National Stress Awareness Day
A study has revealed that despite claiming to have a physical health problem, 42% of UK employee’s actually call in sick due to stress. “Stress is a modern term used to describe the unpleasant physical and emotional symptoms associated with excess pressure. A certain amount of pressure is needed to help meet life's challenges.
You only start to feel stressed when pressure rises above the level with which you feel able to cope. This level varies from person to person, and also from time to time, and can depend on factors such as physical fitness, diet, sleep quality and what’s happening in your work, relationships and bank balance,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer working in association with CuraLin Diabetes Supplement.
With next Wednesday marking National Stress Awareness Day, our experts explain why ignoring stress can damage your health and ways you can give you body a little zen…
1. Going through the change
Work has enough stressors, without going through the menopause as well. “The changes to the sex hormones can have an affect on the thyroid and the adrenal glands. These glands begin to take over to produce these hormones, which govern our moods. A side affect of this can be that the adrenal glands can compensate by producing more adrenalin and cortisol, which are stress hormones,” explains Jacqueline Harvey, Wellness Expert & Author (www.jacquelineharvey.co.uk).
Top Tip: Jacqueline recommends meditating. “The initial response to stress starts in the mind, before the stress hormones have a chance to take over. Meditation can train the body to not trigger the fight or flight response. Once it is triggered it is very hard to pull it back. Meditation also promotes feelings of wellbeing and harmony.”
2. Give yourself enough energy to feel in charge
It can become extremely easy to feel swamped at work – with tasks coming out of your ears. Take a breath and give yourself the little boost you might need. When you’re aiming to increase your concentration and sharpness you can aid your mind with a good combination of nutrients. Add a scoop of the brand new sense* for Busy Lives to a smoothie for a natural boost of energy to help you power through your to do list.
“sense* for Busy Lives (from £6.99, Boots) has been expertly designed to support the modern lifestyle, to help avoid oxidative stress and reduce fatigue. Containing a range of essential vitamins such as, vitamin B12 and iron to provide a natural energy boost, helping you hit the ground running. Iodine, iron and zinc are also included to support normal cognitive function, promoting a focused state of mind,” explains Accredited Nutritionist MSc/BSc at sense* (www.senseproducts.co.uk), Dimitra Sentelidou.
3. Run the stress away
Why not run to work or go for a run on your lunch break? Not only has research revealed that running reduces stress levels, it’s also been found to improve learning and protect your memory. This means running may not only have de-stressing benefits, it could also help you to be more proficient in the workplace.
Top Tip: If you’re not feeling up to a run, even by exercising in some way can help reduce stress. “Exercise improves circulation, boosts energy and releases feel-good endorphins that help enhance mood and reduce stress. Just 10 minutes of movement helps stimulate wake-promoting hormones. Try stretching while you wait for your coffee to brew, doing lunges while you’re brushing your teeth and if you have a dog take them for a 10-minute walk to start off your day,” recommends Nutritionist at Natures Plus (www.naturesplus.co.uk), Michela Vagnini.
4. Turning your mind off and getting some zzz is crucial
Stress and sleep are closely related, if we do not get enough sleep we can find it harder to function and when we are stressed we can find it harder to get to sleep. “Magnesium is known as ‘nature’s tranquiliser’ and is needed to relax our muscles and nerves, which helps us to fall into a peaceful sleep,” explains Nutritionist Cassandra Barns. Cassandra recommends taking KalmAssure Magnesium Powder by Natures Plus (£24.50, www.naturesplus.com). This supplement provides high-quality magnesium in a orange flavoured drink mix, helping your body to unwind and get in enough sleep.
5. Soothe stress levels with Hemp
Meeting deadlines, dealing with tricky customers, to coping with rush hour can all be factors in causing you to feel stressed and anxious. That’s where nature can be at hand to give you the support your mind and body may need. “Natures Plus Hempceutix Stress (£48.25, www.naturesplus.co.uk) is a formula that has been specifically formulated to support healthy stress response, containing 5 mg of complete hemp phytocannabinoids per serving. As well as a number of soothing herbs: ashwaganda, holy basil, lemon balm, hops, astragalus, feverfew and Valerian,” explains Nutritionist at Natures Plus (www.naturesplus.co.uk), Martina Della Vedova.
6. The impact of stress on Type-2 Diabetes sufferers
“When you feel emotionally stressed, your body goes into Fight or Flight mode, which is driven by the adrenal hormones: adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. As well as making your heart pump faster and your pulse race, these hormones increase your blood pressure; make you breath more rapidly, tense your muscles and cause blood glucose levels to rise to provide instant energy. These effects prime you to fight or flee and when this expected physical activity does not occur, the effects are prolonged, including a raised glucose level,” explains Dr. Sarah Brewer, working in association with CuraLin Diabetes Supplement.
“Having a persistently high cortisol level reduces your response to insulin, and also promotes an increase in triglycerides and visceral fat laid down around your waist. Whether or not stress can cause type 2 diabetes remains controversial, but if you already have type 2 diabetes, you are likely to notice that both emotional stress and physical stress (e.g. due to an infection such as the common cold) can worsen your glucose control,” adds Dr. Brewer.
Top Tip: “The Fight or Flight response primes your body for exercise, and one of the best ways to help reset back to the Rest and Digest mode is through physical activity. Exercise such as a brisk walk helps to burn glucose and triglycerides as fuel, and improves insulin resistance. Alongside making healthy diet and lifestyle changes, we can look to herbs and plant extracts to support balanced blood sugar levels too. CuraLin (£59, www.curalife.co) is a specially formulated dietary supplement containing ten herbs and plant extracts traditionally used to support insulin sensitivity and help keep blood glucose under control. If you’re being treated for type 2 diabetes however, always consult your doctor before changing your diet or exercise or starting a supplement,” advises Dr. Sarah Brewer.