In our modern day lives, with work, education, health, family and other commitments all vying for our time, it is hardly surprising that many of us describe ourselves as frequently stressed. Whilst stress can be a good thing -it motivates us and stems from the burst of adrenalin that removes us from unsafe situations -over a long period of time, stress build up can cause havoc. Combined with fatigue and a build up of negativity such as frustration or irritability, this can lead to a burn out. According to one study, stress-related illness contributes to a massive 43% of all sickness leave at work.
We all know that mental and physical health are linked, with cortisol affecting the ways that our body functions and how even fundamental things such as digestion can be affected. However, it can be hard to recognise where to draw the line between productiveness and stress overload -surely cracking on with work over taking a break is a positive thing? Unfortunately, according to this month’s Om Yoga author and life coach Janice Haddon, the brain is then forced to seek pleasure and coping mechanisms in the form of caffeine, alcohol, sugar or cigarettes. These substances provide us with a temporary hit, but do not provide us with essential nutrients to bolster energy and in some cases (think sugar, alcohol and cigarettes) also load our bodies with a dose of toxins that needs further energy to be cleared.
Another article by Jill Lawson focused more particularly on how to deal with hunger. In particular, she focused on meditation and mindfulness to separate emotions from the physical self. This awareness allows us to make more rational choices and be less swayed by fleeting emotions and impulses.
A more tangible method to avoiding burnout and balancing stress is also simple: exercise. Admittedly HIIT workouts and other high intensities exercise may exaggerate stress by raising cortisol, but resistance training, cardio and yoga will all provide endorphins that promote wellbeing. Of course, sometimes we need to leave the gym or hot yoga studio behind and engage in a slow mentality. Taking the time to relax, indulge and just switch off can be easily pushed aside or marred by guilt, but will help to replenish your energy -literally and metaphorically -and can actually boost performance and productivity. When stress can slowly build up upon us without us noticing, taking the time to restore ourselves is pretty vital to avoid a crash and burn.
Also in this month’s issue is an interview with seriously inspirational yogi Eleanora Zampatti, who embraced her own vulnerability and strength through yoga -definitely worth a read!
Disclaimer: I am an Affiliated Blogger with Om Yoga Magazine. Each issue I will write a post on an article from the magazine and share it with you. Have a look here to find about the other lovely affiliated bloggers.