A swirl of work emails, dinner parties and workouts leaves us little time to properly schedule the day. We answer emails in bed instead of sleeping. We slurp down three coffees instead of taking a morning run followed by a green juice. We purchased lunch from the nearest bakery and eat it on the go rather than preparing sliced vegetables and leftover salmon.
Jam-packed schedule leave us with little time for sound body preparation. When stress, panic and adrenaline permeate our day, they thwart our best intentions to make healthy choices in five key ways:
1. Stress leads to unhealthy food choices.
A recent study found that men exposed to mild stress were much more likely to chose unhealthy foods than those in a calmer control group. The degree of stress also had an impact: the more stress, the stronger the pull toward comforting and sugary snacks.
2. It gets in the way of your digestion.
Adding to your stomach troubles, stress causes the liver to produce extra blood sugar for an energy boost. When this spike in glucose happens on a daily basis, it can lead to heartburn, acid reflux and constipation.
3. It weakens your immune system.
Stress stimulates your immune system, but the cortisol hormone released can begin to wear on your body over time, making you more susceptible to virus and disease.
4. It can lead to alcohol and drug dependence.
Most people under chronic stress are looking for a release, and it’s often found at the bottom of a bottle or the end of a cigarette. Instead of easing the body, these substances cause even more damage.
5. It decreases sex drive.
When it’s produced overtime in a stressed-out body, cortisol suppresses sex hormones and interrupts women’s menstrual cycles.
These serious health problems can hurt your relationships, your performance at work and your mood — everything you need for a happy and successful life!
Here’s what we can do about it.
It would be easy to suggest that improving our health is as easy as cutting back on our obligations, sticking to a dedicated schedule and always making the right food choices. But let’s get real: this world moves fast, and it’s not always possible to stick to a regimen. Here are five tips for taking back control of your schedule and health.
1. Prepare food for the week.
Make a habit of grocery shopping and spending two hours on Sunday preparing meals for the week. That might mean cooking a big pot of chili for dinner, prepping lunch salads, or just washing fruits and vegetables so they’re ready to grab and go.
2. Schedule quiet time.
Schedule 30 minutes a week to do an activity completely alone — whether it’s a walk through your neighborhood with your favorite soundtrack, coloring in a coloring book (really!), or meditation. This will help you reconnect with yourself without distractions.
3. Switch your phone to airplane mode.
Do this for 20 to 30 minutes before bed. It will create a quiet space in which you can begin to truly relax and reflect on the day before falling asleep.
4. Find a buddy.
Just about everything is easier (and more fun!) with a friend. Connect with someone who is also looking to take their self-care to the next level, and check in on one another or meet up for healthy meals.
5. Build a buffer.
It’s smart to give our bodies a bit of insurance — a buffer for when our best intentions go awry. A simple supplementation program can give our bodies the super-important nutrients it might not be getting from our diets. Smarty Pants Vitamins provide the omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D your body needs even when stress gets the best of you.