Regaining your energy: Stress Management

Stress can be very exhausting, it can really drain the energy out of us. I would like to share a few tips to strengthen your body’s defence against stress:

Take care of your GUT

The gut is often referred to as ‘the second brain. “For every one direction message your brain sends to your gut, your gut sends 9 directing messages to the brain.” @dr.tomobryan. For your brain to function optimally under stressful situations, it is worth feeding your gut a variety of wholesome foods.

  • Spend some time in NATURE
  • Prioritise SLEEP
  • MOVE your body
  • Dopamine rich foods (green bananas, dark chocolate, almonds & walnuts, beef, cheese, eggs, salmon)
  • Oxytocin releasing activities (pets, hugs, friends)
  • CHEW your food properly – (Azuma et al. 2015) suggest that chewing is not only important for eating but is also an effective strategy for stress management
  • BREATHING exercises (check out @natcoliving for some breathing methods)

Regaining your energy: Self-Care

Self-care is NOT synonymous with being selfish or self-indulgence. * self-care /sɛlfˈkɛː/

Definition:

  • the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health.

the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

We care for spouses, children, elderly parents, work, etc. – it is rewarding but can be exhausting. Self-care takes a different form for each of us; determine whichever activities bring you JOY, restore your BALANCE and replenish your ENERGY. Decide on just one activity you could do this coming week and ‘book’ some time for yourself, whether it’s 15 minutes or an hour.

The following self-care practices have been well-researched and linked to a longer life:

  • Exercise: People who exercised between two and eight hours per week throughout their lives reduced their risk of dying by 29 to 36 percent, according to a March 2019 study published in JAMA Network Open.
  • Finding purpose: According to the researchers behind a May 2019 study published in JAMA Network Open, having a strong life purpose was associated with decreased mortality rates.
  • Diet: Eating a diet filled with five servings of fruits and vegetables per day was associated with a lower risk of mortality, especially from heart-related issues, according to a July 2014 study published in The BMJ.
  • Sleep: A study published in September 2017 in the Journal of the American Heart Association found too-little sleep (less than seven hours per night) was linked with higher mortality rates, though too-much sleep wasn’t healthy either.
  • Getting outside: According to a 2019 study published in Lancet Planet Health, spending time in green space is associated with a lower mortality rate. (By Moira Lawler, Medically Reviewed by Justin Laube MD, Last Updated: May 18, 2021)

Self-care tips for dads 

  • Find a physical activity you enjoy
  • Find or develop your hobby
  • Tune in music; tune out social media
  • Cook yourself a nice meal
  • Tap into mindfulness or meditation
  • Make time for friends, maintain friendships
  • Watch Comedies with your family
  • My personal self-care routine:
  • Sunlight & gratitude every morning
  • Walks in nature
  • Feeding my body the nutrients it needs
  • Reading a novel on a Saturday afternoon
  • Playing the piano
  • Epsom salt baths
  • Essential oils spoils
  • Cuppa chai tea outside, with no distractions/technology
  • Flowers & gardening

 

Regaining your energy: Detox

It is not normal to feel EXHAUSTED. Frequently, clients say, “I am tired, it must be because I am getting older; working hard; hormones; have a busy family life.” You can and should have LOADS of ENERGY. In the programmes, I go through several steps to help clients regain energy.

Step 4: detox

ˈdiːtɒks/

a process or period of time in which one abstains from or rids the body of toxic or unhealthy substances; detoxification.

Detoxing is more than just ‘flushing’ your system or not eating certain foods. Detox your timeline, your page, your home, your refrigerator, your phone, even certain people.

I detoxed from social media for a few days, being in the bush made it easier.

We used to worry about toxins in the environment but we need to be aware of the chemicals in our food, beauty products, etc. as well. Chemicals can have an effect on our energy levels, our hormones, our weight, our health.

Here are a few tips to reduce your chemical exposures:

  • Avoid deodorants containing aluminium, a neurotoxin that accumulates and doesn’t readily leave the body.
  • Reduce synthetic smells, if the bottle includes the words, ‘fragrance/scented/perfumed’, it should be avoided. Our skins are our biggest organs and we should try to limit chemical exposure.
  • Ditch the plastic water bottles, even BPA-free, as they often use BPS. Switch to glass or stainless steel. Don’t heat your food in plastic.

This is NOT an EXTENSIVE list but it is a start.

Regaining your energy: Excercisee

It is not normal to feel EXHAUSTED. Frequently, clients say, “I am tired, it must be because I am getting older; working hard; hormones; have a busy family life.” You can and should have LOADS of ENERGY. In the programmes, I go through several steps to help clients regain energy.

Step 3: Exercise

I’ve been running for 37 years, yet, I seldom recommend it to my Health Coaching clients. In my programmes, I prefer to focus on MOVEMENT, rather than just exercise. Together we look at ways a client can move more, in ways that she/he enjoys.

Some of the barriers we need to overcome:

No time

We find time, even if it is just a few minutes. I usually ask how much time a client has and the answer is often, something like 10 minutes – that’s a start and better than zero. Your body can benefit from 10 minutes a day.

Too tired

It sounds counterintuitive, but exercise can in fact increase energy, both for healthy people and those who suffer from certain medical conditions, including Chronic Fatigue Syndrom (CFS). A 2016 review (Larun et al., 2016) found exercise to be more effective in combating CFS than other treatments. (Note that people suffering from CFS must start with very gentle exercise for 5 minutes).

I don’t feel like doing anything

That is exactly when you should move your body. The benefits for mental health are huge, getting your heart rate up helps produce endorphins, the happy hormones that trigger a positive feeling in the body.

Movement can dramatically decrease ones risk for depression by 30% (Dr Brendan Stubbs) and similar effects on the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease (Dr. Lisa Mosconi).

I don’t know where to start / I worry that I won’t manage it / I am scared of failing

I help clients find the right exercise/movement and to set realistic goals.

Notes:

  • no amount of exercise can cancel out a bad diet
  • calories in do not equal calories out