Everyone has a different stress definition, but its effects on our health are similar. Life is never stress-free, but we can make health our priority.
We need to find more time to recover, relax and enjoy.
Together, let’s discover how to deal with stress! 🙂
Let things go, take weight off your shoulders. Feel lighter!
Stress comes from many sources.
Outer stress could be relationships, economy, work-related or noisy environment.
Inner stress is more about thoughts, feelings and health.
Menopause is a big transition.
If our stress level is high, it will impact the hormonal balance and our symptoms.
In this article, I want to share with you great tips so you can relax and recover from stress.
Be sure to read the whole article to get all the goodies!
If you want to jump to a specific section, click on the links here:
A Simple Stress Definition to Get Started
A Dozen Reasons Why Stress is Your Worst Enemy in Menopause
How to Deal with Stress Quick in 6 Easy Ways
10 Ways How to Deal with Stress During Menopause
10 Life Lessons for a Stress-free Life
Why is Chronic Stress a Public Enemy and How Does it Harm the Body?
A Simple Stress Definition to Get Started
Here’s a simple stress definition that we can all understand:
Stress is our body´s response to different stimuli. Whether good or bad, your body reacts to situations by producing chemicals in your blood.
Every day, we experience stress. Our body resolves them without us knowing. We call it acute stress because it happens short term.
Chronic stress is a different story. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) says it increases and aggravates many diseases. Stress contributes to asthma, diabetes mellitus, ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and more! Doctors say it might also be a risk factor for cancer.
Dr. Isaac Meza of Sanoviv (the only holistic hospital in the USA) says that 95% of all diseases from their patients are caused by stress from relationships, economics and nutrition.
A Dozen Reasons Why Stress is Your Worst Enemy in Menopause!
Besides all the illnesses it can cause, why do we have to manage stress during menopause? Well, these 12 reasons might compel you to be stress-free from now on!
1. Stress gives you intense headaches! Tension headaches are common in people who are under too much stress. It feels like you have a tight band around your head. The pain goes down to your neck and may strain you.
2. Stress increases your risk of having depression, anxiety and mood swings. All these are common symptoms in menopause. Hormonal changes can cause them, but stress also adds up to the problem! Stress wears you out emotionally and psychologically. Dr. Berg has a good explanation of how stress affects your brain [2:33]:
3. Stress gives you insomnia! When I’m stressed, I worry and think a lot. Is it the same for you? Whether you’re in menopause or not, stress is a major factor for sleep disturbances.
5. Stress gives you all sorts of “tummy” issues. Stomachaches, bloating, indigestion, diarrhea and constipation are common in times of stress. Heartburn is also common.
6. Stress causes low libido! The physical, emotional and psychological strain of stress can take a toll on your sex drive! It’s hard to think of sex and intimacy when you’re fatigued and drained. Stress may also cause vaginal dryness which can make sex painful and uncomfortable.
7. Stress affects your periods. During perimenopause (the first stage of menopause), you still get your monthly periods. For some women, it can already be irregular. Stress throws your period even more off balance. It can also stop your monthly periods.
8. Stress leads to muscle pain and soreness. When you’re under stress, muscles and joints are tense and contracted. As a result, you’ll feel all sorts of aches and pains all over your body.
9. Stress makes you gain weight! Your body becomes so demanding when you’re stressed out. It needs a constant supply of energy to keep it going! Your brain tells you to eat more and gives you cravings, especially for sweets.
10. Stress ups your blood sugar and blood pressure. Cortisol has many effects on your body. It suppresses insulin blocking sugar to be put into good use. It also narrows the passage of your blood vessels, which increases pressure.
11. Stress makes you age faster! Stress depletes your nutrients and wears out your body faster than normal. This deterioration makes your body age faster on a cellular level. Yikes!
12. Stress affects your focus, attention and memory. Studies prove that stress kills brain cells by depriving them of nutrients. Stress also lowers blood supply to the brain which starves your brain cells.
Aside from affecting women, stress leads to infertility and erection problems in men. Some experts say stress can cause early menopause in both men and women.
Dr. Eric Berg has another great video about stress! He gives us an explanation of how stress progresses and how it can affect our bodies. He also mentions how to deal with stress effectively. Be sure to watch it [9:08]!
How to Deal with Stress Quick in 6 Easy Ways!
