STRESS! In a world where most of us are scheduled from the moment we wake up until the moment we go to bed each night, stress has become just another part of our lives. Many recognize there are long term consequences to stress, but taking time for ourselves is something that is foreign to most. I am reminded of how important it is to first take care of myself every time I fly. The flight attendant reminds us in their announcements that in the event of a loss in cabin pressure that we are to secure our own masks first – THEN help children or those requiring assistance. Clearly we cannot help anyone else if we are incapacitated – so why is our day to day lives treated differently?
When I speak about the effects of stress on their body, many are surprised to learn that stress is more than just a hectic schedule or horrible work environment. Stress is physical, chemical and emotional. Physical stressors occur from poor posture, prolonged sitting, underactivity, even over-activity or poorly supported feet. Chemical stressors are the toxins in and around our environment– including what we eat or what we put on our body. It is unrealistic to remove stress from our lives entirely – but, balancing those stressors are critical to avoid the long-term consequences of prolonged stress.
Here are a few tips to take care of your body:
1) Get enough sleep. A recent study showed that one night of less than six hours of sleep negatively affects the expression of more than 700 genes the next day – leading to weight gain, weakened immunity, increased inflammation, increased oxidative stress, decreased cell repair and increased insulin resistance.
2) Consider chiropractic and massage therapy. The body is a self-healing, self-regulating system when it is functioning optimally. With the amount of stress that we put our bodies through in any given day, chiropractic and massage therapy are no longer considered luxuries.
3) Get rid of the chemicals when possible. Start by looking at your labels for foods you consume. When you see a word you cannot pronounce in the list of ingredients – eliminate it. Same goes for what you put on the largest organ of our body – the skin. Look for products that do not have any added chemicals. If you can’t ingest your products, perhaps you should question why you would use it on your skin.
4) Yoga and Meditation. Yoga is about creating balance in the body through developing both strength and flexibility through various poses or postures, as well as a focus on breathing. As a chiropractor, I see the implications of stress on the body every day in my office. When your body is not functioning optimally, it becomes vulnerable to injury and dis-ease. Rarely do you see people get sick when they are eating well, taking care of their body and under no emotional stress. Keep this in mind the next time you elect to prioritize everyone else over yourself!
Want to learn more? Ladies are invited to join us for our November Women's Series on Monday, November 7 for Dr. Walker's Stress Talk (just in time for the holidays!). Learn more and RSVP today!