Managing Stress for Your Overall Wellness
Updated: Nov 25, 2020
At DASH, we talk a lot about physical well-being and how this is related to the risk of accidents, injuries, and illness, which can be covered through our supplemental insurance plans. But that doesn’t mean mental health isn’t just as important! In fact, your mental well-being is intrinsically tied to your physical wellness. So today, we are here to talk about stress: what is how, how it affects us, and what we can do to manage it.
We’ve all felt stress in our lives, and it can come from many sources: both internally and externally. When we find ourselves facing stressful situations, our brain creates a chain of chemical reactions to release stress hormones. These include: dopamine, epinephrine (known as adrenaline), norepinephrine, and cortisol. When these hormones are released, our body reacts to try and get us out of whatever stressful and dangerous situation we may be in, even if there is no physical danger present. Often this means our bodies become ready to flee or to fight by increasing our heart rates. If this state of being in stress becomes constant, these increased hormones and bodily reactions can cause restriction in the blood vessels, increase blood pressure, create difficulties when recovering from exercise, and even impact short-term memory.
None of this is good for the body of your health, and it can also create serious issues when it comes to our mood, attention-span, and decision making. This may lead to accidents or injuries while we are trying to juggle all of our heightened anxieties, not paying attention to what we need to in our physical surroundings, or making impulsive and risky choices while in intense feelings of stress. Not only that, but continually heightened cortisol levels have been shown to increase the likelihood of becoming sick or catching common illnesses and colds (Premier Health, 2017). So what do you do about it? One of the most important aspects of managing stress is making sure your basic needs are met. If you are stressed about meeting quickly approaching deadlines and getting everything done that you need to, this might cause you to skip meals or reduce your hours sleeping. This is in fact a counter-intuitive decision! You will run better if you are well-nourished and get a good night’s rest. Not only that, but taking care of your body will reduce the chances that you will get into an accident or be injured due to being overtired and lacking focus from not sleeping or eating.
Furthermore, if you find yourself having a heightened stress-meter at certain times--whether due to increased pressures at work, with family, or other events--, it is recommended to take time every day to “change your state”. As explained by Dr. Elizabeth Lombardo, “Changing your state or doing something different than what you are currently doing is an incredibly powerful way to become more positive and to stop stress in its tracks” (Allison Walsh, Combined Insurance Blog 2020). This can be as simple as getting up to go for a walk, do a quick breathing exercise, meditating, or doing a short workout. Whatever you choose, try to do this as an intentional way of replacing your bad habits that negatively affect your mental state. And if you are worried about fitting these state-changing moments into your day, try specifically scheduling these breaks so you can feel like you are keeping on track with your other to-do items; it will also help you to remember to get these state changes in throughout the day! Of course, sometimes our stresses need more help than we can manage on our own. There is no shame in scheduling time with a therapist or counsellor to try and work through your stress. Being aware of our bodies and minds is a proactive way to protect yourself, by knowing when you are reaching a limit that can be dangerous to your well-being. Because it’s not just your mind inside that is affected by stress, but your whole life! Our minds are bodies are a unit, and when taking care of one, it is very important to take care of the other. When looking at health and wellness, your mental well-being is an important component that can make you feel better in many ways.
This is also why when it comes to insurance, we call ours “peace of mind” coverage. Reducing even one stressor in your life can be a start towards bigger change and wellness, and knowing you are covered when you need it most should accidents or injuries strike can be a meaningful part of the equation.
If you are feeling stressed about your insurance coverage and what to do about the unexpected moments of life, give us a call or text at 780-951-0701, or email at email@example.com for a free consultation about your supplemental insurance options.