1. Slow down. Are you preoccupied with many problems? Take a pause and relax! Sit in a comfortable position, calm yourself down and close your eyes. Lay still for a few minutes. This will help you recharge!
2. Do deep breathing! Taking deep breaths is the best way to reduce stress. Breathe in using your nose and expand your diaphragm as much as you can. Hold for a few seconds and breathe out with your nose. Repeat 10 to 15 times!
3. Do a self-massage. Bring a tennis ball or foam roller with you. Massage your neck muscles and run your foam roller in your back muscles. It helps relieve tension and pain!
4. Use essential oils to relax. There are many essential oils that soothe and balances your body. Examples include lavender, cedarwood, jasmine, frankincense and ylang-ylang.
5. Crank up the soothing music! Slow instrumental, classical and Native American music can relax your mind and body. Nature sounds are also great because they lower blood pressure and stress hormones.
6. Do a quick stretch or take a short walk! Stretching can increase your blood circulation, giving you more energy. Breathe in some fresh air and recharge!
Do you know that you can relieve stress in just 90 seconds? Dr. Oz has a great technique to share. Get it here [2:00]!
10 Ways on How to Deal with Stress During Menopause!
Don’t let your body be in flight/fly mode all the time. Your motor is always running.
Get in the driver’s seat and hit the brakes!
1. Eat a stress-busting diet! This is my top-kept secret on how to deal with stress. Support your body with the right nutrients. Consume more superfoods and adaptogenic herbs such as Ashwagandha, Maca, Valerian and Chamomile. They help bring balance to your body and boost body processes. Eat foods rich in vitamin C, magnesium, omega-3 and zinc. B-vitamins and glutathione-rich foods are also important! All these nutrients regulate stress hormones, strengthen your immunity and keeps you calm. Berries, avocado, walnuts, leafy greens and more are all good sources.
2. Follow an anti-inflammatory eating plan. A diet high in antioxidants, fiber and phytonutrients reduce stress better. Antioxidant-rich foods include berries, pecans, artichoke, kidney beans, broccoli and more. They flush out toxins, curb cravings and regulate stress hormones. Avoid processed foods, trans fats and refined sugars! They don’t fill you up with “real” energy and can increase your blood sugar.
3. Regular exercise is the key! Wait, what? I’m already tired enough and I still need to exercise? Exercise doesn’t always mean lifting weights and doing all the complicated routines. You can go for a walk, jog, swim or do rebounding. Get your body moving! When your body is in action, blood circulation gets better. Exercise also flushes out excess stress hormones in your body.
4. Engage in mind-body practices! Yoga, Meditation, Pilates, Qigong and Tai Chi relieve stress. These practices release tension and calm your central nervous system. They keep your body in motion, enable you to reconnect with yourself and be in the moment.
5. Get 8 hours or more of quality sleep. Do you get enough sleep at night? Dr. Mezza explains that the biggest cause of stress is insomnia or difficulty sleeping. Relax and recharge. Your bedroom should be a place for rest and sex. 🙂
Listen to Dr. Mezza’s interview with Dr. Hyman where he explains the unconventional therapies they use at Sanoviv. He emphasizes the importance of going beyond the symptoms for the root cause of an illness. On the side, he also talks about the importance of sleep.
6. Supplement with Gamma-Aminobutyric acid (GABA) and tryptophan. GABA and tryptophan help produce serotonin and dopamine. These happy hormones regulate your mood, keep you calm and relax your body.
7. Reduce your coffee and wine! Caffeine and alcohol have compounds that stimulate your body, making you feel agitated. They also cause anxiety and increase your heart rate and blood pressure. One cup or glass can pump you up, but too much will leave you stressed!
8. Master mindfulness. Mindfulness anchors you to the present moment. Be aware of your thoughts and feelings and observe your surroundings. Look into what’s causing your stress, don’t shrug off your emotions, instead, process them. It brings you to the present and you are able to know why you’re feeling the way you are.
9. Disconnect yourself from gadgets, the internet and social media! This is one of the best ways how to deal with stress! From accidents and murders on the news, fake news on social media and the addicting allure of gadgets, all these causes unnecessary stress! So, shut yourself out of these three from time to time.
10. Try different types of natural therapy. Acupuncture, acupressure, chiropractic care, aromatherapy, reiki and reflexology are great natural therapies to relieve stress! Homeopathy and Ayurveda are mind-body practices that can regulate stress hormones and keep you in balance.
