Melissa Raymond | 2nd April 2018
The topic of stress has come up a lot lately in my workshops and consultations where women are wanting effective strategies to manage stress well.
Healthy levels of stress can be helpful in our day to day activities – no stress may mean that you have no desire to do anything! While there is a range where levels of stress can be healthy and helpful, on the far end of the spectrum, high levels of stress with everyday activities is not sustainable for the body, mind or soul.
High levels of stress can negatively impact on your gut microbiome and contribute to chronic health conditions such as heart disease. Our gut microbiome makes up over 80% of our immune system and impaired gut health (including that caused by stress) can end up compromising our immune system.
Our gut health impacts on every aspect of our functioning, as simple digestion and absorption of nutrients from our food occurs in our gut. Impaired digestion can lead to nutritional deficiencies which can impact many other processes in our bodies.
The Vagus Nerve can help to lower our heart rate and calm our breathing, and research indicates that it can help with mood and emotions. It also plays a role in gut health and managing stress.
How can you manage stress better? See below!
Top Ten Tips on How to Manage Stress….
10. Say No
How many times have you said yes to everything, then felt overwhelmed, rushing around with too much on your plate? I have! I’m learning to say no to more things as I aim to be less busy…
If you have trouble saying no to someone, try saying, “I’ll check my diary“, or “I’ll get back to you“. Perhaps with some space and time you’ll find it easier to say no, or to say yes to the things that you really find important.
Mindfulness and being present is very on trend and for a great reason! But it can help to refocus your attention on the now, and not on the future. Compassion for yourself and compassion for others is vital to add to being present, as it can guide your heart to doing the right thing for yourself.
- Apps such as Smiling Mind are helpful for those who need or want some guidance with being mindful and present
- Sprinkle mindfulness throughout the day – incorporate it into the things you do often….
- e.g. when washing your hands, take 5 deep breaths and notice how you feel,
- if you’re desk-based, each time you send an email, notice any tension in your shoulders, neck, hands, buttocks, feet…. stand and stretch, or tense the muscle further and then relax it out.
High stress levels can be detrimental to our health by affecting our gut microbiome and contributing to chronic health conditions.
8. Epsom Salts bath – increase magnesium
Magnesium can help relieve stress and tight muscles…. Intensive agriculture has contributed to soils depleted of magnesium. An easy way of replacing magnesium is through the skin via an epsom salts bath. Add a cup or two of epsom salts to your bath…
Don’t have a bath? A foot bath is a great way to go – portable, water efficient, and easy to do while watching tv!
Add a splash of jojoba oil with lavender essential oils for extra relaxation!
7. Grounding – beach or feet on earth
Get those shoes off and get onto some beautiful earth! Green grass, sand on the beach….feel the earth beneath your feet and soak up the calming earth beneath your feet.
Grounding can help recharge you by getting in touch with nature, it can help relieve anxious feelings, and is totally free!
6. Time out for self-care
What are your favourite things to do to look after yourself? Get a massage or facial, read a book, time outdoors in nature, go for a walk, exercise, see a movie or show by yourself, gardening, painting….
5. Essential oils
Diffuse these beautiful pure oils and use them topically. There is much research on the benefits of essential oils to help lift low mood, and
These essential oils are wonderful to soothe stress, and you can blend them together for a synergistic effect.
- Balance blend
- Citrus Bliss
To use topically, dilute and apply to soles of pulse points, over heart, soles of feet, spine, back of neck.
Want essential oils to help feel less stressed?
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Time to put yourself first, recharge, and take care of yourself so that you can be present and have patience, love, compassion and energy for the things and people you love.
Ensure you’re remaining hydrated with filtered water throughout the day.
- Consume 2-3L per day of filtered water is the recommend amount for an average adult. Spread your water intake evenly throughout the day.
- Tap water is chlorinated, which helps kill bacteria during storage. However, chlorine can also affect your gut microbiome and reduce healthy levels of bacteria in your gut.
- Drink filtered water- or BE the filter.
- A glass or two upon waking and prior to showering/bathing
- A glass 30 minutes prior to meals
- Avoid drinking water with meals as it dilutes the gastric juices and impairs digestion
- Drink prior, during and after exercise.
Ensure that you are eating plenty of fresh leafy greens, fresh vegetables and fruit, nuts, seeds, wholefoods, protein, grass-fed meat, wildcaught seafood.
- Cut out the processed food
- Cut out the sugar
- You’ll start feeling better already!
- Cut out the chemicals – count the chemicals not the calories! Know what is in your food and start reading labels.
- Shop from the outer aisles at the supermarket – or, even better, skip the supermarket and shop locally at your Farmers’ Markets, local grocers
- Avoid Top 10 pesticide-laden foods – .e.g lettuce, grapes, strawberries, tomatoes….
- Grow your own…. even if you have no garden, a few pots of herbs or lettuce by the windowsill means you can have some fresh and pesticide free vegies.
Hug someone… Make some time to chat with a friend or family and to have some beautiful human interaction and contact.
- If hugging isn’t your thing, then that’s okay! Make some time to connect with those you love.
Get some beautiful fresh air into your lungs, get your blood flowing and get your heart rate up!
- Exercise at a moderate intensity for 30 minutes, 5 times a week
- This will help you stay fit and active, and raise those endorphines that make us feel good.
- Reconnecting with nature during a brisk walk is also a great way to reduce stress.
- Schedule some time in your diary to exercise during the week
- Yoga, Pilates, Chi-Gong, Walking with a friend at lunch time, Running, Resistance Training, 7 minute workouts….
- Download an app to exercise, find an accountability buddy
- Wake up 30 minutes earlier to exercise before work/before the kids get up
OK… .I couldn’t just stick to 10! Here’s one more….
Vagus Nerve Stimulation
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