What happens to your body when you are stressed? Weight Gain! What you can do to avoid it and manage it. From the dog days of summer to the first days of school, August is a month of transition for many. Preparing for a new school year means anticipating new friends, new teachers, and a new way to learning and doing things. If you’re going back to school or if you have kids who are most will find this back to school routine, after a summer off stressful. Hey even the roads will have more traffic. But it doesn’t stop there. You’ll be spending money on new clothes, school materials, possibly a new computer or other tech gadgets. You might be changing schools and that means new friends too. For a lot of people added together it becomes stressful. The stress often leads to; comfort eating, partying and weight gain. When we’re under stress the body goes into a fight or flight response. What that means is the body is responding to a perceived threat or danger. This is the psychological term that describes one of the ways we can react when under stress. Whether we’re stressed because of constant, crazy demands at work or we’re really in danger, our bodies respond like we’re about to be harmed and need to fight for our lives (or run like heck). During this reaction, certain hormones like adrenalin and cortisol are released in our bodies. Studies have shown that increased cortisol in the body leads to weight gain, especially around the stomach area. When the adrenals become exhausted that can lead to low thyroid as well, which also causes weight gain. In addition, adrenal exhaustion leads to poor immune function, poor hormone regulation, insomnia, and chronic fatigue.
Chronically high cortisol levels can cause sleep problems, a depressed immune response, blood sugar abnormalities, and even abdominal weight gain. “When cortisol spikes, it tells the body to eat something with a lot of calories—a great survival tactic if you need energy to flee a predator but not if you’re fretting over how to pay bills,” says nutritional biochemist Shawn Talbott, PhD, author of The Cortisol Connection. So as your vacation wraps up here 10 ways to de-stress and get organized before going back to school: 1) Give yourself a “me” day. Way back when I was a flight attendant one of our pre-flight safety announcements was this: In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag does not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your mask on first, and then assist the other person. If we translate that into the real world it means that you need to take care of yourself first before you can take care of others. If you’re feeling deflated and you don’t have any energy how are you going to give your best self to others? Taking care of you isn’t a selfish, if anything it’s a smart strategy. Living up to the ‘superwoman’ image can lead to terrible feelings of guilt over getting your hair done, or getting a manicure or a pedicure. But doing nothing on purpose or treating yourself is very important for women to physically and mentally recharge. According to a study, 96 per cent of women feel guilty at least once a day. Can you believe that? 2) Get organized Take at least one day to reorganize your home and car. Don’t wait until spring to do your spring cleaning. You’ll be amazed about how much stuff you have that you just need to get rid of. If you don’t have the time to host a garage sale then donate your unwanted items to your favorite charity? Back-to-school time is a great opportunity to get a busy entryway into your house under control. Clear the clutter, clean rugs, wipe down shelving and put back only the essentials. 3) Sleep in Forget about the alarm clock and get the sleep you need. If you’ve been putting on a few extra pounds lately or have been pulling out your hair at work, chances are you’re lacking sleep. 4) Do something creative Engage yourself in a craft, a new recipe to try or maybe give your fitness wardrobe a lift? Pinterest is a virtual inspiration board that helps you save your favorite images and videos from the internet. It’s a great organizer and you’ll literally find millions of images of how to make your life better. Of course we’re on Pinterest so please make sure to follow us for tips on health and fitness, beauty, and quick and easy recipes all designed to help you live a stress free life! 5) Just say “no thanks” For some women saying ‘no’ can be hard because we don’t want to be seen as selfish and we’ve been taught to put others first. Give yourself time to think about each request, so have ready a stalling tactic. Explain with kindness why you can’t do something so they can see it from your point of view. 6) Workout Women are so demoralized from being bombarded with images of “perfect” models that their default mode for shape and size tends to be set at “dissatisfaction”. More than 70% report being on a diet at any one time, regardless of whether they are actually overweight or not. Choose to change your situation and make time to work-out. If you choose not to do that, then view the situation differently — recognize it is your choice and no one else is to blame. But don’t stay in the same situation and view it with horror. That wastes energy and causes stress. 7) Breathe When you are feeling stressed, take time to focus on breathing deeply. Close your eyes, sit up straight, and focus on nothing but just breathe deeply. Do one set of eight like this. Count slowly to four with the intake breath and exhale to a slow four count. 8) Laugh Research has shown that the health benefits of laughter are far-ranging. While more studies need to be done, studies so far have shown that laughter can help relieve pain, bring greater happiness, and even increase immunity. Laughter reduces the level of stress hormones like cortisol. Yeehaw! Ask your friend who has a good joke, learn to tell a good joke or find some funny clips on YouTube. 9) Be grateful This one is so simple and costs you nothing. When you’re feeling stressed or worried or just simply having a bad day get a piece of paper and a pen and write down all the things that are going great in your life. I’m not talking about the material stuff you have. I’m talking about things that we take for granted like having ten toes and ten fingers, that you can drink fresh water from my faucet, I can see, my fridge keeps food clothes, I have shoes, I have clothes, my TV works, I have 1 friend, and so on. We fail to recognize that the simple things in life. As you begin to write you’ll realize how truly wonderful your life is. 10) Give a sincere compliment I have to thank my husband for this one. Every day he makes a goal of giving three people a sincere compliment. I have seen people’s faces light up when he says something like “Wow – that’s a great color on you!” Or “What a beautiful family you have”. When you compliment someone and you see their reaction it boomerangs back and has a positive impact on you too. Give it a shot and you’ll experience this warm feeling inside. Plus it’s good karma! Print out this checklist to help you remember and so you can share it with others. You never know the difference you can make in someone’s day. We all need helpful reminders because we get so busy. And above all else choose to think happy, positive thoughts on purpose and avoid or eliminate negative, critical and blame thoughts from your life and those stress knots (and the pounds) will melt away bit by bit.