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So much stress and what to do about it!

by Kelly Wilton

It’s not the same world as we once knew it, is it?  The fact is, we are now living in post-Covid hyper-aware communities. Everyone is a bit keyed up and more alert than usual. This affects everyone but especially our families who have children with disabilities, chronic conditions and a whole host of other health conditions – our world was already pretty stressful to begin with!

Without us even knowing it, our bodies (and minds) have taken on all this additional stress, and it’s sending our body’s stress hormone – cortisol – into over-drive! 

Cortisol is widely known as the body’s stress hormone and stress is often viewed as a negative thing. However, small amounts of stress do help us get through our days and the challenges we face – and boy, are some days more challenging than others!  

Too much of anything isn’t good for us though, and high levels of cortisol are damaging to us over time. But there there are ways to reduce those levels; so when we need to support our stress response, here are some helpful ways to kick start the process.

Support your stress response with key nutrients:  Our body’s production of stress hormones relies on specific nutrients – B complex vitamins and magnesium. For a healthy stress response, we need to make sure we are getting enough of these important nutrients. Increasing your intake of wholegrains, nuts and seeds will help, and the quickest way to significantly boost your levels is with a supplement.  There are many on the market, however, if you chat to your doctor or local pharmacist, they will be able to guide you towards the best one for you.

Read a book: The act of reading a book sends signals to your brain to enable the hormones to work as intended.  Unfortunately scrolling through our phones (although can be good for a whole host of other things!) is not great for sending the signals we need – in fact, it does the opposite! If you don’t like books, just pick up the latest copy of our Source Kids Magazine to read though!

Breathe: You can always count on breath work!  As boring as it sounds, it’s vital. Start off slow… count 4 in; and 6 out. There is a reason why yoga has been a practice for thousands of years!

Music: There are studies that have determined the positive effects that music has on the brain. And as special needs mamas, many of us have seen it first-hand with our kids during music therapy.  So make some time for you, for your ‘music therapy’.

Walk: Go for a walk, move your body!

Dark chocolate: need I say more?!

Black or green tea: contains the right anti-oxidents we require to keep our bodies functioning the way we need.

Probiotics in food such as yogurt – there is a direct link between our gut and brain.  So with a good gut, it will help your brain function. Probiotics in foods containing soluble fibre will also help.

Moral support!  Find people who are truly in your corner to remind you that you are bloody brilliant! Sometimes we need someone who can look us straight in the eyes and say ‘I get it– I hear you’.  Isolation for us, is detrimental to our health.  So find those people who will help remind you that you are not alone on this incredible and unique path we are on.

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