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Living the Active Life

STRESS

What are some of the most common causes of stress?

Stress can arise for a variety of reasons. Stress can be brought about by a traumatic accident, death, or emergency situation. Stress can also be a side effect of a serious illness or disease.
There is also stress associated with daily life, the workplace, and family responsibilities. It’s hard to stay calm and relaxed in our hectic lives. As women, we have many roles: spouse, mother, caregiver, friend, and/or worker. With all we have going on in our lives, it seems almost impossible to find ways to de-stress. But it’s important to find those ways. Your health depends on it.


What are some early signs of stress?

Stress can take on many different forms, and can contribute to symptoms of illness. Common symptoms include headache, sleep disorders, difficulty concentrating, short-temper, upset stomach, job dissatisfaction, low morale, depression, and anxiety.


How does stress affect my body and my health?

Research is starting to show the serious effects of stress on our bodies. Stress triggers changes in our bodies and makes us more likely to get sick. It can also make problems we already have worse.
It can play a part in these problems:
  • trouble sleeping
  • headaches
  • constipation
  • diarrhea
  • irritability
  • lack of energy
  • lack of concentration
  • eating too much or not at all
  • anger
  • sadness
  • higher risk of asthma & arthritis flare-ups
  • tension
  • stomach cramping
  • stomach bloating
  • skin problems, like hives
  • depression
  • anxiety
  • weight gain or loss
  • heart problems
  • high blood pressure
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • diabetes
  • neck and/or back pain
  • less sexual desire
  • harder to get pregnant


How can I help handle my stress?

Don’t let stress make you sick. As women, we tend to carry a higher burden of stress than we should. Often we aren’t even aware of our stress levels. Listen to your body, so that you know when stress is affecting your health. Here are ways to help you handle your stress.
Relax
It’s important to unwind. Each person has her own way to relax. Some ways include deep breathing, yoga, meditation, and massage therapy. If you can’t do these things, take a few minutes to sit, listen to soothing music, or read a book.
Make time for yourself
It’s important to care for yourself. Think of this as an order from your doctor, so you don’t feel guilty! No matter how busy you are, you can try to set aside at least 15 minutes each day in your schedule to do something for yourself, like taking a bubble bath, going for a walk, or calling a friend.
Sleep
Sleeping is a great way to help both your body and mind. Your stress could get worse if you don’t get enough sleep. You also can’t fight off sickness as well when you sleep poorly. With enough sleep, you can tackle your problems better and lower your risk for illness. Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.
Eat right
Try to fuel up with fruits, vegetables, and proteins. Good sources of protein can be peanut butter, chicken, or tuna salad. Eat whole-grains, such as wheat breads and wheat crackers. Don’t be fooled by the jolt you get from caffeine or sugar. Your energy will wear off.
Get moving
Believe it or not, getting physical activity not only helps relieve your tense muscles, but helps your mood too! Your body makes certain chemicals, called endorphins, before and after you work out. They relieve stress and improve your mood.
Talk to friends
Talk to your friends to help you work through your stress. Friends are good listeners. Finding someone who will let you talk freely about your problems and feelings without judging you does a world of good. It also helps to hear a different point of view. Friends will remind you that you’re not alone.
Compromise
Sometimes, it’s not always worth the stress to argue. Give in once in awhile.
Write down your thoughts
Have you ever typed an email to a friend about your lousy day and felt better afterward? Why not grab a pen and paper and write down what’s going on in your life! Keeping a journal can be a great way to get things off your chest and work through issues. Later, you can go back and read through your journal and see how you’ve made progress!
Help others
Helping someone else can help you. Help your neighbor, or volunteer in your community.
Get a hobby
Find something you enjoy. Make sure to give yourself time to explore your interests.
Set limits
When it comes to things like work and family, figure out what you can really do. There are only so many hours in the day. Set limits with yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to say NO to requests for your time and energy.
Plan your time
Think ahead about how you’re going to spend your time. Write a to-do list. Figure out what’s most important to do.
Source: http://www.4woman.gov/faq/stress.cfm

I heard deep breathing could help my stress. How do I do it?

Deep breathing is a good way to relax. Try it a couple of times every day. Here’s how to do it.
  • Lie down or sit in a chair
  • Rest your hands on your stomach
  • Slowly count to four and inhale through your nose. Feel your stomach rise. Hold it for a second
  • Slowly count to four while you exhale through your mouth. To control how fast you exhale, purse your lips like you’re going to whistle. Your stomach will slowly fall
  • Repeat five to 10 times

Note: The information in these FAQs has been compiled from reputable sources, which we have cited for each question. Sanita sal does not hold responsibility for the accuracy of the content, nor any behaviors taken with regard to the FAQs.
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