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Managing Stress During Challenging Times

October 10, 2021
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As I write this post it’s October of 2021 and right now around the globe, people have been impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak for over a year and a half. It’s impacting the daily lives of pretty much everyone around the globe. And stress and anxiety levels are very high as everyone works to adapt to a new sense of normal. Unfortunately, uncertainty, fear, and negative energy contribute to high stress, which throws your energy systems out of balance. That in turn impacts your immune system. So when you’re stressed out for an extended period, it could make you more susceptible to both physical illnesses, which we definitely don’t want right now! But it also leaves you susceptible to mental health issues as well! This is why it is important to work on managing stress every day!

Common symptoms associated with stress

You may be dealing with symptoms that are the result of long-term stress and not even know it!

Some of the common physical symptoms of stress include:

  • Fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension and pain
  • Digestive problems
  • Eating too much or too little
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Dizziness
  • Changes in sex drive

Some of the common mental, emotional and behavioral symptoms of stress include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Lack of motivation
  • Social isolation
  • Addiction
  • Mood swings
  • Restlessness
  • Feeling overwhelmed

How you can begin managing stress daily

Make stress management a priority

The good news is that there is plenty you can do to help reduce stress and overcome these symptoms! Managing stress regularly helps to keep your immune system functioning well. And it helps you to stay mentally healthy too! We live in a time when self-care is often put on the back burner. But in order to keep yourself healthy, you must make it a priority!

Why? Even before challenging things happen stress contributes to 90% of all chronic health problems. So when you are then faced with something traumatic, your stress is compounded. The longer you face that heightened stress, the more it begins to break down your health. Stress has a huge impact on your energy. And if you are energy sensitive (empaths, HSPs) as well, it can impact you even more easily than others!

But the awesome news is that you can lighten your stress load quickly and easily! And this can help you to preserve your energy. It doesn’t have to take a lot of your time to feel better! But you have to be willing to make yourself a priority by giving yourself some energy care time each day!

Remember to breathe!

When you’re in a stress state, your sympathetic nervous system is on high alert! When you perceive something as a threat, your body shifts into stress mode. This activates the sympathetic nervous system, which then begins to release hormones like cortisol and adrenaline that can help you either fight the danger or run from it.

When the danger has passed, the parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and slows everything down. It activates the relaxation response and shuts off the production of all of the stress chemicals. And that allows your body to relax! When you’re in a state of chronic stress, the stress response stays active continually. The body was not designed to stay stuck in a state of constant stress. But even before facing a pandemic, many people were already trapped in that state.

One of the most simple ways to switch on the relaxation response and trigger your parasympathetic nervous system is by slowing your breath. When people are stressed, they tend to breathe more shallowly, taking in much less oxygen than is optimal for health. But focusing on the breath can change that!

I’m not talking about deep breathing, but slow breathing.  Slowing the breath sends a signal to the parasympathetic nervous system that the danger has passed and allows the body to begin relaxing. And it doesn’t take long for this switch to happen either!

The 5-5-5 breathing method

Slow breathing is simple. So I’ve created the 555 breathing method to help you! Just gently inhale for a count of five seconds. Then exhale for a count of five seconds. It really is that simple! Do that for five minutes a day! You can do this more than once a day too! This simple exercise can help you to slow down an overactive nervous system. And it helps to lower the stress hormone cortisol too! This exercise isn’t necessarily about deep breathing, but slowing the breath down. That is what will help to calm your nervous system.

Added benefits

Daily breathwork is important for everyone! But it must be a priority for anyone who is energy sensitive! If you are energy sensitive, you may be impacted by an energy that is trapped in the body. One of the easiest ways to get that “stuck” energy moving is through practicing slow breathing regularly!

Get out in nature

If you’ve ever spent a day in the fresh air and sunshine, you probably have noticed how relaxed you feel when you come back inside. And most likely you sleep better that night as well.

Most people are deficient in Vitamin N (nature). We spend most of our time indoors. But connecting with nature is a simple way to begin managing stress levels and boosting your energy.

I wrote a great post about just how powerful the health benefits are of getting off the couch and getting outside!

