By Dr. Shawn Dill, DC Doctor of Chiropractic
Our schedule is double-booked. We can’t seem to answer emails fast enough at work. Finances look tight again this month. We had yet another argument with our kids this morning. And when are we supposed to find the time to organize that birthday party / baby shower / neighborhood barbecue coming up next month? We are stressed out!
When we spend every waking moment of our day just trying to catch up, we become irritable, frustrated and angry. Instead of doing more work, we actually can’t concentrate as well and instead perform at a lower quality level. Potential flare-ups turn into full-blown fights, and we just don’t seem to have the energy or time to make things right again.
The emotional and physical strains we feel from the outside world not only affect the way we feel or act at any given moment, but stress also has a negative effect on our overall health. When we’re stressed out, we prohibit our red blood cells from working at their full capacity, which makes us more susceptible to colds and other illnesses.
We’re also more likely to turn to unhealthy habits like smoking, drinking and overeating, and we forget to take the time to eat healthily and exercise properly. As we think through the day and fret about the next as we lay in bed at night, we’re more likely to lose sleep, which is a vital component to full-body health as well.
Though we deal with stress in the moment, the negative long-term effects stick with us. Here are five easy things you can do to keep your stress in check:
- 1. Get a massage. Treat yourself to a periodic massage to release the physical tension in your body. Even a few minutes in a Human Touch® massage chair will provide you with the gentle touch you need to help stress melt away. Yoga and meditation are also good activities for stress reduction.
- 2. Take a vacation, but leave the cell phone at home and don’t check in with work. Spending quality time with your spouse, family or even by yourself allows you to relax in a new environment without all of the demands of home.
- 3. Learn to say no. If you can’t take on more duties at work, coach your child’s soccer team, make cupcakes for the school fundraiser and organize another event for your church, then don’t say that you can. Decide which activities are the priorities in your life, and don’t feel bad when you have to pass on others.
- 4. Laugh. Humor releases muscle tension and helps us maintain a positive outlook in otherwise stressful situations.
- 5. Don’t forget about you. If you aren’t healthy, there’s no way to provide for everyone else in your life, which adds to your stress and worry. Make sure you take the time to eat well and exercise regularly even when it doesn’t seem like you have the time or energy.