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Stress Less

It’s a busy time of the year! Holidays, spring breaks, nearing the end of the school year, making summer plans/vacations —it’s a lot. And while some of these things are meant to be joyful, when you factor in jobs and bills and aging parents and everything else on top of them, life can feel overwhelming. Downright stressful.
April is Stress Awareness Month, and an opportunity for us to think about how our minds and bodies react to stress, especially over time. Most of us can handle “some” stress from time to time; but what about chronic stress? In heavy duty amounts?
Did you know that chronic stress can be the culprit for a number of health-related issues, including:
– Poor sleep quality
– Weight gain/inability to lose weight
– Feelings of hopelessness, isolation
– Constant fatigue
– Skin problems such as acne, eczema, etc.
– Hair thinning
– Lack of desire to interact with others
Simply put, chronic stress raises our bodies’ cortisol levels. Cortisol is our body’s primary stress hormone and unchecked, leads to potentially serious physical and mental health conditions. The good news is, while we can’t always remove life’s stressors, we can create healthy habits throughout the day to combat cortisol. One of the easiest ways to do this is by something called “stacking” good (new) habits on top of good (existing) habits. For example,
– While you’re brushing your teeth, listen to a soothing or uplifting song.
– When making a healthy meal, take 10 deep, purposeful breaths.
– While cleaning up the kitchen after dinner, light a candle and think of five things that occurred during the day for which you are grateful.
– When showering, add in some aromatherapy.
– While wrapping things up for the day, write down your number one goal for the next day.
Happy April from Insights.

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