We all have some level of stress, right?
It may be temporary (acute), or long-term (chronic).
Acute stress usually won’t mess with your health too much. It is your body’s natural reaction to circumstances, and can even be life-saving.
Then, when the “threat” (a.k.a. “stressor”) is gone, the reaction subsides, and all is well.
It's the chronic stress that's a problem. You see, your body has specific stress reactions. If these stress reactions are triggered every day or many times a day that can mess with your health.
Stress (and stress hormones) can have a huge impact on your health.
Let's dive into the "stress mess."
Mess #1 - Increased risk of heart disease and diabetes
Why save the best for last? Anything that increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes (both serious, chronic conditions) needs to be discussed.
Stress increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes by promoting chronic inflammation, affecting your blood "thickness," as well as how well your cells respond to insulin.
Mess #2 - Immunity
Did you notice that you get sick more often when you're stressed? Maybe you get colds, cold sores, or even the flu more frequently when you are stressed?
Well, that's because stress hormones affect the chemical messengers (cytokines) secreted by immune cells consequently, they are less able to do their jobs effectively.
Mess #3 - "Leaky Gut."
Stress can contribute to leaky gut, otherwise known as "intestinal permeability." These "leaks" can then allow partially digested food, bacteria or other things to be absorbed into your body.
The stress hormone cortisol can open up tiny holes by loosening the grip your digestive cells have to each other.
Picture this: Have you ever played "red rover?" It's where a row of children hold hands while one runs at them to try to break through. Think of those hands as the junctions between cells. When they get loose, they allow things to get in that should be passing right though. Cortisol (produced in excess in chronic stress) is a strong player in red rover!
Mess #4 - Sleep Disruption
Stress and sleep go hand-in-hand, wouldn’t you agree? It’s often difficult to sleep when you have very important (and stressful) things on your mind.
And when you don't get enough sleep, it affects your energy level, memory, ability to think, and mood.
More and more research is showing just how important sleep is for your health. Not enough sleep (and too much stress) aren't doing you any favors.
Reducing stressors in your life is an obvious first step.
●Put less pressure on yourself?
●Ask for help?
●Delegate to someone else?
●Finally, make that decision?
No matter how hard you try, you won’t eliminate stress altogether. So, here are a few things you can try to help reduce its effect on you:
●Walk in nature
●Unplug (read a book, take a bath)
●Exercise (yoga, tai chi, etc.)
●Connect with loved ones
Stress is a huge and often underappreciated factor in our health. It can impact your physical body much more than you might realize.
Stress has been shown to increase the risk for heart disease and diabetes, affect your immune system, digestion and sleep.
There are things you can do to both reduce stressors and also to improve your response to it.
You can ditch that stress mess!
Recipe (relaxing chamomile): Chamomile Peach Iced Te
1 cup steeped chamomile tea, cooled
1 peach, diced
Place both ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Add ice if desired.
Serve & enjoy!
Tip: You can use fresh or frozen peaches.
Have you ever noticed how heavy your chest feels when your surroundings are cluttered and in disarray?
Millions of Americans struggle with clutter. What you, and they, may not realize is that clutter can affect your mind and body – your health.
Having a cluttered home can lead to more stress, anxiety, and lack of mental energy. It puts your mind in a low self-control mindset, causing you to be more likely to overeat and make other sabotaging choices. So fascinating how much our surroundings affect us, isn't it!?
On top of all of this, a cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind, making it more difficult to think clearly. Basically, you are unable to work through the clutter which makes your brain struggle with processing information. This can make it hard to remember things and problem-solving.
Clutter drains you of energy and makes you feel tired. When you have to look at clutter, you most likely feel overwhelmed. You know you need to do something but you don’t have the energy. Take time to clear the clutter from one small area. It can help you and your family feel more energetic and more inspired to work on decluttering in other areas.
Did you know clutter could be making you sick physically? No one wants to think about it, but clutter can be the breeding ground for germs, dust, mold and mildew. It could even hide a problem with mice. If you do not believe clutter can make you sick, think of the stress mentioned above. If you have too much stress, you may develop high blood pressure. Dust and mold can cause allergies or worse.
Clutter can also affect your body weight. People with clutter are usually sedentary while those with an uncluttered home are active. Part of this may be because the clutter in the home makes it hard for you to move around freely. You may also be using clutter, like being overweight, as a means to protect yourself. Clutter keeps people at bay and so there is little chance that you will be hurt.
Now that you understand some of the ways clutter can affect your mind and body, consider what you are going to do about it. Will you take a step forward and begin decluttering, or will you let it continue to rule your life and that of your family?
The New Year is the perfect time to begin decluttering your home and starting fresh. What room needs decluttering the most in your home?
Clutter can be dangerous. Learn how clutter can affect your mind and body by reading this article today
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The holidays are over and the new year is here -- a special and exciting time where we make ambitious plans for our next twelve months and dream of the possibilities. The most popular resolution is improving health, and we usually are quite ready after the holidays. As tasty as the holiday tidings are, they leave us feeling a little less on track with our goals than we'd like.
Those new healthy resolutions don't have to be complicated, and they don't have to end before February even arrives. The key to looking and feeling your best is to keep it uncomplicated and simply focus on clean eating. In case you've heard the term "clean eating" but haven't quite understood what it means -- clean eating is all about consuming healthy, whole foods and cutting out the processed junk. Whether you’re ready to jumpstart your clean eating now or you’re wondering what it takes to get started, I’ve got super-simple steps for a no-fail progression into clean eating.
1. Focus on your inner motivation
Whether you’re determined to race in the Boston Marathon next year, or you have seen first-hand the damages done by not eating well through relatives or friends that have suffered as a result of their eating habits. Whatever it is that is motivating you to eat clean, bring it into your direct focus so you will be more successful in sticking to your clean eating plan.
2. Reevaluate what you’re currently eating
Before you begin your clean eating journey, it helps to journal about what you’re eating before beginning. This way, you can truly see what it is you are eating and look for patterns. After the stressful end of the week push at the office, you might notice you are more prone to ordering pizza, and you can take steps to head that off at the pass rather than fall into the same pitfall time and time again.
3. Set realistic, measurable and specific goals
When people make changes to things in their lives such as a change to their eating habits, they can set themselves up for significant failures if they don’t take it step by step. This means that if you want to be successful in the long-term, you should tackle one or two new things every 1-2 weeks, so you have a better chance of sticking to it. Don’t just say you’ll stop eating desserts forever. Instead, set a goal of only eating one small dessert per week, and go from there to decrease it further. It’s realistic, measurable and very specific.
4. Clean out your pantry
Sadly, most American pantries are filled with processed foods. A good rule of thumb is to cut out anything that contains more than five ingredients on the label, and anything unnatural should go. If you have a lot of unopened items, donate them to a shelter.
5. Refocus your grocery shopping strategy
We’re creatures of habit, every one of us. When we go to the supermarket, we usually follow the same path every time. Shake things up and head straight for the produce section. You really should be avoiding almost all of the middle aisles of your supermarket anyway because that’s where those processed food pitfalls lurk!
6. Master meal prep
One of the easiest ways to dive right into clean eating is to prep your meals. You’ll find tons of healthy meal prep plans online that even give you shopping lists to use. If time is a factor, look for crockpot recipes that require you to dump in the whole foods in the morning and come home to a hot, delicious, clean and healthy meal every night!
As you can tell, it only takes small changes over time to create a sustainable, healthy lifestyle. I’m here to cheer you on every step of the way, hit reply and let me know how you are feeling, and what you’d like to accomplish as your first step. I’d love to hear your plans.