Burning out? Put these 11 natural stress reduction tips into practice to help you avoid the harmful effects of burnout and pay you back with big health and well-being dividends. Chronic burnout stress causes a whole host of health problems including adrenal exhaustion, immune problems, mental disorders and heart disease. It compromises your sense of well-being and derails you from doing what is important in your life. It can happen in a remarkably short amount of time if your distress is severe enough and you are already in a compromised state of health.
Burnout stress can be experienced by anyone feeling intensely overwhelmed, overworked, unsupported, unappreciated, stressed out, and/or in pain emotionally or physically much of the time over a period of time. They do not feel a sense of control over their lives or situations they care about. Oftentimes, they have adapted ways of dealing with their distress that are more harmful than helpful in the long run. Tactics such as substance abuse, overeating, skimping on sleep and exercise, routine outbursts and isolation may temporarily ameliorate your feelings. As a habit, they compromise your well-being and relationships without improving your situation in the least.
1- Guard your health. This mindset is priority one. Without your health, all the things you find so important to do cannot get done. The busier you are, the more stressful your situations, the more important it is to nurture and protect yourself in body, mind and spirit. Commit to taking care of yourself first. Then taking care of everyone and everything else will be easier and less stressful.
Have you ever noticed how you often you get sick right after a major stressful event? Or you seem to age right before your eyes? Trying to cope for weeks or months at burnout stress levels costs your body a lot of nutrients and energy. All systems not needed for immediate survival, including your immune system and cell repair are put on hold.
If your adrenal glands become fatigued due to a high demand for cortisol, you will feel fatigued as well. Push them too far and you will find yourself too tired to get out of bed. That is too high a cost to pay when prevention is possible.
2. Take a holistic approach to stress. Manage stress of body, mind and spirit. The idea is to take as much unnecessary stress off yourself as possible because of the strain you are putting yourself under. The higher your stress level, the more important this, and all the stress reduction tips, are. And yes, the more resistant to implementing them you will probably be. Take heart, there is overlap between them. Do what you can. It's important.
3. Follow healthy living principles. Take care of yourself. Good overall health makes your mind and body more resilient. Get enough quality sleep. Move your body often throughout the day, relax, eat healthfully, avoid toxins. During times of intense distress it is natural to want to fill your face with carbohydrate-rich junk food which break down quickly into glucose - the body's preferred source of fuel. Unless you really are physically running and fighting, make yourself reach for healthier foods instead.
4. Use stress remedies regularly.
Herbs help in two ways. Calming, relaxing herbs ease tension and anxiety and can be taken as you need them. Adaptogenic herbs help your body cope long term and are taken over months, even years. If you know you will be facing trying times, or if you already are, herbal allies can help. This does not mean you can fool Mother Nature with herbs and continue behaviors that create burnout stress. Humans are not built to live that way.
Magnesium is a vitally important mineral burned up quickly by stress. It relaxes tension and spasms, and supports many biological processes.
Almonds, cashews, whole grains, artichokes, beans, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, strong herbal infusions and dark leafy greens are good sources. Natural Calm is a favorite magnesium supplement drink. Add magnesium chloride salts to the bath or rub the oil on the skin fifteen minutes before showering. A swim in the ocean is great too!
Almonds, cashews, whole grains, artichokes, beans, pumpkin seeds, dark chocolate, strong herbal infusions and dark leafy greens are good sources. Natural Calm is a favorite magnesium supplement drink. Another option is to add magnesium chloride salts to your bathwater or rub the oil on your skin fifteen minutes before showering. A soak in the ocean is great too!
5. Make 'me-time' a daily priority. Do something nice for yourself every day. Schedule in a twenty minute nap or meditation time. Get a massage or a manicure. Read a book. Laugh at your favorite comedy. Take a hot bath. When you practice self care every day, you have more capacity for handling stress. The less time for relaxation and 'me time' you think you have every day, the more important it is.
6. Gift yourself extended fun and relaxation time. We are human beings, not human doings. Choose one day a week and an occasional weekend for a stay-cation. Give yourself permission to do what you love alone and with people you love without "shoulding". Lose yourself in your favorite hobby. Take a road trip. Do a movie marathon. Pack a picnic and the family, including the dog, for a meal and playtime at the park. If time and finances allow, go on a vacation away from home for at least a week once or twice a year.
7. Boost your energy naturally. When your energy is flagging because you are pushing yourself too hard, you may be tempted to reach for stimulating drinks. A little caffeine may be okay, but not the amount in several cups of coffee or an energy drink. Caffeine temporarily boosts energy by 'robbing Peter to pay Paul'. The energy boost it gives you comes from already taxed and exhausted body systems, thus stressing your body and increasing your energy deficit even more.
Instead, reach for healthful energy boosters. A cup of green tea, yerba mate tea or organic coffee provides a little caffeine pick-me-up along with anti-oxidants and other health benefits. Green tea is a good source of the amino acid L-theanine, which has a calming and protective effect on the brain.
If you already have adrenal exhaustion, do not use stimulants. Get rest, rest and more rest, along with very little stress and plenty of nutrients. Adaptogenic herbs will help too, but recovery can take months.
8. Exercise is a number one stress remedy. I know, you don't have time, right? Well, here is the problem with that. Body chemistry changes under stress. Cortisol and adrenaline levels rise. If this extra energy is not expended through vigorous movement, cortisol stays at health damaging levels for hours. Yelling and arguing do not count.
Here's a trick that works for me. Turn up the music and clean your house with so much gusto that you can't think about anything else. Same if you are running, bicycling, hiking or lifting weights. As an added bonus, your brain releases feel-good endorphins and you can check one more thing off your list.
9. Give up everything stressful in your life that you can. This is perhaps one of the more difficult stress reduction tips to implement because habits are hard to let go of. Detoxify your life of as many chemicals, limiting beliefs, damaging emotions, tolerations, relationships and anything else that keeps you from healing, being happy, and fulfilling your life's purpose as you see it. Then you can cope more easily with difficult situations and people you choose to keep in your life at this time. And yes, it is most often a choice. Own that and you will feel more in control.
10. Have a support network of people who love and care about you. Research shows that attending regular religious services and/or have a strong support system live longer, healthier lives. We all need someone to talk to and we all need help sometimes.
Give yourself the gift of partnering with a therapist, minister, trusted friend, or a health and wellness coach to give you a fresh perspective and help you figure out how to cope with overwhelming challenges. It is difficult to think clearly about yourselves or your situations during these times. Trying to do everything for yourself and by yourself gives you a free ticket to burnout stress and anxious feelings.
11. Visit the Natural Stress Relief Guide for a wealth of information about the effects of the effects of distress and how to cope in the short and long-term.
Handling stress using mind body solutions empowers you to take control over what many experts consider to be the most important aspect of health care.
As you put stress reductions tips into practice more effectively in the short and long-term, you become less reactive and feel healthier. An ounce of prevention is worth its weight in gold when it comes to avoiding the ill effects of burn out stress. These natural stress reduction tips can help. Make them an important part of your lifestyle.
Members: Download your free Ultimate Bath Guide in the members area for more stress relief tips and techniques to use in or out of the bath.