Stress is Everywhere
Stress is Everywhere
Modern day living means that it is impossible to avoid stress. Where the stress response was originally designed to help us deal with immediate dangers such as running from a tiger, we are now exposed to a constant barrage of some form of stress every day. Nowadays we don’t have to run for our lives but instead we have to deal with paying bills, work demands, deadlines, children’s school activities to name a few. It is the ongoing activation of our fight or flight response that is the problem.
Signs of Stress
Some common presentations of stress include:
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbances
- Inability to concentrate
If you recognise some or all of these symptoms, don’t stress. There is help available.
How to Handle Stress
Several vitamins and minerals, along with herbs have been shown to be beneficial during times of stress:
- Magnesium – helps with energy production, is relaxing and can improve sleep
- B vitamins- work well with magnesium and support energy production and well being
- Herbs such as withania, rhodiola and certain ginsengs are called adaptogens. In other words they help you adapt to times of stress by supporting physical and mental energy production and regulation.
Although simple, lifestyle modifications can make a significant difference to how you handle stress.
- Healthy nutrition – avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates even though when stressed we often crave “comfort foods”. Instead support your body with proteins from lean meats and fish, eggs, legumes and nuts. This sustains the blood sugar levels providing energy and minimising cravings. Add fresh fruit and vegetables along with wholegrains to provide nutrients that the body needs to cope with stress.
- Exercise- regular exercise of any sort will benefit your wellbeing, improve sleep and moods and can be as simple as daily walking. Do something that you enjoy, preferably outdoors.
- Adequate sleep- aim for 7-8 hours and try to keep a regular sleep/wake cycle.
- Mindfulness/meditation- 10-20minutes daily is all that is required for benefits of calming an overactive mind.
- Yoga and Tai Chi – active practices to still the mind and support sleep.
- Maintain social networks- this helps with resilience to stress as well as providing a support network when life gets too overwhelming.
We are all confronted with stress in our modern lives, but it is possible to effectively manage and deal with stress using a combination of supplements and lifestyle strategies. You don’t have to let stress get the better of you.