Throughout our lives, we are bound to encounter periods of stress. It's a fact of life - it won't always be smooth sailing and sunny skies. Challenges pop up every now and again that we must face, and sometimes it may feel like they're arising more often than not.
While stress is something that everyone experiences at one point or another, it is our reaction to it that will turn it into either an unpleasant blip in the week or an ongoing nuisance.
When you're stressed, it's natural to feel frazzled or irritable.
But, generally we're able to soldier on and move past it. Occasionally, though, something will cause us to be stressed for a longer period of time. It might be a challenging project at work, family dramas or an ongoing confrontation - something about it just proves too hard to get over quickly. During those times of ongoing stress, you might notice that your body starts to react.
This is why it is so important that during these periods of prolonged stress, we identify what is going on and take steps to manage and ideally rectify it.
How Does the Body React to Stress?
Everyone is different when it comes to how their bodies react to times of increased pressure and stress. While one person may experience headaches, another may suffer with disturbed sleep or insomnia.
When you are stressed, you may experience one or more of the following1,2:
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- Rapid/ shallow breathing
- Catching frequent colds or other small infections
- Reduced appetite
- Feeling like your heart is pounding
- Low sex drive
- Muscle tension
If the stressful period is short, experiencing some of the above might be nothing more than a mild annoyance. However, if you are stressed for a longer stretch of time, these reactions to stress may be more harmful to our body's physical and mental health .
Difficulty sleeping and a weakened immune system are two effects of stress that, if left unchecked, may cause you some trouble.
The last thing any of us want when we are stressed is to come down with a cold.
How Can You Help Reduce the Impacts of Stress?
As we said before, stress is a part of life. That's why it's important for every one of us to establish ways that help us to manage and de-stress during those tense times.
Talk it Out
First and foremost, if you are stressed, one of the best ways to overcome it is to face it. Put a name to it. Feeling stressed isn't a sign of weakness, and those around you in your support system want to help you feel yourself again.
If you leave your stress to sit and fester quietly in the background, it can make the problems seem bigger than they actually are.
Take some time out to talk to a trusted friend, family member or mental health professional and let them know what's getting you frazzled. You may find it soothing to unload your worries onto a sympathetic ear, and they might have some words of wisdom that could help your situation.
In the heat of the moment when you are feeling the pressure, take a moment to gather yourself. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, notice you have probably been breathing shallowly. Allow the oxygen to move deep into the lobes of your lungs oxygenating your body. Breathe slowly and deeply for a few minutes then open your eyes and tackle your next task, it's amazing how a few deep breaths can quickly clear a frazzled mind.
When you are stressed, you might feel as though you are snowballing out of control, which might make you feel overwhelmed. And, as anyone who has been overwhelmed can tell you, it's hard to think clearly when you're feeling that way.
Even if it's just 5 minutes, take some time away from the situation to recoup your thoughts.
Take a brisk walk around the block or go to your local cafe or corner store and get a cool drink. Take yourself away from the stressful situation and give yourself a chance to think about it clearly - the path ahead might be easier to find than you think.
Get Into Good Bedtime Habits
Getting enough sleep at night is vital to your general health and wellbeing. If you're having difficulty sleeping due to stress, try to find and get into a good bedtime routine to help give yourself the best chance of a good night sleep .
Make your bedroom your safe space.
No work, no looking at devices, nothing that causes you stress - if you can avoid it. When you're winding down for bed, do things that help you to relax. Try a nice hot bath, 10 minutes of relaxation yoga or listening to relaxation music or a podcast. It may help to take your mind off your worries so you may drift off to sleep. If you do need a helping hand, there are a number of natural health products you could try that may help you sleep as well.
Eat a Healthy Diet
While being stressed may have you craving a box of chocolates or a treat from your local bakery, try and resist. If you are stressed, your immune system may be lowered, making an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals essential. Ensuring you are getting your Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) of nutrients may help support your body to function optimally and stave off the colds that could otherwise bring you down.
More than helping to fuel your immune system, eating a healthy, balanced diet may help to give you more energy.
Self medicating with sugars and fatty, processed foods may give you a quick burst of energy, but the subsequent crash will leave you feeling tired and in need of another hit. Best give your body a fighting chance by eating good, nutritionally balanced meals and unprocessed foods. If you're concerned that your diet may be lacking, book an appointment with a qualified, nutritionally trained health care professional to help you to explore additional sources of vitamins and minerals.
Help Yourself to Overcome Your Stress
As difficult it might be, try to not be your own worst enemy when it comes to overcoming your stress. Stressing about stress isn't going to get you anywhere, but making small steps every day in a positive direction may help you to overcome your stresses.
If you feel as though you could use some additional support during times of stress, anxiety or tension, Brauer's Calm range may help to relax you.
Made with homeopathic Passion Flower*, it is available in a convenient and discrete oral spray and tablets that you can take with you wherever you go. If you would like to learn more about Brauer Calm, you can find more information here.
Stress is a natural part of life, but it shouldn't overtake your life. If you are concerned about your stress levels or mental health, pay a visit to a professional to discuss ways forward and coping mechanisms. Lifeline is also an excellent immediate resource if you are ever feeling overwhelmed and need to talk to someone - visit their website to chat online or call them on 13 11 14.
1Healthline, June 5 2017, The Effects of Stress on Your Body, https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1.
2Mayo Clinic, April 28 2016, Stress Symptoms: Effects On Your Body and Behaviour, https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-symptoms/art-20050987
*Contains homeopathic ingredients. Always read the label and use only as directed. If symptoms persist, see a healthcare professional. Contains ethanol (Oral Liquid and Oral Spray). Contains sugar (Oral Tablets and Oral Liquid). Oral Liquid contains potassium sorbate.