Knowing the signs of STRESS in November

Stress can manifest in several different ways. We may not even know it is happening, we may feel completely normal.
So what are common ways we know that stress is impacting our lives?

1. Sleep Problems - Waking up at night or unable to fall asleep easily. Waking up unrefreshed
2. Digestive Problems - Bloating, gas, constipation or diarrhea can all be signs of a high stress lifestyle
3. Headaches/Pain - tension headaches that start at the base of the skull and move up around to the forehead = Stress.
4. Emotions - quick to anger, cry, lose your temper or laugh at inappropriate times can be a sign that you are stressed out
5. Fatigue - needing to nap mid day or feeling very fatigued even after a good night's sleep.
6. Poor performance at work - The inability to stay on task or focus, lack of efficiency
7. Poor memory - stress can cause us to become forgetful and lose track of items
8. Regular colds and flus - getting sick and decreased immune system happens when our lifestyle is very stressful for a long period of time.

How do we overcome stressors?
Managing stress is very individualized and something I talk to my patients about on a regular basis.

Techniques that I have used on myself and with patients include:
- Deep breathing - just 5 minutes a day will help to reduce your cortisol levels (stress hormone)
- Do something every day that brings you joy. If you don't remember what that is, start by making a list.
- Eat healthy, nutrient dense meals. A nutrient deficiency can add stress on the body
- Surround yourself with an amazing support network. We all need to vent and we need people in our lives that are understanding and supportive.
- Boost your immune system with fruits and veggies and supplements (consult your health care provider).
- Meditation - guided meditations (Youtube, classes) can help to ground and release any stress that has been pent up that day.

- Exercise - 20 minutes a day! That's it

As we go into the holiday season, many of us feel the stress that this brings. November is the time to start implementing stress reduction techniques to prevent a build up of stress and instead, enjoy the holidays with family and friends.

Yours in health,
Dr. J