Stress, it’s everywhere!
It’s a natural process that we need, we would die with out. The problem happens when we are in a chronic state of stress and don’t have the ability to relax and regenerate. It’s these days that we are in a constant stream of stressors from every aspect of life that makes it so hard to relax.
There are different types of stress and they can be environmental, nutritional, physical, and psychological.
The overload of stress creates digestive issues, chronic tightness in muscles, and inflammation – the root cause of most disease and health issues.
Stress makes EVERY condition worse, causes weight gain/inability to lose weight, injuries, fertility issues, chronic sickness, and even make you type 2 diabetic (for a short period).
There are things that can be done though!
You can lower your stress, regain your energy, and take back your life! You can make a small change or a drastic change.
Don’t think that making a huge is more important than a small change, you can have a huge impact from small changes.
What happens during stress?
Our stress response, often called “Fight or flight”, is our physiological response to stress.
When we have a stressful response (what we think or almost getting hit by a car), our adrenals release hormones to prepare us to run or protect us. Heart rate increase, the blood goes to your muscles/brain and less to your digestive system, and your eyes widen.
Once that stress is gone, you should be returning to the “rest and digest” stage. If there are too many stresses, it makes it incredibly hard to do so.
Stress gets a pretty bad name because it’s not all bad, we actually need it.
Different types of daily stressors
Psychological – Our thoughts and emotions, lifestyle, relationships. Anxiety, Suppressing different emotions, contstant worry
Environmental – Poor air quality, toxins/chemicals in water supply, body and cleaning products
Nutritional – Chemical, pesiticides, and herbicides in food. Typically pre-packaged foods.
Physical – Too much exercise, little amount of movement
The problem with stress is that we don’t see it. It can have real implications in our health and is a huge contributing factor to disease, pain, and well-being.
Stress will change your breathing habits, it will be shallower and more rapid. You won’t be able to take that full breath, it’ll increase tension in the shoulders, and may even cause pain/disease if it’s long-term.
It’s more than just that though, you can experience…
• Chronically sick
• Digestive issues – constipation, nausea, diarrhea
• Sleep problems – difficulty falling/staying asleep, insomnia
• Decrease in sexual desire – Fertility issues
• Low energy and skin issues
• Muscle tension
• Much more…
Nutritional Guidelines To Crush Stress
**Always check with your doctor before making diet changes
Opt for more alkaline and Vitamin B foods.
Instead of stressing what foods NOT to eat, you can start by increasing foods that will be beneficial to your health and give you the energy to combat the daily stress of life. Alkaline foods are typically fruits and vegetables; especially raw, green veggies.
Getting enough B vitamins from your diet and/or supplements can improve your ability to cope with stress. We actually couldn’t last very long without B vitamins due to how the help with adrenal function.
People who are chronically stressed or dealing with adrenal symptoms are encouraged to supplement with a Vitamin B complex. There are more than just B vitamins that will help, here are some others.
- B-complex vitamins: almonds, oranges, bananas, oatmeal, avocados, and asparagus
- Magnesium: spinach, bananas, nuts, pumpkin seeds, and dark chocolate
- Calcium: almond milk, spinach, yogurt, broccoli, kale, edamame, and figs
- Vitamin C: oranges, blueberries, lemons, and limes
- Vitamin D: sunlight
- Omega-3 fatty acids: nuts, salmon, and tuna
Add fermented foods
Our favourite hidden food group. Sauerkraut, kimchi, kombucha, and kefir all contain probiotics which help the bacteria in your gut.
The “gut-brain axis” is important in regulating the stress response.
More research is piling up with the microbiota (bacteria in your gut) is emerging as a key player in this control.
There’s different ways that it communicates and they are slowly being unravelled. The vagus nerve, gut hormone signaling, immune system, tryptophan metabolism, and different molecules that they produce as a by-product.
Fermented foods can improve digestion which would alleviate some of the nutritional stress involved.
