The Physical side of Stress
As the dreaded lockdown continues to affect all our lives, it is not surprising that so many people are seeking help for stress. Financial worries, not being allowed to see family and friends, worrying about your job and the future, family arguments, being cooped up at home and not allowed out. These are all things we aren’t used to, and certainly didn’t expect to last so long that cause us to feel stressed, but I wonder how many people are suffering different forms of stress without realising it?
Stress is caused by an imbalance of natural chemicals in our body and often affects us physically as well as emotionally. Many physical aches and pains are stress related and can range from a mild headache to much more serious issues such as stomach ulcers and digestive issues, heart problems, muscular aches and pains, back problems, the list is seemingly endless.
Any physical symptoms you experience should be checked out by a qualified medical professional, but unfortunately, while any medication prescribed may help with the physical discomfort, it may not address the original issue of the stress and the physical effects may return.
So how do we get rid of the stress?
As a therapy practice, we would always recommend a few sessions of ‘talking therapy’ to help find the root cause and search for ways to change your negative thought patterns, this may be counselling or hypnotherapy depending on your situation and preference. We would also advocate helping yourself by tweaking your diet and doing some form of exercise. I know, I know, that’s what everybody says but don’t be put off just yet!
You don’t need to pound the streets in lycra, you don’t need to queue for the gym when it re-opens, you don’t need to give up everything you like to eat or drink. This is all about balance, just like the natural chemicals we started with.
Changing your diet doesn’t mean giving up everything you like, the best way to think of it is that you are adding new foods like fresh fruit and vegetables so you will need less of the potatos and cake. There is so much choice in the shops these days, just try something new each week, you never know you might actually like it! The more variety you try the better balanced your diet will be.
With regard to the exercise, one of the few positives about lockdown is that there are online courses on just about everything, either free or at very small cost, so why not have a look around and try a couple of things you can do at home.
As I said earlier, it doesn’t have to be strenuous, you are not trying to build muscle or lose weight, simply to get your energy flowing to get you back into balance. The Asian cultures have been aware of this for thousands of years and exercises such as yoga, tai chi and qigong are designed perfectly for this purpose. Slow, gentle movements designed to release inner blockages and also calm the mind, while restoring inner balance. Beginner levels are very easy to pick up and you can stick with that level or take it further as you wish.
So have fun exploring your new options, try as much or as little as you want at your own pace. It’s your life, you deserve to enjoy it.