10 Life Lessons for a Stress-Free Life!
Stress is more than just biology!
It goes beyond having a loophole in your body processes, sluggish organs or hormonal imbalances.
Stress can come from our outlook and attitude towards life. It’s also about how we live, how we see challenges and how we deal with situations.
If you want to know how to deal with stress better, these life lessons can help!
1. Get to know what causes your stress and make a plan. Try to identify your stress factors. It can be someone around you, it can be your finances or what you eat. Know what’s causing your stress, make a plan and resolve them.
2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help! No woman is an island and that includes you. Seek help from family, friends and loved ones. They might help you recover through the rough times!
3. Be better in control of your temper and emotions. Anger, anxiety, worries, resentment and other negative emotions can cause stress. I’m a believer in “feeling your feelings”. Stay positive, but if there’s something bothering you, let it out and go on with life. We shouldn’t let bad feelings “stay in the body” because they build up and stress us out.
4. Alter the situation. Try altering a stressful situation by being more assertive and facing the problem. Compromise and know how to meet halfway to solve the problem. Instead of thinking of what “could have been done”, why not try to act on it and turn the situation around?
5. Accept the things you can’t change. Open-mindedness allows you to live a stress-free life. There are things in life that we cannot change. Instead of fighting them, it’s best to let go or accept them. Realize that every situation offers lessons to learn and opportunities for growth.
6. Don’t take things seriously! Laugh, learn to let loose and be carefree. Laughter sets your mood, relaxes your mind and body and relieves tension!
7. Learn to say YES to happy and funny things, but also learn to say NO to things that do not serve you.
8. Avoid procrastination. Do what you can do today! If you procrastinate, everything starts piling up. It will leave you worried, frustrated and stressed.
9. Organize your life. When your life is in order, you have a better sense of control and peace of mind. Clutter and disorganization can put us on edge and cloud our minds with stress.
10. Be grateful! Gratefulness can make a huge difference in our life. It can shun away from negative thoughts and create a good vibe. It opens positive energy and lets you savor how beautiful life is.
Why is Chronic Stress a Public Enemy and How Does it Harm the Body?
Stress wreaks havoc on your mind and body. But how exactly? The culprit is your stress hormones!
The Normal Stress Response
First, your stress hormones are good guys! They’re produced by your body for a reason – to cope with stress!
You have many stress hormones. This includes the famous cortisol, adrenaline, norepinephrine, vasopressin and oxytocin. Each hormone has different functions and together they help protect your body.
Canadian biochemist Hans Selye of McGill University in Montreal classified stress into two:
- Eustress – good stress
- Distress – bad stress
As part of the normal stress response, eustress and distress release stress hormones. But first, let’s talk about how eustress happens.
You’re taking a stroll in the park and enjoying the fresh air when you come across an aggressive dog. The dog’s loud barking and attacking figure scares you.
Fear is a stressor, so your brain alarms your adrenals to release your stress hormones. Your hormones will prepare your body for action. They also heighten all your senses, sharpen your focus and provide you with a surge of energy.
So, what do you do next? The rush of adrenaline will make you run for your life! Once you reach safety, your body calms down. By this time, your stress hormones decline and your body returns to its normal state.
When Does the Stress Response Go Haywire?
Distress is the opposite of eustress and this is how it works.
When you have chronic stress, your hormones build up in the blood, which offsets your mind and body.
Stress hormones mobilize your body. Instead of creating the “seize-the-day” type of response, it overworks your organs. This leads to imbalances, symptoms like the ones I mentioned above, fatigue and in the end, exhaustion.
What can we do to defuse this time bomb?
Slow down and start making yourself your number one priority!
There is no shortage of stress in our daily life. They can give us emotional unrest and tension. No matter what the cause is, stress can give us a long-lasting impact. Menopause is a big transition in our life. We have to come ready and prepared!
Unfortunately, many of us, including me didn’t have a clue when menopause hit. If you have a daughter, please share our tips on how to deal with stress. This will make her more in tune with her body when she reaches midlife.
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CHECK OUT OUR SYMPTOMS PAGE!
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What smart tips do you follow to manage life’s stressful situations?
How do you keep challenges in perspective?
We’d love to hear how you deal with stress so we can use them too. Start typing in the comment box below.
References and inspiration: