06 Feb Why stress is not good for you
Stress, I believe this is the number one key factor why most of us are feeling so bad lately. I recently treated myself on a 3 day trip to New York City. The city where it all happens (they say). I did all my homework on beforehand and I knew exactly where I wanted to go, where the nearest smoothie bar was from my hotel and where I could relax a 100%. Well at least that was what I thought. Soon I was about to figure out that the public transportation that they have is 180 degrees the opposite as how I used to know it in my home country or even worse in entire Europe. Luckily Americans are very friendly and are always willing to help you out. However, you understand that if you need to catch your plane, and to realize that your in the wrong subway can cause some serious heartbeats. If this happens only occasionally, than its fine, and it’s even good for you. However, lately people are dealing with chronic stress. And that is less wonderful for your health.
My love for traveling and observing people from different cultures have always been a thing. Arriving in New York has opened a new world for me. I believe I seen it all. Mothers with children in a rush that they almost forget to stop for all the taxi drivers, nannies with groups of children, dog walkers and the business people that always run with coffee in their hands. And then there was that huge contrast between central park and downtown Manhattan. From the park where the atmosphere was 100% relaxt to downtown where the amazing and even super healthy take away shops are everywhere and cannot be ignored. It’s without a doubt the most fantastic take away city I’ve ever been in. And I visited 45 countries so far. New York was a in between flights destination for me, and I headed to Costa Rica and Florida in the same trip. The difference that you’ll see is big. However, New York is pretty close with the reality in my hometown Amsterdam. And I started wondering how it is possible that the market anticipates so well on the demanding stress market/industry and how it is possible that people are still in a huge rush. The answer is simple and a huge issue for our optimal health: chronic stress.
Chronic stress is something I can control right?!
Do you know that you’re dealing with chronic stress, but do you need help in controlling it? Follow the next steps:
If you know a specific thing is making you feeling a little stressed or maybe extremely stress: count until 10 and face it then. If you can avoid the situation it’s even better of course!
Try to exercise 30 minutes per day. This can be 10.000 steps (about 7 km) or this can also be yoga or anything else.
Prepare on beforehand so you have a proper overview and it will also help you to avoid exam stress
Don’t blame yourself for not being able to controlling it, just try to let go
Do breathing exercises in order to get your stress levels under control. I know sound super boring, but I tried it several times and it works a 100%. Your body is not made to do two things at the same time, you can also only feel pain on one spot, just try once, when you’re in pain. and YES, this means that it is not possible to multitask, your brain is basically processing between two tasks really fast and that also causes stress and half of the work because you’re constantly swapping.
Get a new job if you are working for an employer that only cares about numbers and barely about their employees. I work myself for a company that is if you ask me, too busy with numbers and how to do a better job. This basically comes down to the fact that once you hit the target, there will be a new and even higher target. So far I learned to cope with it by taking all my possible holidays several times a year. I go 6 times a year on a holiday period and due to that people think I lost my mind and am super rich by now (which isn’t true). Beside that I made sure I work parttime and not fulltime and I basically do all the bullet points listed above. What also helps me by the way is speaking with colleagues that are facing the same issues and I often ask them their approach of creating this life/work balance. Having someone to talk to is also important.
You are worth it, no matter how many people told you, you ain’t. Take some you time on a daily basis. I know, having obligations can be a challenge, there is always something that you could possibly do. But realize, that no one beside you, will look after you. Taking good care of yourself is more important than you maybe ever will realize. Try to go to the spa, get that new haircut or basically book a get away in the weekend. Yes, this costs money, but your health is expensive and will become even more expensive at the moment you don’t have it anymore. Do not let that happen, because then there is no way back anymore. So why would I do all of that?
Well, for your own health to start with of course, but also because it will give you the following benefits:
If you have chronic stress you will sleep experience will decrease immense. Meaning you’ll start having sleeping problems.
You will gain weight as this is an old trick from nature where we had real threats and we needed to have that energy and speed boost to escape from that lion that is running after you. Beside that, it doesn’t matter whether you eat much calories, or less. If your body is in a state of stress, there is no way you will lose kilograms.
It makes you tired. Yes, I don’t think that this is very surprising to you, but it makes you extremely tired. Beside that it’s also causing that you will lose your vigor which can easily cause a burn out, and once you have a burn out, it will take a long time before you are over it. Then once you are over it, you still didn’t really fixed the stress related issues because as soon as you start your old life again, they will appear straight away.
You are putting all your relationships in a serious risk, since no one is able to properly work or be with you because you are constantly the most evil version of yourself.
If it goes really bad with you you will face all kind of symptoms like enlarged thyroid, dizziness, weakness, muscle cramps, nausea and stomach pain.
Bear in mind: some stress can be good to give your body a little push when it’s needed. When you have an important exam, when your going to drive in a car for the first time, when you’re scared or when you need to give a speech for a big audience. Remember that this is always fine, as long as this is only taking place once in a while. Experiencing stress related issues period, is never good for you and can be addressed very easy.
Don’t be afraid but feel encouraged with this information, as this will give you a new confidence boost to do it better next time.
Happy stress free life,