Have you ever had one of those weeks where you feel like you’re holding a stick and everyone looks like a pinata? And, unfortunately, with your crazy schedule, you just don’t have time for a nervous breakdown?
Ah yes, STRESS…
Stress is considered to be the root of all disease, it shuts down digestion, detoxification and immune function and undermines resilience.
The Autonomic Nervous System has two states– The Sympathetic State or the “Fight or Flight” Response or “rest and digest’ the Parasympathetic state. Stress activates the fight or flight response, which shuts down everything not relevant to immediate survival – including digestion, detoxification and immune function, impairing resilience.
To effectively manage stress, It is critical to shift out of this Sympathetic State, your nervous system’s survival mode, to identify and survive threats before they derail you, shutting down your ability to focus on anything outside of the pressing danger.
The easiest way to do this is to intentionally force yourself to pause and activate your Parasympathetic nervous system or ‘rest and digest.
Here are my top 3 tips for building up stress resistance.
1. Breathe into the Parasympathetic
My favourite way to stimulate the Parasympathetic nervous system is to practice alternate nostril breathing, A fantastic mindfulness and relaxation method to help calm the body and the mind. You can do this breathing exercise anytime but aim for 10 minutes to really feel the benefits.
Sit quietly somewhere you don’t need to give any tasks your full attention.
Bring your right hand up to your nose and move your forefinger and middle finger out of the way. Place your thumb on your right nostril.
With this nostril covered, close your eyes and exhale fully and slowly through your left nostril.
Once you’ve exhaled completely, release your right nostril and put your ring finger on the left nostril.
Breathe in deeply and slowly from the right side. Make sure your breath is smooth and continuous.
Once you’ve inhaled completely, exhale through your right nostril.
Release your ring finger and close your right nostril with your thumb again. Breathe in fully and exhale fully from your left nostril.
Repeat the full process two or more times.
2. MOVE into The Parasympathetic State!
Any kind of movement enhances the flow of blood and lymph, releasing natural feel-good endorphins. It also helps route blood flow to your brain to increase your physical and mental energy levels. If you suffer from debilitating Brain-Fog, and let’s face it, who doesn’t? Moderate and regular exercise decreases cortisol levels and reduces anxiety and increase daytime energy. Squeeze in a quick run or 20 minute HIIT routine, or, if you have more time go for a long walk or prioritize your favourite yoga or pilates class.
3. Another way to address your stress is to Prioritize Good Sleep.
Sleep restores our emotional brain circuits, supporting healthy levels of mood supporting hormones, including serotonin, dopamine, and cortisol, that affect your tools of resilience, including your thought, mood, and energy. Getting poor sleep regularly can lead to increased stress, high inflammation, and lower immunity. In your deep sleep, you have zero stress hormones. Your immune system is at its highest. Your system is repairing all the tissue damage. Your body is digesting, your brain is improving and you’re fighting off infections. This is why it’s so important for your immunity, to make sleep a priority.
- Here are some things to consider to help you get a good nights sleep.
- Reduce noise however possible, try wearing (comfortable) earplugs, wax is best.
- Make sure to go to bed and wake up around the same time each day to help your circadian rhythm.
- Make sure your bedroom is a safe sanctuary with a comfortable bed, bedding, and pillows.
- Make sure your bedroom is cool and dark. You can always snuggle into your duvet for more warmth and comfort but, nobody can sleep when they’re overheated. And, where there’s light, there are distractions.
- Develop a nighttime routine that supports relaxation, try board games, reading, relaxing music, crossword puzzles, crafts, colouring, meditation, and journaling.
- Avoid electronics and calm down with Chamomile tea, simple, but this herb is a great remedy for relaxation.
- Avoid Overeating. a heavy meal means your digestive system will be working overtime to break down your dinner. So, If you are going to have a heavier dinner, just do so long before going to bed.