To Stress or To Sleep?

The demands on your time and abilities mount. Your stress levels build. You develop physical or emotional or behavioral symptoms (see my previous post Recognize Your Stress Levels). The stress and its symptoms can cause serious physical, emotional, and behavioral issues. You know you shouldn’t ignore your symptoms. But you’re stressed? How do you manage? Especially when every night you’re in a loop to stress or to sleep. The Basics Our body has some basic needs. Food. Water. Exercise. And sleep. Today we’ll talk about sleep. Why do we need sleep? How much sleep do we need? And how can we attempt to get enough sleep when stressed? Sleep We tend to think of sleep as a time when we “shut off” our brain and body. As a result, we treat sleep as the thing we do after we’ve done everything else. (Or is that just me?) But getting enough sleep every should be a priority. And it should be a higher priority when we’re stressed.  The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it. Sydney J. Harris Why We Need Sleep Sleep allows our bodies to perform many important functions. The first is that sleep restores “brain plasticity.” […]

Recognize Your Stress Levels

In 2013, I wrote a blog post called 10 Warning Signs You’re Doing Too Much. It has been my most popular blog post ever since. It’s a sign of our times. We are all under stress almost all the time. The pressure to be more, do more, have more is intense. Add to that legitimate fears about your (or a loved one’s) physical, emotional, or financial safety and your stress levels are higher. Then there are community and political stressors. Your stress levels today may not be exhausting, but tomorrow they could be. And when you live with stress every day, you may not recognize your stress levels and how they affect your life. What is Stress? In a medical or biological context, stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the “fight or flight” response, a complex reaction of neurologic and endocrinologic systems. healthline.com What Causes Stress  Each one of us faces challenges every day. From traffic jams, to spills, demanding bosses, unsympathetic spouses, or life crises (relationships, financial, or health). And we […]

Does the End of the Year Stress You Out?

It’s the last month of the year–a busy, busy time. Not only do we continue our usual work schedule, but we also prep the house for the holidays (whichever one you celebrate), we fix big meals, we spend time with family, and we reflect back on the past year. I don’t know about you but I enjoy all those things. Yet, at the same time, I can get overwhelmed. So much stress! Does the end of the year stress you out? What is Stress? Stress is your body’s way of handling any kind of demand or threat. When you face a threat your body is designed to release hormones that kick your body into high gear. These hormones are called stress hormones. They cause your heart to beat faster, your muscles to tighten, you breathe quick, short breaths, and your senses become sharper. This is the fight or flight response you probably learned a bit about in school. Back when we were cave dwellers this fight or flight response to stress was life-saving. Today, stress can keep you on your game so you perform your best, it can warn you of and get out of potentially threatening situations. But, this […]