Are you feeling stressed? It goes without saying that many people are feeling a lot of stress these days. The coronavirus pandemic has brought many unwanted changes to everyone’s lives. You may be working from home full time and trying to take care of your children. You may have lost your job and have financial difficulties. You could be exhausted from trying to come up with new learning activities and games to keep your little ones busy. You might be living in another city away from your family and miss being able to visit them.
To add to the stress, it is almost time for kids to start the new school year. Back to school time is normally an exciting yet busy time after being off for the summer, but this year it’s different. Parents are planning for how they are going to get their children back to school. Will they go in person or stay home and learn online?
You want to make the right decision for your family and make sure everyone stays healthy, including yourself. It’s natural to always think of your family first, but you can’t forget to take care of yourself, as well. The added stress of this time of year requires you to make self-care a priority so that you can continue to maintain optimal health.
What is stress, anyway?
The definition of stress is “a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.”
Stress causes a significant physiological response. We breathe deeper which puts more oxygen into our bloodstream. Our blood vessels constrict, which puts more blood in the muscles for strength to act quickly, but it also raises blood pressure. The stress response was designed for us to have almost instant super strength in times of danger, such as running from a wild animal. But your body can’t always effectively differentiate perceived stress from real stress, so running late to work may be as stressful as running from a wild bear.
The problem is, when we experience stress too often, like most people do, it can cause severe health problems. Stress can be caused by any amount of change. It can all stress us out too often. Stress affects hormones, it damages our heart and arteries, it affects our minds, and often depresses our moods.
First, let’s look at the dangers of not relieving stress like we should. These are just a few things chronic stress can cause:
- Tension headaches or migraines
- Depression and anxiety
- Weight gain
- Heart problems
- Hair loss
- Immune issues
- Sleep loss
- Stomach problems
10 Ways to De-Stress During These Uncertain Times
We want to share with you some tips to help you de-stress.
1. Be proactive in relieving stress daily with exercise. You can do yoga which is especially stress-relieving, or go for a walk or run outside. If you are home-bound, then get creative with your workouts. If you need some ideas, check out social media. So many different people and celebrities are posting there “quarantine workouts” and there are a lot of great ideas out there! Whichever type of movement your body craves, make it a priority on a regular basis. This will proactively lower stress and keep you healthier and happier.
2. Try deep breathing and redirect thoughts. You may benefit from a “self-check.” This involves reframing the situation. For instance, choose to feel grateful for the blessings in your life, even though you are experiencing hardship or stressful times.
3. Take a break. When you feel overwhelmed consistently, for multiple days or weeks on end, you need a break to reset your mind and body. Maybe you need to take a weekend to rest or a vacation on a sandy beach. At some points in life it becomes a survival strategy, or at least a sanity strategy. Even a simple nice long nap can help relieve stress and make you feel refreshed.
4. Support your body nutritionally. Spoil yourself with a few special paleo treats and cut out sugars and white carbs (pizza, pasta, cereal, pastries, cookies). Pack in as many vegetables each day as you can. Vegetables like spinach, kale, red bell peppers, broccoli and avocado are packed with stress-relieving nutrition that your body craves. Consider doing the yeast-free eating program. Eat real food and avoid fast food and processed food. Your body will thank you and you will feel much better overall.
5. Take a hot bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate and can help relax your whole body. Dim the lights, light a candle and play some soothing music.
6. Plan FaceTime or Zoom sessions to talk with loved ones. If you are stuck at home and haven’t seen your family in a long time, plan regular times to visit with them. It helps decrease stress to stay connected with your family and friends.
7. Watch a funny movie or read a good book. Activities such as these help to keep your mind off of things and give you a much needed mental break.
8. Take stress relieving supplements to help your body optimize performance during stressful times.
The right supplements can support your body’s stress response for optimal health despite adverse or very demanding circumstances. Here are our top 5 vitamins for stress relief and how they work:
1. Magnesium Glycinate is essential for health and should be your first priority supplement during stressful times. About 400 enzymatic reactions in the body, including reactions affecting heartbeat, sleep, energy, hormone production and stress hormones, rely on proper levels of magnesium for optimal function. Stress, sweating a lot, coffee intake, alcohol intake, and eating carbs all deplete magnesium. When the body has low magnesium levels, it will tense up, which can cause a tension headache as well as cricks in the neck or muscle cramps, and even a heart attack.
2. Inositol is a water soluble B-vitamin that helps quiet brain chatter. It helps to be able to think about one or two things at a time and not twenty. Inositol is very effective at relieving mental stress from a busy mind. You’ll feel calmer and be able to think clearly about your next steps. It really helps.
3. Rhodiola is an adaptogenic herb shown to reduce stress. It also helps improve brain function during long or stressful days. Rhodiola can help you avoid drinking too much coffee, which could tank your adrenals and cause adrenal fatigue.
4. Phosphatidyl Serine is a fat soluble brain nutrient that helps improve memory and also reduces stress. It can actually help you get to sleep after a stressful day, and then you can remember your grocery list the next day! Nice.
5. 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan) helps reduce the anxiety we can sometimes feel in a stressful situation. When getting ready to go back to school, or getting ready for a move or another big life change, keep a bottle of 50 mg 5-HTP capsules in your bag. Take one 30 minutes before a meal, up to 3 times daily. It will brighten moods and boost memory. It even reduces carbohydrate cravings that often increase in stressful times. Also, if you take it at bedtime, it can help you fall asleep.
Stress is a natural part of life. They key is not letting yourself live in stress on a regular basis, so that you avoid serious health problems. Being proactive with stress relief through lifestyle changes and excellent nutrition are valuable life skills that increase health and happiness and are well worth your time. Make your health a priority today and write down a goal to implement one or two of these stress relieving tips as soon as possible.
We Are Here For You
At Hotze Vitamins, we are here for you. If you need additional support to help get your stress levels in check, you don’t have to do it alone. Call our Certified Holistic Nutritionists and Vitamin Consultants today at 281-646-1659.
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We are excited to announce that Dr. Hotze has formulated immune paks for kids, teens and adults to help the whole family boost their immune system and stay well. These immune paks contain a powerful comprehensive formula of crucial vitamins and minerals that support the immune system naturally. Call our Certified Holistic Nutritionists and Vitamin Consultants at 281-646-1659 to order your immune paks today.