Finding ourselves under pressure has become a normal part of life. But when it gets overwhelming and leads to stress, existing problems can feel worse and lead to mental health problems. Ignoring stress can also be damaging to your health.
Today, on National Stress Awareness Day, TLL spoke to the experts to find out what can cause these feelings and how to give your body a little zen in times of stress.
Going through the change
Work has enough stressors, without going through the menopause, as well. Jacqueline Harvey, wellness expert and author, says, “The changes to the sex hormones can have an effect on the thyroid and adrenal glands that begin to take over to produce these hormones, which govern our moods. A side effect can be that the adrenal glands can compensate by producing more adrenalin and cortisol, the stress hormones.”
Top tip: Jacqueline recommends meditating. “The initial response to stress starts on the mind, before the stress hormones have a chance to take over. Meditation can train the body to not trigger the fight or flight response. Once it’s triggered it is very hard to pull it back. Meditation also promotes feelings of wellbeing and harmony.”
Give yourself enough energy to feel in charge
It’s extremely easy to feel swamped at work, with tasks coming out of your ears. Take a breath and give yourself the little boost you might need. When you’re aiming to increase your concentration and sharpness you can aid your mind with a good combination of nutrients.
Top tip: Try taking a superfood supplement, specially designed to support the modern lifestyle, to help avoid oxidative stress and reduce fatigue. By releasing energy naturally, it can help concentration and balance the nervous system to help you hit the ground running.
Run the stress away
Why not run to work or go for a run on your lunch break? Research has revealed that not only does running reduce stress levels; it can also improve learning and protect your memory. So in addition to providing de-stressing benefits, running could also help you to be more proficient in the workplace.
Top tip: If you’re not feeling up to a run, any type of exercise can help reduce stress, by improving circulation, boosting energy and releasing feel-good endorphins that help enhance mood and reduce stress. Nutritionist Michela Vagnini recommends, “Just 10 minutes of movement helps stimulate wake-promoting hormones. Try stretching while you wait for your coffee to brew, doing lunges while you’re brushing your teeth and if you have a dog, take them for a 10-minute walk to start off your day”.
Switch off and catch some Zs
Stress and sleep are closely related; not getting enough sleep means we can find it harder to function at work, and when we are stressed we can find it harder to get to sleep.
Top tip: “Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ and is needed to relax our muscles and nerves, which helps us to fall into a peaceful sleep,” explains nutritionist Cassandra Barns, who recommends taking magnesium in supplement form.
Soothe stress levels with hemp
Meeting deadlines, coping with rush hour, and dealing with tricky customers can all cause feelings of stress and anxiety. Finding a natural remedy for coping can give you the support your mind and body needs.
Top tip: Hemp oil contains a kind of essential fatty acid that is thought to lower levels of depression and anxiety, and growing evidence shows that taking hemp oil, supplements or capsules could help to support healthy stress response.
Jacqueline Harvey is a wellness expert, fitness trainer and author of Body Cycles (www.jacquelineharvey.co.uk)