I’ve found myself craving being outside as much as possible during the chaos of 2020 and 2021. My body and soul both know how important connection with nature is for the energy-sensitive crowd. Listen to your soul nudges. If you feel like you want to get out in nature, follow that urge. Your soul may be guiding you to recharge your energy there.

Earthing

What happens if you don’t have time to go spend a day at the beach or to go hiking at your local park? You can spend some time connecting your bare feet to the ground and you’ll get some great benefits from that.

Spending at least 15 minutes with your feet in the grass can significantly reduce the negative energy in your body and help you to feel better.

There is even technology available in the form of earthing bands, sheets and mats that allow you to connect to the energy of the earth. Earthing regularly has been shown to reduce stress hormones and inflammation in the body. It can also boost energy levels and improve sleep.

I can’t speak for others’ experiences with Earthing, but I’ve been sleeping with an earthing mat beneath my feet for a couple of months now. Before I installed the mat, I struggled for months to get 7 hours of sleep a night. Most times it was more like 6 to 6.5 hours. Now, I regularly get 7.5 to 8.5 hours of deep sleep a night. And I’m dreaming more as well! This is the earthing mat I use.

Take a technology break

Technology has allowed us to connect to information and sources of external stimulation like never before. Technology can be very useful. But our bodies were not designed to be bombarded by the amount of external input that we face daily now.

Adding to that the sheer volume of negative emotional energy found online and in the news and it’s easy to become energy depleted. I’ve certainly experienced that myself over the years.

Without giving yourself regular breaks from that input, you can find yourself beginning to have nagging health issues that continue to grow over time.

Shut off your gadgets!

You can begin to protect yourself from input overload by taking regular technology breaks. Try not to reach for your phone first thing when you wake up in the morning. Adding that stimulation first thing when you wake up can be a shock to your energetic system.

Instead, take time to meditate, do some breathwork, do some gentle exercise or journal.

Find some time each day to not be tethered to your smartphone, your tablet, or your computer. Also, take a break from watching tv, or listening to music. Your mind and body need time away from that external stimulation to process the energy you’ve absorbed throughout the day.

Here’s a news bulletin!

How often do you have the news on? Whether it’s watching your local news, a cable news channel, or scrolling news videos online, watching the news can contribute to higher stress levels!

News channels are supported financially by selling advertisements. And to get the best advertisers to buy ads, a channel needs to have good ratings. Negative news gets much higher ratings than positive news, so news programming always tends to have a focus on negative stories.

The energy you subject yourself to impacts your energy. So if you watch a lot of negative news, your body will respond by having higher stress levels. This can ultimately take a toll on your health!

Instead of watching the news, scroll news online once a day. This will allow you to continue seeing what’s going on in the world, with less negative energy!

Be less “social”

Most people know what a big deal social media is. Many people spend hours a day mindlessly scrolling social media each day. But many social media channels are filled with people who share negative things regularly.

That energy is definitely contagious so be aware of how much time you are spending on social media…and how you’re being affected. It just takes a moment while scrolling to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. If you’re feeling scared, angry, frustrated, overwhelmed, or stressed while scrolling, then maybe it’s time to go and do something else for a while so your body has the chance to release some of that negative energy.

Do a mindset check

Most people are allowing their thoughts and emotions to run on autopilot. And you may have a playlist of negative thoughts running through your head. Every time you have a thought it is followed by an emotional reaction in your body. And left unchecked those negative thoughts can be creating stress in your body, and you may not even have any idea that it is happening. Start becoming more aware of the thoughts you are thinking. It’s important to recognize patterns of thought that may be damaging to you and redirecting or reprogramming that thought to something more productive. Worry-filled thoughts will not solve anything! That energy just creates stress in your body that will ultimately lead to disease. Challenging thoughts and the resulting emotions is a great way to begin managing stress. It can help protect you and your health.

You have the power!

Managing stress is in your hands. If you want to feel better each day, then it’s up to you to make self-care and stress management a regular part of your day…every day. All it takes is tuning into your body and being intentional about your energy care routine, and you’ll find yourself feeling great more often!

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