How Quarantine Stress Affects Your Body

We’re living in a time of really high stress – there’s no doubt about that. Our worlds have become smaller, and our worries are a whole lot bigger. High stress in your body means high cortisol levels. High cortisol can impact your health in so many different ways, both big and small. Stress during quarantine is impacting us all to some degree, so being aware of what this might look like should be important to you.

This information isn’t intended to scare you or make you even more stressed. This information is intended to help you reflect on how well you might be managing your stress right now. Knowing what signs to look for may help you prioritize strategies that can help you balance your cortisol.

What is Cortisol?

Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone”, because it plays a crucial role in how the body responds to stress. However, there is much more that cortisol plays a role in. It is a very important hormone for overall health and wellness, as it also plays a role in metabolism, inflammation, blood pressure, blood sugar levels, and memory.

High Cortisol Effects on the Body

When it comes to cortisol, the most important aspect is balance. While a certain amount of cortisol is vital for regular healthy body function, an overproduction can lead to many significant health issues. All of the following are common signs of high cortisol.

Anxiety. I know, I know! As if being stressed about self-isolation and more wasn’t enough, high cortisol can further promote anxiety. Stress causes, well, more stress. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle, and it can be really difficult to get out of, especially when this becomes a more chronic or ongoing issue.

Depression. There’s no doubt that high cortisol impacts mental health. Many people with depression have high cortisol levels. However this is not really a one way street. Stress and depression have more of a circular relationship, where they both influence one another.

Digestive Problems. In times of particularly high stress, your body will restrict functions deemed as “non-essential”, as our body remains in a fight-or-flight state. This includes digestive function. Blood flow may be restricted, holding your digestive system back from functioning properly.

Headaches. In a fight-or-flight state, the brain releases certain chemicals that result in changes in vascularity. These chemicals work to dilate and restrict blood vessels. This can cause headaches and migraines.

Sleep Problems. Those worrisome thoughts that keep you awake at night also keep you from having a good quality sleep. This can sabotage your mood the following day, and lead to even more stress. Sleep problems can look like trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or just not having a good quality sleep.

Bloating. Stress causes a fluctuation of hormones, which alone can lead to bloating. High stress can also influence your gut bacteria, throwing your microbiome out of whack as a result and also leading to bloating.

• Memory Impairment. Have you not quite felt like yourself lately? Stress can lead to forgetfulness, confusion, and memory problems. The way your body reacts to stress changes the way our brain processes information. You might be forgetting particular parts of conversations you’ve had, or putting your belongings in bizarre places.

What You Can Do To Combat Quarantine Stress

Stay Connected. Not being able to catch up with your friends and family in person can impact your mood and leave you feeling lonely. Nothing can replace a warm hug from your loved ones, but for the time being take advantage of what you can do to stay connected. Try FaceTime, Skype, or HouseParty so you can see your people face to face.

Keep Moving. Daily movement promotes a balance mood and can help stave off stress! Whether that’s a walk that allows for social distancing, yoga in your living room, or a 20 minute bodyweight workout, daily activity whether short or long can help combat stress.

Engage in Enjoyable Activities. Yes, it’s fun every once in a while to binge hours of a new show! But don’t forget to engage in the other activities you enjoy. Art, photography, baking, reading – you have so many options. Doing enjoyable activities when possible can help you pass the time more easily.

Take Time For You. If you are alone right now or have a lot of time to yourself, this suggestion might seem silly. But just because you have the time doesn’t mean you make it meaningful to you. Taking time to yourself means planning out something that’s just got you. If you are taking care of others right now, really take this suggestion to heart. Try to get your own physical space for at least 30 minutes a day to do something that’s just for you.

I hope you found this information helpful. I would love to hear more about what you’re doing to combat stress during this unprecedented time – feel free to share below.

Take care Babes.

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Make it Happen Monday

Good morning everyone!!

Please, PLEASE don’t tell me you are sick of seeing videos for Make it Happen Monday because I have ONE MORE for you today! I was going to put something else on the agenda to mix it up, but after this was shared with me last week I knew I had to add it to the line-up.

I was always under the impression that stress was the biggest killer – but I have been proved wrong. For it is not the stress itself that affects us, but apparently rather our perception of it. I found this video spectacularly eye-opening!

Enjoy!

 

The lesson: if you are going to be stressed today, use it to your advantage!

Happy Monday!

 

10 Ways to Relieve Stress that AREN’T Total Bullsh*t

This is not your cookie-cutter stress relief list; you know, the one that said take a bath and smell some fresh lavender and all your problems will go away?

This list came from the need to see something more realistic. I’ve looked up natural remedies for stress on the internet and I’m tired of seeing the same thing over and over again. I’m stressed out ok? Maybe I don’t have the wherewith-all to practice any of those obvious self-care techniques.

