Stress...the Good, the Bad, & the UGLY
Oh my gosh, I have been so tired lately. Which is weird because I almost always have a ton of energy in the summer/fall--it's like my *power time* of year where I feel my most creative and productive.
Andy and I are in the process of selling our house and preparing to move onto our next adventure. It’s a good thing and it's all very exciting...and it's all very stressful.
You see, we don't really have a timeline. There are just a bunch of things that are beyond our control. I am a control freak. This is a problem.
Here's my epiphany: GOOD STRESS IS STILL STRESSFUL.
The thing is, it's easier to recognize the "bad" stress that occurs when we lose our job, or have a health scare, or end a relationship. We expect that we will feel the stressful effects of these events.
And because we expect these types of events to be taxing on our physical and emotional state, we are more likely to allow for the need to slow down and take care of ourselves.
"Good" stress though, the stress we experience when we are making a change we are excited about--like having a baby or getting married or taking on an awesome new project or job-- also requires us to slow down and take care of ourselves.
Change is stressful, even if it’s positive and something that we are moving toward with enthusiastic anticipation.
What happens when we don’t acknowledge our bodies’ signals that we need to slow down? Well, that’s when stress turns UGLY. UGLY stress is stress that we are minimizing or denying or repressing.
Oftentimes our first *clue* that we are stressed out is fatigue.
If we keep pushing through without resting and giving ourselves some down-time, the bodies’ signals will become stronger. Body aches and pains such as sore muscles, headaches, and digestive issues are typically the next phase of poorly managed stress.
Again, if we keep pushing ourselves without practicing stress reduction techniques, the next phase of unmanaged stress is the UGLIEST—sickness and disease.
Chronic stress will ultimately manifest as illness.
That bears repeating. Chronic stress will ultimately manifest as illness.
Maybe this sounds scary, but it is awesomely empowering. If we take care of ourselves, and manage our stress, we take care of our health.
Practice tuning into your body by listening and looking for the more subtle cues—such as, fatigue, soreness, digestive issues, etc.—and then amp up your self-care.
The best self-care and tools for stress management are:
Meditation or some other focused form of relaxation
Processing feelings through journaling, therapy, or energy work like Reiki
Yep, I know, these are things I talk about *all the time*…but sometimes we forget that stress isn’t just unpleasant, it has a tremendous effect on our physical and mental health.
Nutritiously dense food, frequent movement, relaxation, and feeling our feelings all contribute to a healthy self.
What you choose to feed your body and how you move your body don't just affect your weight and appearance--these are building blocks to optimum health.
Relaxation and processing your feelings impact your physical health as well as your mental health. It's all connected, your body is a beautiful system that is strongly impacted by your lifestyle choices.
If these ideas interest you and you'd like to explore the lifestyle/disease connection more in depth, I highly recommend the book "The Disease Delusion" by Dr. Jeffrey S. Bland.