What you can do when you’re stressed to the max

Even though you might be stressed to the max right now, there are some practical steps you can take to cope with that stress and stay healthy.

It is important to acknowledge stress so you can reduce it or cope with it a little better. Even if you aim for a slight improvement, then you’ll stay healthier and able to handle the stress more.

Here is how stress is affecting our bodies:

  • Stress increases cortisol production associated with weight gain (especially in the belly), an inability to lose weight or gain muscle and premature aging
  • Stress decreases nutrient absorption due to decreased enzymatic production from the stomach, pancreas, and liver and decreased bile flow from the gallbladder
  • Stress increases nutrient excretion such as urinary loss of calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, chromium, selenium and micro minerals
  • Stress decreases gut flora populations by destroying healthy intestinal bacteria and can lead to immune problems, skin disorders, nutrient deficiencies, and digestive distress
  • Stress increases salt retention which can lead to high blood pressure
  • Stress decreases the thyroid hormone which can negatively affect your metabolism
  • Stress decreases sex hormones which lead to loss of libido and low energy

How can I reduce or cope better with stress?

  • Look at your calendar for the next 7 days. What’s one activity you’ve committed to that you can cancel?
  • Look at your to-do list. What’s one item you can delegate to someone else in the next 24 hours?
  • Consider your schedule today. Where can you fit in 20 minutes for yourself —where you’re not taking care of anyone else or being “productive”—so you can just relax and play and do something mindless? Unplug and relax your mind. Try meditation.
  • Before your next meal, try what I call the “5-5-7” breath. Inhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 7. Repeat at least 3 times. This gives your body a chance to relax before your meal, which will increase your digestive capacity and help your body pull more nutrients from the food you’re eating.
  • Movement circulates everything in your body and helps deplete the build-up of stress hormones. Take a few minutes to increase your heart rate and move your body. Go for a brisk walk or put on some music and dance. You will feel better instantly.
  • Stretch your body. When you are stressed to tend to tense up your muscles.  Try some of these yoga poses like child’s pose or downward facing dog.  I start my morning off with these two at a minimum.  It only takes a few minutes.

Downward facing dog 

  1. Place palms on floor in front of you.
  2. Step legs back one at a time.
  3. Feet should be in line with hands.
  4. Spread fingers and press palms down.
  5. Stretch arms forward, keep elbows straight.
  6. Raise your butt up to the sky and move thighs up and back.
  7. Lower heels to the floor, feet point straight.
  8. Relax your head and back of the neck.

Hold for 1 minute.

Child’s pose

  1. Get on hands and knees.
  2. Knees hip distance apart with feet together.
  3. Lean back and sit on your heels.
  4.  Extend arms and torso forward. Rest your forehead on the floor.
  5. Stretch arms out in front of you.
  6. Press palms into floor and bottom into your heels.

Hold for 1 to 5 minutes.

If you feel too stressed to relax, and you KNOW it’s affecting your health, your weight and your energy levels, then contact a Health Coach NOW to schedule a time to talk with me about how to reduce or cope better with the stress in your life. I’ve helped lots of clients solve this problem, and chances are very good that I can help you, too. or