Stress and Overwhelm: Navigating with Grace
If our current climate is leaving you feeling overwhelmed and stressed, you’re not alone. We are all navigating through unknown territory and this can lead to high levels of stress. While there are many things out of our control, we can learn how to react to these challenges and move forward in a healthy way. Our new goal - to embrace the uncertainty while showing ourselves grace and compassion along the way.
Stress is part of our everyday lives and low levels can actually give us the nudge and motivation we need to continue reaching our goals. We won’t ever completely eliminate stress and that’s okay. However, chronic stress is another story. Continual high levels of stress can lead to a decline in our physical and mental wellbeing.
Physically, the immune system weakens, the digestive system slows down and causes upset, pain, and bloating. Chronic stress limits the body’s response and leaves us more susceptible to illness and viruses. Muscles contract and tense up causing headaches, backaches, and pain to be triggered throughout the body. Stress can negatively interfere with hormones in both men and women, possibly leading to fertility issues and low sex drive. Blood pressure rises, blood sugar increases, the heart rate spikes, and so does the risk for heart attack and stroke. The human body is built for healing and strength, but we must support it and allow for rest and recuperation. Managing stress is one of the best ways to ensure the body can function properly.
If the physical dangers of stress aren’t enough, we must also consider the impact of chronic stress on our mental and emotional wellbeing. Did you know that stress and our reaction to it have the power to rewire our brains? Yes, chronic stress can actually alter the brain’s composition and disrupt balance. We are likely to enter fight-or-flight mode more quickly and our ability to calm down and respond appropriately diminishes. Practicing awareness and managing stress in a positive way can have a significant impact on our health and livelihood. Luckily, there are some simple tools that you can implement in your daily life.
Drink plenty of water - keeping your body hydrated will keep your energy up
Take movement breaks - be mindful of stretching and moving your body throughout the day, especially if you have been sitting at your desk or computer for a long period of time
Find a routine that works for you - set your priorities and goals and create your daily routine accordingly
Become mindful of your thoughts and ask yourself, “Is this really true?”
Give yourself permission to slow down
Let go of judgment of yourself and others
Fuel your body with healthy, whole foods - Good nutrition is key to supporting our bodies, especially in times of stress
Practice deep breathing and meditation - take a few deep breaths and feel your tension dissolve
Volunteer or make a donation - being of service to others can boost levels of wellbeing and happiness
Acceptance of our lack of control is difficult for most of us, but resistance only creates more tension. If we allow for the challenges to exist, we are better prepared to face them with grace. Even in these times of uncertainty, it is possible to limit the effects of stress and prioritize your physical and mental health. Carve out some time in your schedule to discover your favorite self-care practices. Each day, take one small step that will help you reach your goals. Remember, you’re not alone and better days are ahead. We can start with today.
Are you still feeling overwhelmed and stressed? We’re always here to help.
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