Stress management

Stress management treatment Victoria BC and Winnipeg MB

Did you know that as much as 90% of illness and disease is due to chronic stress?

Truthfully, I contemplated not even writing about stress because I feel like the term has become so commonplace that, although everyone knows it has such a direct impact on one’s health, it can be uncomfortable to talk about. Some may even diminish or dismiss the fact that they feel stressed because “everyone has stress.”

Although true, this perspective is not very helpful.

While stress is a normal and healthy part of everyday life, no one was ever meant to thrive in a state of chronic stress. It is really important to recognize the difference. The thing is, you are so used to hearing you just need more time and self-care, to take a bath and light some candles, that you’re not even sure there is another way.

I believe stress management is better discussed in terms of stress resilience.

Are you able to handle the external forces in your life and if not, what are you able to do about it?

In the context of stress management I really get into your gut health as this organ system has an integral impact on your nervous system, and vice versa.

I get into nutrition, movement, and sleep habits because what you eat, how you move, and how well you sleep directly impact your body’s ability to recover.

I get into compassionate inquiry and examine the intricacies of what most affects you because everyone is different and what stresses one person may not stress another.

I allow you to create strategies that will address your individual working environment, your surroundings. You need an individualized plan rather than some paint by numbers program.

What happens when you have more stress than you can handle? The answer is trouble. In my case, a lot of health trouble.

I care about helping others navigate their way out of chronic stress because I have been there before, a few too many times than I’d like; I understand how it feels and the deleterious effects it can have. I also understand how valuable it is to have someone step in and guide you out of the fire.

Do you find you’re continually having to convince yourself you are doing okay, that things will eventually get better, that your life is not that bad?

After all, who isn’t tired, forgetful, and at their limit? Isn’t that just life today?

This type of thinking is what leads to the on-going acceptance of stress as a part of everyday life and the impacts a mere reflection of your shortcomings.

You may find yourself normalizing all the warning signs and chalking it up to not being strong or capable enough. You may even feel shame around not holding it all together and start believing that everyone else is. The truth is not many people are and if it looks like they are, at what cost?

Chronic stress can erode your health ever so slowly that you may not even notice it’s happening.

Indications that stress may be dampening your light in life:

  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Disrupted sleep/insomnia/oversleeping
  • Chest pain or racing heart
  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches and dizziness
  • High blood pressure
  • Appetite and weight changes
  • Muscle tension/jaw clenching/teeth grinding
  • Poor memory
  • Menstrual irregularities
  • Digestive issues
  • Frequent infections and colds
  • Irritability
  • Lack of enjoyment in life
  • Hair loss
  • Hives
  • Sexual difficulties or lack of interest

I want to help you understand what a healthy relationship with stress looks and feels like.

You need to be able to spot the subtleties of stress in its tracks so as to not find yourself subsumed by it unexpectedly and suffer the consequences medically. When life feels challenging, as it often can be, you need to have tools to stay afloat and balanced. You also need someone to be honest and real with you about your individual capacity.

Establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship with stress is very individual and oftentimes hard to navigate through when you’re the one living it.

Schedule a free 15-minute phone consult to discuss with me how having personalized guidance and support can make all the difference.

FAQs

What is stress?

Stress is a normal and healthy part of everyday life and is necessary for many physiologic processes in the body to function properly. The nervous system is eloquently designed to activate a sympathetic - “flight or fight” - response when exposed to external stimuli, whether physical, mental, or emotional. In short bursts, this is healthy and welcomed. By increasing motivation, alertness, performance, energy, and immune function, for example, stress allows you to accomplish and overcome many things in life.

If stress is normal, why am I always tired and anxious?

The important detail about stress is that you were never meant to stay in a sympathetic stress response long-term, as the positive effects are quickly outweighed and replaced by negative ones. Chronic stress is well-known for causing hormonal imbalances, disrupting thyroid function, salt and sugar cravings, negatively impacting mood, energy, and focus, inhibiting immune function, and increasing inflammation.

Why is stress resilience important?

The goal of stress resilience is to help you adapt, respond, and increase your emotional and mental strength in the face of adverse circumstances, allowing you to thrive, not simply survive, in the long-term. The goal, however, is not to make you stronger and ignore your surroundings. Identifying key sources of stress in your life and your responses to these causes is critical to shifting their impact on you.

I already see a therapist regularly and have stress management strategies and techniques. How can a naturopathic doctor help with stress?

This is great news! I am happy you are already taking steps towards addressing the mental and emotional impacts of stress in your life as these are paramount to changing how you feel. Depending on how long you have been living in a state of chronic stress, it is just as important to consider the impacts this can have on your physical body. Like a smoldering fire, sometimes we don’t even notice the changes until we see the flames. I am a huge advocate of addressing the physical and the mental/emotional impacts of stress, concurrently. I can help you to identify and replenish any depleted nutrients, improve digestive function, rebalance hormones and the endocrine system, as well as calm your nervous system, thus allowing for improved sleep and rest.

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I love sleep.
My life has the tendency to fall apart when I'm awake, you know?

- Ernest Hemingway