Do you ever feel like you’re stuck going through the same cycles, functioning on autopilot and unable to catch a break to rest, recharge and refocus? Sometimes it can feel like life asks too much of us. All the stresses and demands of life can leave us feeling ungrounded, stuck in a vicious cycle, and unable to think clearly and act purposefully. What can we do when we find ourselves in that tough spot?
First of all, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed – let’s normalise that. You are not weak, lazy or soft for feeling stressed and overwhelmed. It is a normal response to life situations that take too much energy from us, emotionally, physically and mentally. That said, feeling overwhelmed still sucks. So what can we do about it?
As the wise Adam Wong (an Osteopath from Edge Healthcare) said in our very first podcast about stress – you can only change what you understand. So, let’s start by understanding more about stress.
Here are 3 things you need to know about stress
- Stress is a natural bodily response; It’s not necessarily bad
It is our body’s fight/flight mechanism that helps us respond to potential harm. It is a useful response because it helps to keep us safe (think about how the flight response gives us a sudden burst of energy to run away from dangers like, say, a really hungry lion). It’s only bad if it is maladaptive and chronically in your system.
- Stress isn’t only in your mind, it’s in your body as well
What this means is that you can’t just make stress go away by thinking “I’m mentally strong, I can go on and on and tough it out.” Yes, you may be mentally strong, but it doesn’t change the fact that your body still experiences the stress. You need to address that stress at a bodily level and complete your stress response cycle.
- Whether the stress is physical or emotional, your body responds in the same way
Your body can’t tell the difference between being threatened by a hungry lion, stressing out over an exam, or an emotionally painful breakup. It will still respond by flooding your body with stress hormones.
“Just because you don’t think about the stress, doesn’t mean that it is gone from your body.” – Dr. Shirley Mirpuri, Naturopathic Doctor
What you can do about it
- Learn to tune in to your body’s cues
- Don’t compare your stress to other people’s stress. Instead validate what you are feeling and give your body the care it needs. That can look like going for a walk, doing some yoga, silly dancing to your favourite track – find what works for you.
- Add mindfulness to your routine to bring yourself to the present, even if it’s just noticing yourself brushing your teeth in the morning for ten seconds.
Stress can manifest in our bodies in different ways such as poor digestion, pain in your body, muscle tightness, feeling sluggish after you eat and having poor sleep. Our bodies give us cues to our physical and mental wellbeing, and we need to learn to understand what it is telling us, so we can address the causes at the root level.
If you want to learn more about how to tune in to your body’s cues and learn to manage stress for wellness in the long run, join us for a 4-day wellness workshop to “Be Your Best Self”!
*Special thanks to Shirley and Adam, from Edge Healthcare, who kindly contributed these golden nuggets of knowledge you see in this newsletter article.