Protect Yourself from Stress

Stress. It seems to be a topic of discussion everywhere these days and quite honestly, I feel like it is becoming an epidemic. Technology is causing us to be connected on our laptops, smartphones and tablets 24-7. Companies across many different industries ranging from high tech to management consulting to financial services and more, are requiring employees to produce and achieve faster and better results. Academic standards and testing for students are becoming harder and more competitive every year. Kids are getting over-scheduled with one too many after school and weekend activities. The expectations and standards for parents (or should I say the ones we place on ourselves and each other) are reaching an all-time high. On top of all this, with the economy, employment rates and real estate rates continuously rising and falling, it is no wonder our stress levels are so high!

The impact stress has on our health is astounding. Stress can negatively affect our:

1. Sleep

2. Mood

3. Organs

4. Appetite and weight

5. Skin, hair, nails and teeth

6. Immune system and ability to fight off illness

7. Blood pressure

8. Physical strength and wellness

9. Digestive system

10. Heart rate

11. Cognitive abilities including concentration and focus at work or school

12. Relationships with family and friends

13. Ability to cope with day to day to life

14. Overall sense of wellbeing and happiness

And much, much more…

According to WebMD:

– 43% of all adults suffer adverse health affects from stress

– 75-90% of all doctor’s visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints

– Stress costs American industry $300 billion annually

We all have our experiences and struggles with stress and I am no exception. I, like many others, am constantly juggling a demanding job in digital advertising sales, taking care of two young children with my husband, managing a household, volunteer activities, homework and school activities, dealing with family health issues and other needs and much more. Also, I work and live in Silicon Valley, which is a wonderful place to be, but it is also a very high-stress environment for my family and myself. According to a recent article in Forbes, “Working marathon hours is part of Silicon Valley’s DNA.” 

Despite all the stress out there, there IS something we can do about it and there is a way to lead a happier and healthier life…there really is!

Here are my suggestions for natural ways to reduce and combat stress in your life…and believe me, I have to remind myself each and every day to do these things as well. 🙂

Exercise, exercise, exercise – it will give you energy, keep you physically and mentally fit, burn off stress and release endorphins to make you happy (for ideas, check out 3 of my earlier posts called, “Challenge Yourself and Mix it Up,” “How Do You Find the Time?” and “Engage Your Core”)

Practice mindfulness – meditate (there are lots of great meditation videos on YouTube and apps out there), do yoga (yoga classes are offered everywhere at gyms, studios and corporate fitness centers) and just breathe (check out my earlier post called “Remember to Breathe”)

Talk it out – whether you just want to confide in family or friends or talk to a professional, make sure you are talking through what it truly is that is causing you stress so you can take action and do something about it

Eat nutritious foods – nourishing yourself with healthy foods is critical to managing stress and staying healthy (check out my earlier post called “Nutrition Ideas: Consider Traveling to the Mediterranean”)

Say no more often – this one is very hard for me because I have always been a “yes” girl and want to make everyone happy, but it is okay to decline a project at work, an invitation to a birthday party, a play date or a volunteer opportunity…you will feel better when you have less on your plate and there will always be another opportunity to do those things in the future

Get enough sleep – make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night because it really is important to rest and recharge your batteries so you can tackle each day and take on whatever comes your way

Light a candle and take a bath – this is a great way to unwind at the end of the day, relax and give your body and mind a much needed break

Be grateful and give back to others – if you take the time to appreciate all you have in life and help others in need, you will realize that you are part of a much bigger world and purpose and your problems may not seem as big as you might think (and even if they are, you will still have a better perspective and appreciation for others who may also be struggling with something)

Read – whether you like fiction or non-fiction books, eBooks, magazines or newspapers, reading keeps your mind sharp, allows you to learn new things and can help take your mind off the very things that are causing you stress

Get outside – being outside in fresh air and nature allows you to peacefully slow down and enjoy your surroundings, spend time with your family and friends and take a break from the TV, your smartphone, laptop, tablet or other things that can over-stimulate you and cause more stress and anxiety

I know all of this is easier said than done sometimes, but in order to protect ourselves from stress, we have to remember to take a step back and do the things that make us happy and feel good. That is what living is truly all about. So this weekend, try to relax and protect yourself from stress. I know you can do it!

Have a great weekend and talk to you all next time!

Works Cited: Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD, “The Effects of Stress on Your Body,”

Joscelin Cooper, “Why Silicon Valley’s Work Culture is Killing Us,”

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