Stress and its effects on the body

22 January 2016

Stress can be good for us. It can motivate us and make us perform better in short bursts. This is called acute stress. However many of us live with non-stop stress in our lives that we are not fully aware of. Work, family dynamics, personal relationships even physical exertion-stress is a constant. When you partner everyday ongoing stress with fertility treatment – problems can start to arise. That move you into the chronic stress phase. 

What is chronic stress?

Chronic stress is when life becomes a grind and everything is stretched to the point of breaking. This kind of stress is debilitating and damaging to our body. Tight muscles, tension headaches, poor digestion, difficulty making decisions, emotional outbursts, poor sleeping patterns and lowered sex drive are all symptoms of chronic stress.

The body is literally wearing itself out, physically, emotionally and mentally. When we are trying to get pregnant or are pregnant, this is not ideal. We want our body to be functioning optimally and chronic stress does not allow this.

Chronic stress also can keep us from losing the weight we want to. When stressed the body will try to hang on to all its resources, even fat.

What can you do? Plenty!

Firstly, treat yourself with gentleness. Gentleness is a limited commodity these days. We reserve it for the young and old of our society but never for ourselves. It is too easy to be harsh and critical of ourselves
See if you can become aware of the 'critical voice' inside your head and how it undermines you.

Secondly, when you notice you are stressed, stop what you are doing as soon as you are able and go for a brisk walk for no less than 20 minutes. While walking, focus on breathing as deeply as you can. Your breath is the connection to de-stressing, flipping the switch to relaxing.

Thirdly, make a conscious effort to eat whole nourishing foods and drink plenty of water. When we are under stress our body burns through nutrients and we need to replace them. If we eat poor quality food the body burns through its reserves and once those are gone the body begins to breakdown.

Lastly, go to bed early. If you need to read a book or listen to music for a while before sleeping that is fine, it is important to unwind from your day before sleep. Sleep resets the body and brain, literally! When we are stressed this reset time is critical. With out it our body never gets to heal and rest which only increases the stress the body is already under.

That might be enough.... or it might highlight to you deeper changes that need to be made. Either way, you can feel your choices instead of just running, running, running with stress chasing you down.