So I guess this list was also made out of a need to just simply see something different.

And I promise you this list is different.

endofstresszone

 

10 Ways to relieve stress that aren’t total bullsh*t! 

  1. Destroy something. It doesn’t have to be anything valuable, it can be something as simple as a cardboard box. Take it outside into your back alley and destroy it. Stomp on it, punch it, crush it. I’m not advocating violence here: do NOT, I repeat, do NOT use the techniques on a person. Make sure it’s a non-living object; one you won’t miss. Get rid of all that pent up negative energy. Obliterate the thing.
  2. Watch funny videos on youtube. Distraction is actually an amazing technique when it comes to stress and depression. Is this video of harmless pranks going to cure your problems? Nope. Are you going to forget them for a minute or two and have a laugh? Yep.
  3. Cry. Give yourself 100% freedom to go ahead and have one big giant sloppy cryfest. Maybe you’ve been holding those tears in for too long. That’s probably not good for you! It’s okay to let it out.
  4. Waffles. Eat some waffles. Scientific studies show that it’s impossible to be sad while eating buttery, syrup soaked waffles (studies were self-administered).
  5. Sing at the top of your lungs. Remember that album by that band that you really loved in high school and still believe is pure gold? Well the first chance you get to have the house to yourself, play it loud. Sing your heart out! Go to that place the music takes you. And in that moment, nothing matters more than putting on a good show for your non-existent audience.
  6. Hug someone who is a really good hugger. We all have that one person in our lives who has that extraordinary hugging power. Find them and allow them to put their skills to good use.
  7. Watch your guilty-pleasure movie. You know, that one that is so bad it’s kinda good? I always go back to the same movie when I’m going through a rough time, mine is “Dirty Love“, it’s fantastically horrible and ridiculous. It takes about 0% brain power to watch – that’s the kind of movie that you need at a time like this.
  8. Make a list of all the things you are going to do. You don’t even actually have to do anything on the list. No, you’ve accomplished enough today by simply making the list. Time to relax.
  9. Look at travel destinations. This will make it a lot easier to pretend that you’re not even actually where you are. Maybe you’re in the Bahamas, maybe you’re in Laos! Maybe you’ll make secret plans to run away so you don’t have to deal with your problems. Sometimes even just knowing that’s an option makes people feel better. Plus, pictures of beaches and oceans are awesome.
  10. Go in the mirror and smile and laugh at how ridiculously overwhelmed you are. Like, dear god, is this some kind of sick joke?! It must be and I get it because Im laughing now! In all seriousness, you either laugh or you cry sometimes. I prefer to laugh like a madwoman at those times. And thats okay.

Whatever gets you through those tough times is okay. And these solutions don’t have to be “fixes”, you know why? Because your storm will pass. You will have made it through one teeny-tiny step at a time. And like me, you won’t bother googling stress relief ideas until the wave comes over you again.

Take care everyone!

20 Things You Can Do to Cope (the Healthy Way)

Hey you guys! I hope everyone had a wonderful week.

But just so you know, this post is more so for those who didn’t have such a wonderful week. I’m talking about the strugglers; the bad-day-ers, the self-sabotagers.

Sometimes when we’re hurting we want to escape, and we all have different vices. Some drink, some get high, some overeat, and some self-harm. But when you get down to it, these are all just the strategies we habitually run to when we want a way out of feeling the way that we do.

It takes a while to realize that these activities actually don’t make us feel better; they bury our pain. And it’s temporary. It will rise to the surface again, and the cycle will repeat itself until we learn to actually deal with our feelings in a healthy and constructive way.

 

 

Today, I’m making a list of all the things you can do besides engaging in any unhealthy coping activities. I suggest trying at least 5 – 10 in any given situation, because hey sometimes one just isn’t quite enough.

  1. Call a friend
  2. Get outside
  3. Hug an animal
  4. Watch funny videos on Youtube
  5. Organize your closet
  6. Cocoon yourself in a blanket
  7. Tell someone you love them
  8. Light some candles
  9. Yoga
  10. Watch a cartoon
  11. Deep breaths in and out
  12. Go for a workout
  13. SING AT THE TOP OF YOUR LUNGS
  14. Take a nap
  15. Look in the mirror and say ” I love you “
  16. Look up travel pictures
  17. Draw/ Color a picture
  18. Find support for what you’re going through (counselor/friend/support group)
  19. Take a bath
  20. Dance (whether someone is watching or not)

I know these seem like simple things, and that’s because they are. Who wants complicated in the heat of a difficult moment? I hope you’ll consider some of these options the next time you’re in a bind!

Keep your head up, strong babes!

“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the ability to cope with it”