Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
STRESS - we deal with it on a regular basis and hear about it all the time. It's in the news. We read about it in magazines and see it discussed online. Your doctor may have even talked with you about controlling your stress. But is it really such a big deal?
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
So, what is stress anyway? The Miriam Webster dictionary defines stress as “a physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.”
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
I was pleasantly surprised to find that this definition included the less obvious result of stress, which can, in fact, be disease. Not that I’m happy about stress causing disease, but I think most people don’t realize the huge impact it can have on our health. The definition went on to show examples of using the word ‘stress’ in a sentence, which was also appropriate for this session. “Hormones are released into the body in response to emotional stress."
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
So, as you probably guessed, the answer to the question “Is stress a big deal?” is “Yes” - IF you care about your health.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Here’s What Happens in Your Body… “When you encounter a perceived threat - a large dog barks at you during your morning walk, for instance - your hypothalamus, a tiny region at the base of your brain, sets off an alarm system in your body. Through a combination of nerve and hormonal signals, this system prompts your adrenal glands, located atop your kidneys, to release a surge of hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and boosts energy supplies. Cortisol, the primary stress hormone, increases sugars (glucose) in the bloodstream, enhances your brain's use of glucose, and increases the availability of substances that repair tissues.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Cortisol also curbs functions that would be nonessential or detrimental in a fight-or-flight situation. It alters immune system responses and suppresses the digestive system, reproductive system, and growth processes. This complex natural alarm system also communicates with regions of your brain that control mood, motivation, and fear.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
The long-term activation of the stress-response system - and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones - can disrupt almost all your body's processes”  Mayo Clinic
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
The long-term activation of the stress-response system - and the subsequent overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones - can disrupt almost all your body's processes. This puts you at increased risk of numerous health problems, including: •Anxiety •Depression •Digestive problems •Heart disease •Sleep problems •Weight gain •Memory and concentration impairment  Source: Mayo Clinic
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Other Negative Effects of Chronic Stress • nutrient deficiencies because of decreased nutrient absorption • reduced gut flora (the ‘good’ bacteria) • increased levels of cortisol (which can inhibit weight loss) • lowering metabolism and increasing fat storage • increased oxidative stress (which causes premature aging)
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
The resulting hormonal imbalances (involving cortisol and insulin, in particular) and chronic low-grade inflammation can set the stage for the development of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some forms of cancer, and other chronic diseases. Chronic stress can also make you more susceptible to colds, flu, and other infections. And physical stress disrupts physiological homeostasis in several ways (including the hormonal and inflammatory pathways) that may affect your energy level in an adverse way.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
The effects of stress can also affect your state of mind, impairing your working memory and your ability to control your impulses. It also increases the risk of anxiety and depression. In addition, unbridled stress can sap your energy and undermine your motivation and resolve to make or stick with healthy lifestyle changes.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
In fact, research from the University of California, San Francisco, found that people who reported higher levels of stress had a greater drive to eat, including disinhibited eating, binge eating, hunger, more ineffective attempts to control their eating, all of which can promote weight gain.  Source: Dr. David Katz, Author, Disease-Proof
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Did you realize that stress could wreak so much havoc? Pretty incredible! Now that we know it can negatively affect many bodily processes including digestion, nutrient absorption, hormones, blood pressure, appetite control, aging, and memory, we can put it towards the top of our list of things to address.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
It’s not realistic to eliminate all stress from our lives, of course, but there are plenty of things we can do to minimize it. The first step is deciding that it’s important enough to do. Children learn from our example and I think the hectic pace we live in is setting them up for duplicating this pattern (and thinking it’s perfectly normal and okay).
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Common Causes of Stress Relationships Divorce Disagreements New marriage Career Work-related stress or working too much Change of job Finances Disagreements Credit card debt Loss of job Your health or family members’ health Caring for others Illness Death Home environment Family issues Disagreements Need help Moving Birth Diet Binge eating Eating out all the time Continuous dieting with no results Lifestyle Over-training (exercising too much) Random stressful situations like traffic Over-scheduling (too many things on your calendar)
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
I think oftentimes we minimize the amount of stress we’re under because we aren’t even fully conscious of it. I’ve been guilty of this myself. It’s easy sometimes to take to on too much. When we do, we often end up with a schedule that is way too busy, find ourselves running in circles, and feel like we’re not getting much accomplished – and this stresses us out even more! We ultimately pay the price with relationship issues, poor diet, health, and time management issues … or worse!
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
We’re going to cover some ideas to help reduce stress but the first thing I’d like to address is probably the most important thing you can do starting today. It’s simple, you already do it every day – but once you do more of it and do it consistently, you’re likely to notice a huge difference in how you feel. So, what the solution? Get more sleep! How is getting enough sleep going to help with stress? You may be surprised.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
You’ve Heard People Say That Sleep Is Overrated ... or Is It?
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Inadequate slumber over extended periods of time may interfere with immune function, including production of white blood cells and hormonal regulation, which is why sufficient sleep is linked with chronically elevated levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This also leads to impaired immunity and elevated levels of hormones such as insulin, increasing the risk of gaining body fat (most often in the midsection) and of developing systemic inflammation and type 2 diabetes. It also leads to changes in the hormone leptin and ghrelin, which regulate hunger and satiety.” - Dr. David Katz, Disease-Proof
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Included in this session are suggestions on how to improve your sleep, but the first one is making it a big enough priority and scheduling 7-9 hours to make sure it happens. This means planning ahead. If you need 8 hours of sleep and you must be up by 6:00 a.m. you need to be ready for sleep by 10:00 pm. Some people do great on 7 hours and some need 8 or 9, so figure out what makes you feel the most rested.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
If you’re saying, “But I can’t, I have way too much to do!” you should know that insufficient sleep decreases productivity, so by getting enough sleep, you can get more done in less time AND feel better while you’re doing it.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Here’s an all-too-common scenario: You get to bed too late and when it’s time to wake up, your alarm goes off and you’re still tired and hit the snooze button one too many times. Now you’re running late. There’s no time for a decent breakfast, much less, time for packing a healthy lunch to take with you. You leave the house hungry and tired and arrive at work. The only ‘food’ available is whizzing through a drive-thru, something in a vending machine, the donuts someone else brought into the office, or worse, you just have time to grab some coffee.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Now, you’re dragging all day with low energy because this is not the first night this week you haven’t had enough sleep. Somewhere between 2:00 and 3:00, you’re ready to crash, so you grab the closest thing you can find with sugar to keep you going a while longer. And you may grab another cup of coffee. You leave work way too tired to stop at the gym to exercise or have the incentive to go for a walk when you get home. You grab a quick, highly processed snack to get you through until dinner.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
If this pattern is repeated often enough over the course of weeks or months, you can imagine where this will lead you. Many of us are operating this way on a regular basis. It’s stressful and it’s wreaking havoc on us in every possible way. It may have started because of a particular event or short-term project, but then became a habit. However, the more we become aware of the things we do that have us on the road to depleting our health, the easier it is to make a change
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Scenario #2 – Imagine this! You get 7-9 hours of sleep and sleep straight through. You wake up rested, refreshed, and ready to take on the day. You hop out of bed, drink your water, have a healthy breakfast, arrive at work on time relaxed, and feeling productive. You have a balanced, healthy lunch that gives you sustained energy for the rest of the afternoon. No mid-afternoon crash. No snacks or coffee are needed nor craved. You’ve either worked out before you got to work, or you have the energy to work out after. You go home and are happy to make a balanced, healthy dinner and enjoy time with your family. You still feel good. You get to bed by 10:00 or at the latest 11:00 p.m. so you get in your amount of needed sleep. Now, THAT’S a great day!
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Do you see how the way you wake up each morning affects your entire day? It all starts with how rested you are when you wake up and that depends on the amount and quality of sleep you get. When we are fully rested, it also allows us to handle stress better. Adequate sleep helps us recover from stress too. When we’re asleep, our bodies have a chance to rest, repair, detox and recover.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Even though sleep may seem to be a passive and dormant state, there is much activity going on in the brain during different sleep cycles that affect different needs of the body and the mind. Without sufficient time for these things, we run into problems and our health and emotional state can suffer.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Evaluation Time Look at the areas of your life that are causing you stress. What are some ways you can reduce it?
