This guest blog post was written by author and self-care coach, Carley Schweet, HHC.
Disclaimer: the information in this article is for educational purposes only and is not designed to replace individualized recommendations from a practitioner. Always check with your doctor before adding supplements or making changes to your treatment plan.
Don’t knock the power of simple self-care! Having small routines in place that feel realistic will help create momentum in your bigger picture of self-care.
Stress and Health
How Does Stress Impact Health?
Stress. It’s an unavoidable reality in our day and age. Stress can come in many different forms, but not every type of pressure we experience is negative. In fact, in short bursts, this feeling of emotional or physical tension can actually be positive, like working to meet an important deadline or evading a dangerous situation.
Unfortunately, the majority of us tend to experience stress that falls on the negative end of the spectrum. When stress becomes chronic, meaning that it lasts for a long period of time, it begins to have a negative impact on our health and overall well-being.
Some health problems associated with chronic stress include: heart disease, diabetes, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, and even menstrual problems. According to the American Institute of Stress, stress-related menstrual problems may include heavier, more irregular, and more painful periods.
Common Symptoms of Stress
Think you may be suffering from chronic stress? Here are some common symptoms to look out for:
- Loss of Sex Drive
- Aches & Pains
- Chest Pain
- Poor Judgement
- Inability to Concentrate
- Overeating or Undereating
- Alcohol/Drug Use
- Social Withdrawal
- Moodiness or Irritability
- Lack of Motivation
Self-Care for Managing Stress (Especially During Your Period)
When experiencing any of the symptoms of chronic stress, it's all too easy to get caught up in the fight-or-flight mentality and attempt to simply power through our days, despite the negative impact on our health. As a byproduct, our self-care quickly falls by the wayside.
What exactly is self-care, by the way? It is any action taken to preserve your own health (emotionally, physically, and spiritually).
Here’s how you can slow down and practice self-care when life feels a bit too crazy:
1. Reassess Your Priorities
It’s possible that your feelings of stress are stemming from an overcommitment to requests and engagements that really aren’t actually a huge priority for you. Taking a step back and analyzing what commitments are taking up the majority of your time is an important first step in discovering what truly matters to you.
Ask yourself: Are these commitments helping or hindering me when it comes to reaching my goals?
When it comes to your period, it’s essential to take an even more significant step back and to really listen to your body. Every month is different— sometimes my period makes me feel invincible and, sometimes, I feel exhausted. Learning to adjust your schedule and priorities (without guilt) will support you in alleviating stress.
Be open and honest and reassess your to-do list accordingly.
Have Trouble Saying No?
- Thanks for the offer, but it’s not something I can commit to right now.
- I appreciate you thinking of me, but I can’t swing that at this moment.
- I’ve got too much going on right now and this isn’t a priority for me right now. Maybe another time?
- No, thanks!
2. Create Small and Sustainable Routines
Don’t knock the power of simple self-care! Having small routines in place, which feel realistic to stick to, will help create momentum in your bigger picture of self-care.
Plus, these little habits will help to invoke a greater sense of accomplishment, which is always a good feeling!
Some simple self-care activities to incorporate into your daily life include:
- Making your bed every morning.
- Taking a few deep breaths when feeling overwhelmed.
- Drinking a glass of water upon rising.
- Creating a quick skincare routine.
Disconnecting from your phone for an hour.
- (For tips on how to reduce screen time, check out this blog post)
- Reading a book instead of scrolling through social media.
- Going to bed without a screen in sight.
Want more self-care tips?
Looking for more self-care habits that you can integrate into your routine? Check out these two blog posts for some additional tips and tricks!
3. Take a Break (And Don't Feel Guilty About It!)
Learning to rest without feeling sorry for doing so is indeed an art. Okay, not really, but it has become progressively more difficult in our over-connected world to take a step back without feeling guilty, so it’s certainly a valuable skill to develop.
Taking a break can ease our stress and improve our mental wellbeing. By doing so, we give our bodies a chance to catch up and bounce back from stressors. And we create space for true relaxation.
Like I mentioned above, when we are menstruating, sometimes taking breaks is completely necessary (and okay!). It’s important to take a look at how you’re feeling and realize that you don’t have to do it all.
Taking a step back from life for a short period is totally okay. Trust me, the world will keep spinning and you’ll feel more empowered than before to take your wellbeing back into your own hands.
Above all, it's important to remember that self-care looks different for everyone, but these actions all have a common thread: they help to improve and support our wellbeing and to alleviate the effects of chronic stress.
If you're looking to jumpstart your self-care routine, I invite you to check out my At-Home Self-Care Retreat Bundle.
Carley Schweet (HHC) is the self-care coach and author behind the book and digital course, Boundaries with Soul™. After years of people-pleasing in the corporate fashion industry in New York City, she finally realized there was more to life than being a yes-woman. Through transformational self-care practices, Carley has improved the way she views her self-worth and finally knows that she is worthy of caring for her needs (and putting said needs first without guilt). And so are you! She helps to show you how through her website and weekly self care podcast, You Time™. Carley is a proud recovering people-pleaser and 2015 graduate of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Her work has been featured on major media outlets such as Bustle, Hello Giggles, and Elite Daily.
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