. These activities can balance or decrease the cortisol levels in the bloodstream.
Routine self-care practices are another way to deal with stress as it too can decrease the cortisol levels in your bloodstream.
I know you are probably thinking how is taking care of myself going to help me handle stress. The bills are still coming, my family and friends don’t understand, my supervisor is still getting on my nerves, etc.
I’m not talking about things like a mani/pedis or an occasional hot soak in the tub whenever you can find the time, and it doesn’t feel like a chore. I’m referring to that soul lifting self-care that makes you feel energized after. These are things you consistently put off because you don’t MAKE the time for them…. reading a good book, spending quality time with a friend, painting, eating dinner with the family at the dining room table and balancing your checkbook.
I know you might have cringed at that last one.
Self-care can make a huge difference in your life, including minimizing the effects of stress. Take a few minutes out of your busy day to do something that energizes you from the inside out.