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🐝
HoneybeeHelper
15 May
I listen to music and color something!! 🙂👍
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
For example: Look at your calendar and see what you have going on each day in the coming month. If you (and your spouse and/or kids) are completely overbooked, is there a solution? Maybe this means taking a step down from certain obligations or activities. Perhaps working out a carpool would be helpful for some things. Don’t let your schedule run YOU – decide how YOU can run your schedule. It may mean making some changes or adjustments and possibly eliminating some commitments. You may even need to ask for help! In the long run, freeing up your schedule to decrease stress is worth it. You can have a family meeting to figure out solutions that may work for everyone. It doesn’t have to be all up to you to decide. It’s okay to delegate.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
What do you really want for your life? Is your schedule a reflection of that? If not, are there changes you can make? Are you running your schedule or is your schedule running you?
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Learning How to Just Say No! TIP: Learn how to not say ‘yes’ right away. And know that it’s okay to say no.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
People can have a hard time saying ‘no’ when they’re asked to help with something. Yes, it is important for everyone to have a way to contribute, but it becomes a problem when you’re overextended. Especially when you end up dreading your commitment, find yourself run ragged, or don’t have enough time for your family – or worse yet yourself!
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
A great idea is to reply with something like, “Thanks for asking. Let me check my schedule and get back to you.” This way, you don’t have to say ‘no’ and you’ll have time to see if this fits into your schedule or not. Stay firm. Evaluate your time, your commitments, and your highest values. If you have the time and you want to do it, then great. If not, you can let the person know that as much as you’d like to help, right now you’re not able to.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
We’ve looked at common causes of stress and the number one way to help deal with it, which is getting enough sleep. This is also a good time to go back and look at your priorities and goals. Many times, stress is caused when our priorities are not aligned with how we’re spending our time.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Talk to your employer about workplace stressors. Healthy and happy employees are more productive, so your employer has an incentive to tackle workplace stress whenever possible. Rather than rattling off a list of complaints, let your employer know about specific conditions that are impacting your work performance.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Where do you do your best thinking or get your best ideas? It’s usually when things are quiet and you’re alone. Find some quiet time to figure out the best way to reduce some of the stress in your life and understand that it’s important to your health.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Self-care is about taking good care of yourself and treating yourself as kindly as you treat others. So why do so many of us put ourselves at the bottom of the list of priorities?
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Taking care of ourselves should be at the top of the list since this allows us to be able to care for others better. It’s not selfish to want to feel amazing. When we’re at our best, we can give our best and we have more to give. Something as simple as taking a class or enjoying a little quiet time a few times a week may be all you need. Find what you enjoy doing and what recharges you. How can you fit this into your schedule? Maybe, for now, it can only be 30 minutes twice a week, but that’s a start.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
Also, if your employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) I'd take advantage of it.
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
22 Ways to Take Care of YOU Check the ones that appeal to you and that you feel you can start with…  1. Get enough sleep  2. Take the time to prioritize your day each morning (what are the top 2-3 things you want to get done today?).  3. Remember to schedule things as evenly as possible throughout the week (don’t cram too much into your days)  4. Reduce time on the computer and TV  5. Take deep breaths during the day  6. Eat more slowly  7. Connect with family and/or friends  8. Take vacations (or “staycations”)  9. Don’t be afraid to ask for help  10. Make time for yourself  11. Read a book or watch a movie  12. Exercise  13. Speak to yourself more kindly  14. Listen to music  15. Open your windows and blinds during the day – let in the fresh air and sunshine  16. Remember your goals and aspirations  17. Enjoy a hot bath  18. Meditate and/or do yoga  19. Get a massage or facial  20. Go on a walk  21. Focus on the positive  22. Keep a journal
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Fox
15 May
I’m actually off work because of stress right now. Going to have to defend myself when I go back, to demonstrate I needed the time off for stress, so that’s not helping me to relax at all
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
🤗 In your situation I'd definitely try journaling. Nothing formal... more of a mind dump. Write about how you're feeling.
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Fox
15 May
Thank you
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
You're welcome!
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Cassandra SchmigotzkiAuthor
15 May
TO DO  List all your commitments and responsibilities. Figure out your biggest causes of stress and look at ways you can reduce it. Just start with one thing for now if needed.  Evaluate your schedule and see where changes can be made to make things less hectic.  Make sleep a priority and be sure to get the amount you need as often as you can. Notice how you feel when you’re more rested.  Look at the list of 22 ideas for self-care so you can reduce stress and take care of yourself. What 3-5 things will you start with?
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