I spent 2 days preparing for the storm waiting in lines for supplies and gas, changing plans and schedules, then 5 days confined to my home surrounded by constant, heavy rain, tornadoes, power outages and flood waters. I saw as others suffered and learned of calamity for miles. And the images…the images were surreal. Right here in my neighborhood, my city and state plus my hometown of Orange.
Even after the storm moved on, the worst wasn’t over. There was the crisis after the crisis… rising water from damn releases, lack of supplies and usual comforts, destruction, uncertainty, delays, political debates with finger pointing, victims suffering and disruptions to work/home routines plus the realization of loss of future income. But, there was also great displays of love and humanity, hope and shelter, heroes and heroines were born, plus great leadership, action and validation of our great identity as Texans, Christians and good people.
Stress demands a reaction. Extremity puts us out of our comfort zone then creates an opportunity. Stressors in the 21st century are common and constant, some even short lived but many are chronic like the wake left from Hurricane Harvey. How we relate to these stressors may wreck havoc on our health and mental well-being or enable us to rise higher and become more resilient. Creating a de-stressing routine, healthy coping skills along with a greater understanding of what we truly need creates the capacity to help ourselves and thus enables us to help others.
De-stressing is purposeful and not selfish. We must choose to de-stress. It won’t find us by accident. De-stressing is necessary for full health, weight/fat loss, good hormone production and future health. De-stressing is a way to build a boundary around ourselves for a moment to restore, rest and recover. Click here for the How to De-Stress document. These are some considerations when de-stressing:
- Having difficulty dealing with stress is common and normal. Notice and name what’s going on; your feelings, sensations, physical status. Sometimes you may recognize a range of emotions and behaviors, unproductively, fight or flight response like anger, anxiety, short-temper, or even numbness.
- Stress can occur even when things are going well! Our brain is designed to read the signals of danger and react fight or flight mode. This is the sympathetic nervous system at work. The problem in the 21st century is that we are no longer being chased by a tiger. When just watching a movie where someone is being chased by a tiger, we experience stress or a sympathetic response. Our brains are not good at distinguishing the difference between real and perceived threat.
- We need to do purposeful parasympathetic activities DAILY to allow our bodies to recover.
Click here for the How to De-Stress document.
- Stress effects our hormones. Stress hormones jump into action and prevent us from losing fat and making babies. And when we are in chronic stress, it harms our reproductive function and sex hormone production.
- Allow space for self-acceptance and self-kindness. Have compassion on yourself much like you do with others Be aware how your thoughts and feelings effect your body. Mind and body are one and the same.
- Nourish your body with proteins, fats and carbs in balance. Consume a wide variety of whole foods that are minimally processed and nutrient dense. Eat from a colorful array of fruits and vegetables. Limit sugars and caffeines. Feed your body real food. You may need more B Vitamins, magnesium and iron during high stress. Get these from foods when possible or from a magnesium bath.
- Stress makes us prone to emotional eating or drinking. We seek soothing foods/drinks high in sugars, fats, caffeine and salt. We need however, more nutrients, more water, and possibly even more calories during stressful times when metabolism gets revved up. This is a time to ensure you take your vitamins to eliminate deficiencies that may occur.
- Just as we need sleep for daily recovery, we need a day off for weekly recovery. We also need seasonal recovery time gained through vacations, retreats, get-aways or other changes of pace. Nourish your body with complete rest. Limit all electronics 1 – 2 hours before bedtime, sleep in cool and dark room.
- Stay active and move daily, but don’t over train. Movement is medicine and benefits your body in many ways releasing endorphins and allowing for good relaxation and sleep. Moving all the joints daily through full ranges is a great minimal movement ritual that is restorative and helps repair and rebuild. Resistance training to fatigue the muscles can release tension and anxiety.
- De-stressing may mean creating your own refuge. Your refuge can be your prayer time, a meal with a like-minded supportive family and friends, a room or location, an image, music or an environment that you create.
- Get back in your good routine and create new habits that promote self-care.
Build breaks for de-stressing daily in your calendar and stick to it religiously. The short time spent dedicated to yourself will repay you in a multitude of ways. Only then will you be healthy and whole enough to take care of others.
Want to build this habit and other fitness, nutrition and lifestyle habits in your life? Learn More HERE!!!
Here’s an INFOGRAPHIC from PN about Good Stress/Bad Stress (PF-printer friendly version, TF-tablet friendly version)
I am not equipped to give therapeutic counsel and can recommend to seek it out here. But for those of us who need to re-calibrate back to restored health and well-being, please read on.