“The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it” – Sydney J. Harris
In today’s society, everyone suffers under the pressures of stress, you’re not alone. There are many types of varying intensities of stress. Whether it is obvious stressors such as your job, family, finances, physical pain or smaller issues such as traffic, extreme temperatures, what to feed your family or what you might look like in a bathing suit. All of these things, big or small, cause the release of cortisol. After many years of adaptive behaviour, your body can no longer decipher whether a situation is life or death (there’s a tiger chasing me!), and therefore your body will react to all stressors in the same way.
What is Cortisol?
Cortisol is an adrenal hormone that regulates carbohydrate metabolism, blood sugar, inflammation and blood pressure. Stress can cause cortisol levels to rise – causing food cravings for carbs, like sugary treats, breads or french fries. Cortisol is also responsible for telling the body that a stressful situation is over and energy saving mode can be turned off. This means that when stress levels remain high, your digestion is put on hold so that your energy can be directed toward the stressful situation. This response to stress can cause the accumulation of fat in the belly and behind and cause the dreaded “muffin top”.
- Diaphragmatic Breathing to centre yourself (include visualization of a place you find
- Meditation/listen to music/dance/garden
- Go for a walk to move your body
- Spend time with supportive family and friends
- Make a healthy meal
- Find a funny movie or book and laugh
- Practice gratitude – journal about positive things for which you are grateful for. (Read my blog on Ways to Practice More Gratitude)
- Practice self-care
- Get creative and do something artistic (e.g. colouring book, sketch, write, draw)
- Play and have fun (when was the last time you did this?!)
- Sleep until you wake naturally
Practicing relaxation techniques can help with a variety of health conditions. I encourage you to try something new today!