Our guest post comes from Natural Medicine Specialist Rachel Weaver. Rachel has completed an Advanced Diploma in Naturopathy over 5 years of study at Nature Care and holds a Bachelor of Applied Science in Physical Education. She enjoys relying on both traditional and evidence based naturopathic medicine in her clinical practice.
Stress isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, the stress response is an important survival mechanism. Known as the “fight or flight” response, the body responds to an imminent threat through the immediate sequence of hormonal changes and physiological responses. Your heart races and your adrenalin surges. The body is priming itself ready to either flee to safety or fight the threat – whether it be real or perceived.
However, this is mostly (and should be) a temporary state of arousal. When maintained over a long period of time, the response is somewhat dampened but the body gets stuck in a hyper-vigilant and less desirable state.
Stressors aren’t always life-threatening nor obvious, as in being chased by a lion for example. Stress includes dealing with traffic jams when running late, financial pressures, moving house, moving job, dealing with disruptive neighbours, relationship breakdowns such as separation or divorce, meeting work deadlines, parenting, social media……and that’s just a few.
The problem is prolonged stress exposure creates a chronic stress response and this can then result in a wide variety of health problems if left unchecked.
As a family naturopath, I often see the signs and symptoms of stressful living in my clinical practice. Plus, I’ve had my fair share of stressful life events over recent years including multiple house moves, divorce and new work environments so I feel I’m well placed to also speak from experience.
So how can we all deal with stress and maintain our health, and what can we do before we start to experience symptoms?
Here are some of the symptoms of chronic stress that may include the follow
Muscles aches and pains
Immune system depletion e.g. greater frequency of infections, viruses
Irritability or lack of tolerance
Digestive disturbances (constipation, bloating, diarrhoea)
Fatigue or/and Brain fog
Skin breakouts or dry skin
Migraines and headaches
Irregular cycles and/or painful periods
Loss of hair
Lack of libido
Lack of lustre joy for life
Anxiety / panic attacks
Loss of interest in social connection
If these signs are ignored, then they can result in chronic, significant and severe health conditions. In fact, stress can be the trigger for any genetic pre-disposition in regards to your health being switched on.
So, as an exhausted, stressed out woman, what can be done to help manage stress and avoid illness? Ideally, remove the threat but of course this is not always possible.