Did you return to work this new year with renewed vigour and excitement for the year ahead. If so, Fantastic! But for some this return to “normal” has already started to take its toll.
The average working day is now 9 hours and if you work for yourself that’s probably more like 14 hours! When you do get home, or clock off, there is still much to be done, whether that be housework, helping the kids with homework, perhaps working to secure a second income….when you finally get to put the kettle on and your feet up; you realise how late it is, so you go to bed, spend up to an hour on social media and then the next day, start the same routine all over again. All of these demands on your time can cause you to feel stressed. Stress comes in a variety of forms. Some stress is good for us, but too much can have a profoundly detrimental effect on our health and wellbeing.
Our bodies simply are not designed to cope with chronic stress. We are programmed to react to danger, back when we were roaming the plains and we saw a sabre toothed tiger the fight or flight mechanism kicked in, your adrenals kick out some cortisol to give you the energy to deal with the danger, we either try to kill the tiger or we run away. Then we rest, recover our strength, before we face the next challenge, the next danger. But here’s the thing, our fight or flight system has not evolved to deal with getting stuck in rush hour traffic, of the email from the bank manager, the looming deadline, the harsh word from your mother in law… but your system reacts to these as threats in the same way it did the share tooth tiger. But of course you can’t kill the mother in law and you can’t run away from the bank manager…mores the pity.
So, what are the signs to watch out for that your health might be negatively affected by this “normal life stress’?
- Regularly feeling tired and worn out
- Reliance on caffeine or other stimulants
- Craving sugary /stodgy foods
- Increased anxiety
- Poor sleep pattern
- Mood Swings/Irritability
- Vulnerability to illness
- Minor aches and pains
- Skin conditions and breakouts
- Extra half stone around the middle that wont shift
If so then you may be suffering the negative effects of stress or Burnout. Fatigue, insomnia, skin problems, mood swings, weight gain, aches and pains, vulnerability to illness and low sex drive are just some of the common effects of stress.
Not everybody reacts to stress in the same way. But if this is you, then now would be time take some action to redress some of the stressors in your life.
In the short term stress is annoyingly inconvenient, in the long term it can lead to burnout, depression, high blood pressure, adrenal failure, diabetes and even heart disease.But it doesn’t have to be like that, that’s why we set up the Stress Re-set Retreat programme at the Body Retreat, to help people step off the burnout treadmill, before it’s too late.
So what can you do now at home?
Make 2014 the year that you decide to be good to yourself, and adopt simple strategies to overcome the inevitable impact of daily living and having lots to do.
- First thing is to clean up your diet, so ditch the stimulants, caffeine, sugar, artificial sweeteners.
- Digital detox in the bedroom, surfing twitter before you go to sleep might seem innocuous but it could be over stimulating your mind and so preventing you from getting off to sleep.
- Get outside for at least 10 mins every day, preferably in the daytime, take a short stroll or even just sit and relax.
- Talk about how you feel. It can be so cathartic to verbalise your frustrations or concerns. Don’t keep it all bottled up.