5 ways to “keep calm and carry on”

November 4, 2015

Happy National Stress Awareness Day!

A large part of my practice is going into a work places to treat employees. What do you think the most common health concern I hear is? Yup, you got it:

“I’m stressed and exhausted”.

Every day I work with people who are stressed, burnt-out, and adrenally-fatigued. And I’m good at treating it, because I (along with every other medical student) have been in that place, too!

Every year, stress and stress-related conditions cost the Canadian economy over $33 billion! What is the cost of stress on your life?

For anyone who has been seriously stressed or burnt-out, it’s taken months or years of stress to get to that point. Sadly, there is no magic pill to fix stress in a day. But there are many easy ways to heal your stress response so that your “Stress Awareness Day” isn’t every single day!

Here are Dr. Robyn’s 5 lifestyle tips to help you “keep calm and carry on:”

1. Get Creative

We have two halves to our brains – the left side, which is logical and linear and the right side, which is more creative and artistic. When you get stressed and anxious, it is fairly easy to get trapped in the busy, circular, stressed-out thinking of your left brain. So switch it up! Get into your right brain by grabbing an adult colouring book and shade away. Sing along with your favourite song, or maybe pick up a pencil and start to doodle (stick figures encouraged!).

2. Get Moving

Exercise is a great way to burn off stress. When you work out, you release endorphins (happy neurotransmitters) that make you feel energized and balanced. Yoga is a wonderful activity because it helps balance the sympathetic (flight or fight) and parasympathetic (rest and digest) parts of our nervous system. This fall, I have decided to balance my busy life by taking adult dance classes. It’s amazing how an hour of movement and music in a non-competitive environment changes my state of my mind. Through dance, we accomplish two things at once on this list – movement and creativity!

3. Get Breathing

breathingIn yoga, I often teach a breath called Samavritti, which is Sanskrit for “Equal Movement”. It is a simple way to bring balance and calm to your mind and body. To perform a samavritti breath inhale to a count of 4, then exhale to a count of 4. Continue with this for 1-5 minutes. If you wanted to get deeper into the breath:

  • Inhale for 4 counts
  • Hold full of breath for 4 counts
  • Exhale for 4 counts
  • Hold empty of breath for 4 counts, then repeat

4. Get Some Rest

When you experience long-term stress, it’s easy to get to a state we classify as Stage II Adrenal Insufficiency. The keynote of this stage is the phrase “tired but wired.” Have you had night when it’s close to midnight and you know you should be sleepy but your brain just won’t shut off? Yup, that’s adrenal fatigue. While this is the stage where some adrenal supportive supplements and botanical tinctures really shine, you can try a few things to encourage sleep. Set a no screen time rule starting 30-minutes before you go to bed. Melatonin, your natural sleep hormone is not released adequately when you are exposed to direct light sources. You might have a cup of chamomile or “sleepy” tea to help relax your body. Herbs like chamomile, valarian, passionflower, and hops soothe tension and calm the mind! This might also be the time to practice some slow, calm breathing.

5. Get Laughing

Laughter is definitely one of the best medicines out there! Laughter releases stress, lowers blood pressure, increases circulation, and much more. Share a laugh with friends, check out a funny YouTube video or put on a comedy movie to melt away your stress and put a smile on your face.

Every person’s stress and adrenal fatigue comes up in different ways and at different times. A Naturopathic Physician takes the time to learn about all aspect of your health so that we can effectively support you toward a stress-reduced (or stress-free!) life. My passion is working with stressed out patients and helping them transform their health to feel happier, healthier and free from their stress. I’d love to help you on that journey and welcome you to book an appointment with me to get started on the path!

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