Self-Care in Times of Stress ~ Deanna Tasi
We all go through periods of intense stress in our lives. How we approach these stresses makes all the difference in how we move through them. For many people, it is easy to become overwhelmed by these experiences and lose sight of our individual needs. During times of intense stress, it becomes even more important to keep self-care at the forefront.
Here’s five ways to help manage your self-care in times of stress:
- Go for a walk or hike. Getting outside into fresh air, allowing your eyes to relax on the horizon, and moving your body, are all good ways to lower your stress level. If your work involves sitting in front of a computer, it’s even more important to take breaks throughout your day to move around. Walking not only improve your circulation and mood, but allowing your eyes to gaze along the horizon gives the tiny muscles in your eyes a chance to rest and relax, which can also help relieve neck tension and headaches.
- Eat more vegetables. It’s easy when we’re crunched for time to start eating on the run, often this looks like packaged / premade foods. When our body is under stress we burn through the vitamins we consume at a faster rate. In Chinese medicine each of the emotions is said to effect different organs of the body. Stress that includes frustration and aggravation impacts the liver’s ability to function well. One of the main duties of the liver is to keep all of the “qi” (or energy) moving smoothly through out the body. When the liver’s energy gets stuck, we feel irritable, impatient, and tension in our body, especially the neck and shoulders. One way to help the liver smooth the flow of the qi in the body is to consume move green vegetables, such as broccoli and dark-leafy greens. Pesto is another amazing food, packed with delicious, aromatic greens that help stimulate your immune systems and circulation.
- Make sure you are drinking enough water. Signs of dehydration can include headaches, fatigue, constipation, muscle cramps, dry skin, and irritability. Drink a glass of water in the morning upon waking, whenever you are thirsty, and during intense workouts. If you’re under more stress than usual, you may need to drink more water too. If you feel agitated at the end of your day, drink a couple of glasses of water, especially if know you neglected to during the day.
- Get an adequate amount of sleep, at minimum. Some people require even more sleep during times of stress. When we are well rested, we think more clearly, our memory works much better, and our response to external stresses is less reactive and more grounded. We are much more likely to keep an optimistic outlook on life’s challenges with a good night’s sleep under our belt. It’s best to be asleep by 11p at the latest, this allows your body to be in it’s deepest sleep from 1-3a at night, when our liver is at it’s most active. Part of the liver’s function is to clean out waste from our blood, including stress hormones that we may have generated the day before. A good night sleep can make a world of difference on how we see the world the next day.
- Schedule regular acupuncture treatments. With all of the known adverse effects of long-term stress on our health, it’s good to know that acupuncture is incredible for helping to reduce stress. It’s a reset button unlike anything else. With moderate to high stress, once a week is very helpful. During times of intense stress, treatments every three to four days can make a huge difference. When you feel more relaxed, you’ll make better decisions and the people close to you will benefit from your happiness.
Deanna Tasi L.Ac.
Tao to Wellness
809 Hearst Ave
Berkeley, CA 94710