Why Back to Work Doesn’t Equal Back to Stress
Stress is complicated, especially in a culture where our stress levels can feel like either a merit of our productivity or an indicator that the wheels are coming off. September’s ‘back to school’ mentally can create lots of productivity, but it can also leave many of us feeling stressed out, anxious or overwhelmed by our long to-do lists. If you can relate, pause and take a breath before reading further— we’ve got you.
The reality is that a certain degree of stress is inevitable for us all, and at times it can be beneficial. The term hormesis refers to an adaptive biological response in relation to acute, intermittent (re. not forever) stressors. These hormetic stressors can actually enhance our overall health and build resilience to future stress. It’s when we undergo prolonged periods of unrelenting stress that it begins to take a toll. On the physical level, this often presents as a weakened immune system— an area that we are all extra vigilant of right now.
The upside is that you may already be practicing stress management in your daily life, and if you’re not, read on for a few easy-to-implement techniques.
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Remember to Breathe (Deeply): our breath is one of our most fundamental vehicles to stress reduction and better health. Experiment with alternate nostril breathing, a cooling breath in and out through the left nostril only or simply take a few deep belly breaths. Any of these breathing techniques will activate your parasympathetic nervous system, and transition your body from a fight or flight response into a relax, rest and digest state.
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Sleep Like You Mean It: Sleep matters. If you stayed up for many late summer nights, September is the time to gently return to a consistent sleep and wake routine. Similar to an iPhone that needs to recharge, our bodies and brains require adequate nightly rest to recalibrate and restore for the next day. Over time, chronic lack of sleep can run down our reserves and leave our immune systems weak and our minds foggy. Practice proper sleep hygiene by getting into a rhythm of going to bed and waking up at the same time each day. If you struggle with sleep, opt for a cup of herbal tea or a warm bath with magnesium before bed. A natural sleep remedy can also aid the process.
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Eat Yourself Zen: what we eat has such a profound impact on how we feel, and a healthy diet can greatly reduce stress levels. Aim to eat a balanced plate with healthy fats, proteins and lots of leafy greens and cruciferous veggies. Fresh herbs and spices like turmeric, ginger root, garlic, cilantro, parsley, cinnamon, local honey and several others can improve the flavor of any dish, boost our immunity and lower our bodies’ stress levels through natural detoxification and inflammation reduction.
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Support Yourself: sometimes the most effective way to combat stress is to seek support. At Clean Market, we stock the highest quality supplements to really aid our systems during times of acute stress (or to recover from bouts of chronic stress). Whatever you’re experiencing, a quality supplement can boost the body and help it return to equilibrium. Choose from one of our immune boosting products or for New York and Las Vegas residents, stop into one of our Clean Market locations for an immunity IV drip or our new Immune Boosting Bundle.
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Sweat It Out: Never underestimate the power of a sweat to reduce stress levels, elevate our moods and boost our immune systems. Opt for 20 minutes of brisk walking outside, an invigorating yoga flow or cardio workout or a sweat session in an infrared sauna. Sweating is a natural way to detoxify, rid our bodies of any build up, stimulate our lymphatic systems and circulation and invoke deep relaxation— all practices that can lower stress levels, improve immunity and keep us in flow.
Remember that stress reduction is an ongoing practice, and as with any practice it’s about consistency over perfection. Incorporating even one of the above tools into our daily life can shift the way that our body and mind processes stress, ultimately cultivating a healthy ecosystem for the body to thrive.
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