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    What to Do When You’re Feeling Stressed

    By Patty Burke, Health & Life Coach, Owner Whole Health

    Despite our best efforts, sometimes life is just…a lot! When you’re feeling overwhelmed, the good news is there are still small, practical steps you can take to cope with stress and stay healthy.

    But first, why are we talking about stress?

    As if it’s not enough to live with stress, now we’ve got to talk about it too?! Agh…not fun!

    But the truth is that it is important to acknowledge stress so you can reduce it or cope with it a little better.

    Think of it like aiming for a 1% improvement…you may not be able to change the stressors in your life, but if you can manage the impact on your body 1% better, then you’ll stay healthier and be better able to handle the stress.

    Worthwhile, yes?

    What are some of the effects of stress on your body?

    • Stress increases cortisol production associated with weight gain (especially in the belly), an inability to lose weight or gain muscle and premature aging

    • Stress decreases nutrient absorption due to decreased enzymatic production from the stomach, pancreas and liver and decreased bile flow from the gall bladder

    • Stress increases nutrient excretion such as urinary loss of calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, chromium, selenium and microminerals

    • Stress decreases gut flora populations by destroying healthy intestinal bacteria and can lead to immune problems, skin disorders, nutrient deficiencies, and digestive distress

    • Stress increases salt retention which can lead to high blood pressure

    • Stress decreases the thyroid hormone which can negatively affect your metabolism

    • Stress decreases sex hormones which leads to loss of libido and low energy

    But you’re not reading this just to talk about problems, you’re reading to find solutions! So read on…

    How can I reduce or cope better with stress?

    Remember, since we can’t always control the stress in our lives, the goal is to reduce our experience of stress by even 1%.

    Here’s how you can do that, starting NOW:

    • Look at your calendar for the next 7 days. What’s one activity you’ve committed to that you can cancel?

    • Look at your to-do list. What’s one item you can delegate to someone else in the next 24 hours?

    • Consider your schedule today. Where can you fit in 20 minutes for yourself —where you’re not taking care of anyone else or being “productive”—so you can just relax and play and do something mindless?

    • Look at your calendar for tomorrow. Where can you fit in a 10-minute walk or Frisbee toss in your backyard? The fresh air and movement will help you cope waaay better with stress.

    • Before your next meal, try what we call the “5-5-7” breath. Inhale for a count of 5, hold your breath for a count of 5, then exhale for a count of 7. Repeat at least 3 times. This gives your body a chance to relax before your meal, which will increase your digestive capacity and help your body pull more nutrients from the food you’re eating.

    Whole Health Co specializes in providing customizable wellness services to support employee wellbeing. We offer a personalized approach to wellness, supporting the WHOLE person in mental and physical health, relationships, leadership, and resiliency.

    If you’re interested in helping your employees better cope with the stressors in their lives, so they can be happier, healthier, and more productive, reach out to our team today.