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How to know when you are stressed?

Updated: Nov 29, 2019

We need space in our day to just do NOTHING! If you are like me, you are thinking “NOTHING??? What a waste of time and what for!?” If I am really honest with myself, doing nothing is the hardest. I don’t know about you, but isn’t it much easier to busy yourself with SOMETHING rather than sitting with yourself doing nothing? I don’t even know how to do nothing!

Well, doing nothing is really hard, at least for some people and those are the ones who need it most. It means facing yourself, stop chasing that goal and let be. So what if you started by just trying to do this for 15 minutes every day? At least that’s what I will aim for: start small and slowly ramp up!

Also, pay attention to your body! Where do you feel the stress?

Is your chest tight? Or your neck or shoulders? Do you feel how you are constricting your shoulders or neck muscles when that customer complains about a blocking situation that you need to sort out? Maybe you can feel your stomach clench? Do you feel any tension in your body or muscles?

What role does food play here for you?

  • Do you calm your nerves with food? After this yelling you deserve a piece of chocolate right?

  • Do you need to drink a coffee to “calm your nerves” or smoke a cigarette?

  • ….

Do you see a pattern?

Something bad happens and you are rewarding yourself with food or drugs to console. This behavior is often instilled in early childhood: if we hurt ourselves or we were very brave, our parents were giving us a treat to reward us. So we are unconsciously reproducing this behavior in our adult life.

So when stressed, many people are eating more or especially eating the foods that are not good for our health. Sugar has the same effect on our body than other drugs: it creates a rush or boost that makes us feel really good for a short while. Unfortunately, the dip usually comes quickly and our body will claim the sugar rush again and again. Some people experience the same with coffee and get bad headaches if they stop drinking it.

Are you saying NO?

It’s easier to say yes for sure, but it’s worthwhile practicing NO. It’s the same with your kids right? It’s easy to just say yes, but if you manage to say no, you benefit in the long run. If you are always saying yes to please everyone, you will be the one that’s going down. You’ll end up with a desk piled up with tasks, sitting all day in meetings, and running around serving everyone else around you. Honestly, do people value what you do for them? Who’s even thanking you?

It can be quite liberating to just say no, try it, you might even like it!

Are you spending time in nature?

Get outside in the morning sun to support your circadian rhythm for better sleep. If there’s no sun or you can’t go out in the morning, go out anyways to get fresh air ! In the dark winter time, a light therapy lamp might help brighten your mood.

Are you compensating for the stressors you receive?

You need to let out the stress you built up during your day. Fight or flight, adrenaline … in ancient times we were hunting and adrenaline helped us flee and react quickly to save our life, but if someone is yelling at us in the office or over the phone, we cannot run away nor slap the person in front of us for immediate stress relief. So we have to manage differently.

Are you stressed about our weight? Your appearance? What you eat or cannot eat?

Then you are definitely not alone! I don’t know many women (including myself) who are in love with their bodies and if you pay attention, the way you speak to yourself all day long – would you speak to your best friend like that? Probably not! Negative self-talk can also be stressful, in fact all the constant thoughts and self-talk that’s going on in a women’s brain all day. Making decisions about food and what to choose (if I have this now, how many calories do I have left for the rest of the day? ) You’re getting the idea: it’s EXHAUSTING!

If we start categorizing food as “forbidden” – fact is that we probably want it even more then don’t we! I’m not saying that you should cover yourself in chocolate or potato chips but if you make a conscious choice of eating these kind of foods without feeling guilty about it, you will be much less stressed and maybe not even want them that much anymore.

Are you inflamed?

Inflammation is a high stressor on our body and we might not even be aware of underlying inflammation going inside of us and causing stress on our body like leaky gut for instance or IBS, pathogens like candida overgrowth, yeast infections….

Are you travelling a lot?

If you are like me, you might love to travel and say what’s the stress in going somewhere exciting or going on a holiday? Well, especially travelling by plane is putting a high stress on your body between cabin pressure, bad air you breathe, maybe going into a different time zone, pollution, temperature change… all these things are stressing our body! But also watch out for pollution when sitting in your car or biking in a city, it can be a nasty experience!

What beauty or household products are you using?

Many of these products are filled with chemicals even toxins that are applied directly to our skin and directly enter our blood stream. The same goes for laundry detergent and cleaning products that get in touch with our skin. Have a look at what’s in the products you use and consider less toxic alternatives for your own health and for our environment. There are apps that can help you identify this like “Think Dirty”, Good Guide, CosmEthics, EWG Healthy Living for instance.

I hope that these indicators can help you identify areas of stress in your life that can hopefully be eliminated or at least diminished. Now, we all are going through phases of high stress and that’s just life.

So how can you support your body to resist that stress?

I put together a free guide with strategic nutrients, supplements and lifestyle tools. If you want to protect your body from stress, you should claim the NO STRESS GUIDE. Just click the link below and I'll be sending you your free copy.

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