Ditch the chemical stress
Can you try more organic foods? Conventional produce can contain toxic residues from a variety of herbicides and pesticides. This makes it more difficult to digest foods (which limit the nutrients available to fight stress) and creates it’s own stress in the body to attack.
A caffeine switch
Overloaded with the coffee? If you’re craving or needing the coffee to get you through the day, try having a matcha tea latte with a nut milk. You still get that caffeine kick but with added antioxidants you find in green tea.
Try this recipe:
• 1/2 cup hot water
• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk or coconut milk
• 1-2 teaspoons matcha tea powder
• 1 tablespoon of MCT oil (helps with brain fog)
• 1 scoop of protein powder
1 tablespoon of local honey or maple syrup
Add into a high speed blender for 45-60s (or until frothy). Add the sweetener and MCT oil near the end.
Add ingredients into a pot and stir continuously until frothy
Superfoods and supplements
Sitting down at the end of the day or looking out from your deck is a great way to relax. This doesn’t have to be the only time though, drinking it throughout the day can be beneficial as well.
Some of our favourite teas for nutritional and emotional stress are chamomile, peppermint, or a blend.
Green tea will contain some caffeine but it also contains polyphenols. These antioxidants help combat the oxidative stress (like rusting in the body). The better our cells regenerate, the less stress and premature aging we experience.
Adaptogens are either a plants or herb that supports your adrenal system. They are beneficial for your hormones, so you can manage different stress’s from day to day life. They adapt to whatever your body needs and have the ability to regulate your system either up or down (depending what you need).
There are many adaptogens and some work better for your body than others.
A few of our top adaptogens are
- Holy basil
- Chaga, Cordyceps
- Panax Gingseng
Moving your body either through specific exercise or just movement is great. It can help to revitalize your body and tissues, especially if you’re sitting often. You can do really anything you want that gets the body moving or increasing the heart rate. It may be beneficial to spend more time in nature though. It’s been proven that spending time in nature to improve mood, decrease stress and anxiety, and boost feelings of happiness – try going for a hike or walk in a wooded area!
Tip: Don’t have access to a forest or nature? One study showed a decrease in stress by having a green nature background as there desktop. We suggest adding a “woody” essential oil around as well!
People, Places, and Presence
Choose people and places that leave you feeling relaxed and energized. Limit the amount of people that cause you stress and anxiety. It’s simple as going for a walk with a friend outdoors, adding indoor plants to your work/home, or wearing a bracelet with a lavender essential oil. Where ever you are though, be present. By focusing on the present moment, we can release anxiety, worries, and stress while increasing our levels of happiness!
Get rid of environmental toxins
We’re bombarded by environmental toxins, it’s either from body products, pollutants from cars/ indoor smells, and visual population with ads. You can look into the “environmental working group” for everything toxic – food and environment. Try to use more toxin-free cleaning products, essential oils, and “detoxing” from your environment
If you’re going to make only one change, this would be it. We aren’t able to handle stress effectively when we are lacking in quality sleep. You don’t necessarily need 8 hours, it’s amount of deep sleep that you get.
Make sure that you prioritize your sleeping habits, it’s critical for optimal health.
Change your thinking. Change your health
According to the Berkeley Well-being Institute, you can reframe a stressful event into something more positive. I can know it sounds like an impossible task at the time but it’s possible. It’s called ” positive reappraisal and, with practice, you can see stress as a friend, increase your happiness and resilience while reducing those negative emotions.
I use to get pretty bad anxiety while taking tests in college but I decided to make a change because it was controlling my life more than I wanted. What I did was change my mindset and made it more of a “challenge” rather than a stress. There’s still that stress if I have to write tests but I don’t want the stress completely gone. Stress is actually a good thing when it comes to test taking. There was a study that showed meditation before a big test resulted in WORSE marks!
Studies show that having a mindful practice has psychological, social, and physical benefits! A mindful practice is just tuning your thoughts into what you’re sensing in the present moment, rather than rehashing the past or worrying about the future.