10 steps to protect your body from stress
This is one of my most challenging obstacles when it comes to my health. Since my original diagnosis with CFS my body has become very sensitive to stress and small amounts create largely noticeable changes in my health including my energy levels, digestion, cognitive function, immune system, sleep patterns, skin and circulation.
Stress in small amounts is a healthy human reaction, however over used it can become chronically dangerous to our body.We can not always avoid the stresses that appear in our lives, however we can reduce the impact these situations or circumstances have on our health.
While I am not always perfect at them, these are my steps to protecting my body from stress:
1. When you wake in the morning sit up, take 3 deep breaths and think of 3 things you are grateful for. Starting your day positively, helps the stresses seem less important & calms the body.
2. Use your morning routine as a meditative practice. Focus completely on being in the present. Don’t allow your mind to follow stressful thoughts such as ‘I must do this’ ‘Cant forget that’ ‘oh I hope the presentation today is good enough’. If something repetitively comes up, write it down and tell yourself I will deal with it in 15 minutes or this is not a constructive thought. When it’s not just you that you have to get ready, it can be a little harder. Still focus on only the present and what you are going at that time. Once that task is done, take a deep breath and onto the next task.
3. Nourish your body with lots of antioxidants, good fats and plenty of fresh fruit and veg. Make sure you only eat in a relaxed state and you thoroughly chew each mouthful, enjoying each ingredient you put in your mouth.
4. Sometimes you have to say no! Assess the importance of everything on your to do list and prioritise. If the house doesn’t get vacuumed that week who cares, if you can’t make every social occasion your friends/family will understand.
5. Schedule in relaxing ‘you’ time. A yoga class, a walk or run in the outdoors, a peaceful cup of tea, listen to music, meditation, reading, a bath- what ever you enjoy and helps you relax. Try and chose ‘me’ time in the outdoors as much as possible and a balance of active and restful.
6. When ever you feel slightly over whelmed, anxious or stressed, STOP, take 3-10 deep breaths, tell your self something positive and continue with a calmer body and mind. Daily mindfulness practices are also useful.
7. Avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol particularly when your stressed.
8. Laugh- watch a funny movie, play with your kids, socialise with friends and family or just laugh at what ever your stressing yourself over.
9. Once you have finished work for the day, make a conscious effort to shut off from it. Anything important you remember, write it down and clear it from your mind.
10. Create and maintain a consistent sleeping pattern.