What is stressing you out?
Do you even know?
How long has this been going on?
Maybe it’s time to stop and assess the situation? Lack of sleep, stress from work, bills, poor diet, lack of exercise, too much alcohol, etc. could be affecting you more than you think. You might not be invincible after all. You might need to start take a step back and consider all of your life stressors. Look at yourself in the mirror, have an honest conversation with yourself and assess the situation, take action on addressing and managing your stress. Your body will thank you!
Before you stop reading, lol I get it! Stress is a very real thing. I get stressed as well. But it’s interesting how different people handle stress. Some people seem to handle it better than others, why is that? Is there a secret to stress management?
My goal of this post is to simply challenge you to think a little bit differently. Do you live your life in a constant state of stress? Is there anything or anyone in your life that is constantly stressing you out? Is there any part of your life that you can adjust to make more efficient? Is there anything that you could be doing to better address and manage the stress in your life?
Let’s take a deeper look into stress and how it affects our body!
What is stress?
Stress is defined as a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances. The physiology of stress and relaxation can be broken down into two categories:
Sympathetic activity: “fight or flight”
Parasympathetic activity: “rest and digest”
The fact of the matter is that most people these days seem to be more stressed than ever before. Stress from work, stress from under eating, stress from being overweight, stress from over caffeinating, stress from lack of sleep, stress from high intensity exercise, stress from too much alcohol, etc. I could go on and on…
When stress is chronically elevated, the adrenal glands are put into overdrive, constantly pumping out cortisol and adrenaline leading to elevated circulating levels in the body. Over time, this can cause digestion, liver detoxification, immune function, and reproduction issues.
When can stress become a bad thing?
Adrenal Fatigue or HPA Axis dysfunction, ever heard of it? It’s basically a result of too many stressors on the body. This isn’t something that happens over night, but rather over time. Sometimes it can be months, sometimes years dependent upon the person and the amount of stressors on the body.
- Constantly tired
- Issues falling asleep or waking up throughout the night
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Uncontrollable carbohydrate cravings
- Changes in mood
- Thyroid issues
- Altered sex hormone activity
- Loss of menstrual cycle in woman
- Digestion changes
So what can we do to address and manage stress?
The simple answer is we simply need to find balance. We need to listen to our body and treat it with respect. Stress in inevitable, it’s all about balancing our sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. The key is to incorporate daily practices that stimulate your parasympathetic activity. Yoga, meditation, going for a walk, spa treatments, sauna, jacuzzi, reading, listening to music, etc. can all be helpful de-stressing activities. A good goal to shoot for is 30 minutes per day.
If you are someone that thinks they may be experiencing HPA Axis Dysfunction, consider addressing some of these protocols to help you recover and start living YOUR best life!
- Prioritize sleep over everything! The more sleep the better. If you are chronically getting less than 7 hours of sleep then this could be a huge contributor as to why you feel like crap. If you are getting at least 7 hours, start shooting for 8-10 hours per night if you really want to kicks things into overdrive.
- Assess training volume. Do you take rest days? Do you have nagging injuries? Are you constantly sore? Are you fueling / recovering from your workouts properly? Should you lower the intensity of your workouts?
- Assess food quality & quantity. How many calories are you eating on average per day? How much protein? Carbs? Fats? Are you cooking the majority of your food or are you eating out most of the time?
- Reduce caffeine and alcohol consumption.
- Consider addressing adrenal, gut, and liver health.