How To Help Your Body Cope With Stress & Build Resilience
Lets face it, our modern day lives are pretty dang stressful, they may not appear to be obviously stressful to many of us but boy are we overstimulated. You can only truly recognise this when you step away from everyday life (the noise, sounds, imagery, thoughts etc. etc.) & experience true stillness.
In order to maintain our health & not burnout we really need to be putting daily measures into place in order to help our bodies cope better & buffer any damage. Thankfully there are plenty of ways we can help mitigate the impact, keep us fighting fit & hopefully stop our nervous systems from packing up shop & saying adios.
Round of applause if you can guess whats first on my list.......
The world without adaptogen herbs is no place I would want to live. Truly.
Adaptogens help to improve non-specific responses to & encourage recovery from stress. They enable your body to build resilience to stress & inhibit the body from becoming depleted...within reason of course. The don't have superpowers but almost. They nourish & protect the nervous system (and therefore) the rest of the body from the impacts of chronic stress.
Great examples of adaptogen herbs include:
Withania/Ashwaganda (a definite crowd favourite & for good reason, it works beautifully)
Hot Tip: Adaptogens are especially helpful if you are able anticipate a stressful event in the future & begin taking them before hand. They really help to support you through a stressful period of time which may have resulted in burnout or fatigue & allow you remain strong, focused & well.
I would recommend consulting with a Naturopath prior to taking adaptogen, these are powerful herbal medicines. It's important you find the right adaptogen herb for you & your current state of health, there is no one size fits all here I'm afraid).
If there was ever a time to eat tonnes of bright coloured vegetables, whole foods, essential fats & lean protein it’s now. Your body will be crying out for extra nutrient support.
The following nutrients may also be helpful in supplement form to give you extra support:
It's always a good idea chat to a qualified Naturopath or Nutrition before taking any supplement to discuss correct dosage & nutrient form to suit you're individual needs.
Limit Intake of Refined Foods
This is often the time when your body is SCREAMING for refined sugar, carbohydrates, toasties, chocolate, donuts, chips & did I say chocolate. But I promise you this will only deplete your body even further. Not only are these foods void of any proper nutrition, which during a stressful period you have an increased demand for, they support inflammatory pathways in the body leaving you susceptible to illness down the track.
Take a Vacation from Caffeine
Look you've come this far.....you're feeling better, so why not ditch the coffee? Easy right?!
Look I love coffee & I'm not about to preach that it's terrible for you or to give it up forever. I like to think I'm a Naturopath living in the real world but when you're chronically stressed, consuming caffeine is like pouring gasoline onto a blazing fire. It will only make things that much harder for you.
When you consume caffeine, its causes the adrenal glands to secrete adrenalin and as we learnt about the effects of adrenalin here, this is exactly what we don't need. We want to support the adrenal glands rather than forever encouraging them to secrete more & more adrenalin. Plus after that initial caffeine buzz, there will be a equal (if not more dramatic) drop in energy & need for more (& more & more) caffeine.
This excess caffeine consumption will also be likely to effect your sleep, leaving you feeling "wired & tired", that feeling when you're exhausted but just can't get to sleep. And we all know how we feel after crappy nights sleeps....tired & grumpy......and then cycle begins again.
So with that being said........Put down the double shot espresso. Yes you!
I recommend eliminating coffee over the weekend if you can, especially if you drink a few shots per day. There is nothing worse or that will make the task near impossible than eliminating coffee & going to work. Yuck.
Avoid overcommitting yourself
Sometimes your nervous system just needs you to say ‘no’ more often. It can be incredibly powerful! The more we continue to do, the more we chip away at those reserves. Learning to say no really plays into the next point, embracing self-care & taking the time to really look after yourself.
Get into a daily relaxation/self-care routine
However long you are able to commit to. This time is 100% you time, that also mean no devices either!
Running a bath (even add some Epsom salts for an extra Magnesium boost)
Read a book
Cook your favourite nourishing meal
It’s really important to support your body during & post stress events (especially post-stress). Once the stress has subsided the body can take a short while to recover, especially if the stress was continuous. If you think stress is affecting your health your absolutely not alone and luckily there is so much we can do to help your body cope with stress.
If you think you need a little extra support or really not sure where to start. Get in touch.