Ok, I’m sure we can all agree that June 2018 will go down in the books as one to remember and not really for anything fantastic, it has just been pants...but thankfully it is over!!
Life can be hard at times, even overwhelming more often than I personally would like to admit. Like almost every other adult with a TV I prefer to stay informed on what is going on not just at home but in the rest of the world so I've become a sort of cable news addict, but is it just me or is 99% of news just bad and depressing? `So as I channel surf knowing where I’ll be ending up anyways, I say a silent prayer that it won't be all bad, but when I finally get there it usually is. As i read the scrolling ticker with the headlines, i just feel worse by the second, so why do I do this to myself? That's the trillion Naira question, i know its inexplicable but I just feel as an adult I should be informed and i will be no matter how bad it is. By the time i eventually hear the news in detail, my anxiety levels are through the roof, added to my already high stress levels from day to day hustling and bustling not to mention what seems like a daily barrage of issues from running a small business. Like all other “grown folk” every day is a high stress situation we're all trying to keep a lid on so we don't explode from the never ending pressure cooker that life appears to have become…it’s a lot!
I also suffer from what I have labeled “over empathy” which I define as an over heightened sense of empathy for people known and unknown which makes me an emotional wreck when I hear about tragedies even when on the opposite side of the world. When bad things happen here, in Nigeria, my home, the country I love so much, to my people it just breaks my heart to smithereens.
There is however, no way to live in this day and age as a fully functioning adult with a host of responsibilities not only to yourself but others e.g. a spouse or significant other, kids and or parents, siblings, work, business, bills, traffic etc. Where social media has created an alternate reality that makes you compare your life to the seemingly glamorous, perfect lives of others, always thinking you fall short and they have it better than you, forgetting that people only show the good or even fake on social media while keeping their struggles private. This causes you to do more, always chasing that perfect life that is in reality non-existent, putting yourself under unnecessary stress and in a constant state of anxiety in a bid to "keep up with the Jones's"
There are quite a few beneficial alternative therapies you can try and the what, why and how they help relieve stress, anxiety, promote sleep to treat insomnia, improve heart and over all health I will elaborate on in a future post. First let me explain the dangers of chronic stress so you can have an idea of the long lasting detrimental effects they have on health.
Not all stress is bad, our mind needs a certain level to stay sharp but when it becomes chronic it can be hazardous to both mental and physical well-being.
Stress hormones are the body’s natural reactions to emergencies which send us into fight or flight mode, Epinephrine (Adrenaline) and norepinephrine are stress hormones the body produces as needed, usually in times of high excitement to keep us alert and tell our body, its time to get out of here now. You've most probably heard people say “I don’t know how I fought off my attacker/jumped out of the way of a moving car/was able to jump over a wall that high/ran away from danger..I guess adrenaline just kicked in." Its that hormone that tells you, you are in danger, get out of here now which can in certain situations save your life so it is absolutely necessary and vital! Doctors sometimes inject Epinephrine directly into the heart to jump start it when it is failing or about to shut down.
Cortisol on the other hand is in our blood streams every second of every day in adequate quantities, when we are stressed however, an excess is produced and that is a problem. Excessive cortisol levels create too much Glutamate, a.k.a Glutamic Acid,which is one of the most important and abundant neurotransmitters in the human body with its highest concentrations in the brain and muscles. In excess, it creates free radicals which can attack the brain cells and create holes in them, eventually causing cell death that can lead to mental and neurological disorders. Giving rise to issues like forgetfulness, emotional outbursts, heightened fear and anxiety, depression, increase or loss of appetite that leads to weight gain or loss, reduced cognitive function etc.
Chronic stress also makes the blood-brain barrier more penetrable allowing toxins, pathogens, chemicals etc. in which puts you at risk of brain cancer, infections and susceptible to autoimmune diseases like Multiple Sclerosis and other serious mental issues e.g. schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress syndrome (P.T.S.D), behavioral changes, early onset dementia, Alzheimer’s etc.
Effects on the body are nasty as well e.g. migraines, fatigue, nervousness, hormonal imbalances, fertility issues, irregular periods, low sex drive, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, increased risk of cardiovascular issues, heartburn, insomnia, weakened immune system, palpitations, muscle tension etc.
Your skin and hair aren't left out of this abundance of horrible effects e.g. skin dehydration, inexplicable skin irritations, cystic acne, pimples, psoriasis, eczema, rosacea and dermatitis flares, accelerates aging, wrinkles, oily skin becomes oilier, hair loss, reduced growth, alopecia, scalp psoriasis or dryness which can lead to dandruff and other scalp irritations.
Taking 5-10 minutes a few times during the day to detach, shut the world out, empty your head and mind, inhale and exhale deeply to center yourself may seem like a waste of time but it helps ground, calm and balance you mentally to give inner peace, which is simply what meditation is.
Physical exercise helps release a whole lot of nervous energy, tension and excess stress. If you're a lone walker like me, the monotony of simply putting one foot after another while listening to music is sheer bliss. Chatting with your walk buddy if that's your preference not only helps you walk further, the interaction with another person no matter how inane the conversation is, the laughter, sharing etc. are also great for you.
Inhaling dopamine and serotonin (happy, feel good hormones) inducing essential oils also helps reduce stress and cortisol levels, induce calmness, ground you mentally, relieve nervous tension, improve cognitive function and lots of other beneficial good stuff. Some of my personal favorites, which we’ve also gotten rave reviews from customers with stress and anxiety related issues include Galbanum, Tulsi, Bergamot, Hyssop, Neroli, Myrtle, Lavender Kashmir, Hyssop, Labdanum, Balsam of Peru, Java Citronella, Myrrh, Indian Frankincense, Helichrysum, Winter Cherry, Elemi, Cajeput, Rose Geranium, Jasmine Sambac, Chamomile German/Roman, Lemon, Mysore Sandalwood, Petitgrain, Cinnamon Bark and Java Citronella. Each one appeals to different people for various reasons, it’s about finding your personal panacea, if you need to blend several at a time to get that sweet spot you need....do just that!
Personal and inter-personal relationships are also vital, bottling things up inside helps no one least of all you!! Talk to someone, be it a spouse, friend, colleague, if needs be a qualified medical professional like a psychologist or therapist.
Find ways to create joy within and around you, play with your kids, go on date night with your significant other, a girls night out with friends or family, a spa day or even a nice glass of wine at the end of the day to wind down.
Take a long, relaxing bath, properly dilute your essential oils, light a candle, you can get some nice ones from www.madamori.com or www.abelaworld.com, play some nice music or be in silence at one with yourself its up to you , bring your wine in if you want…let the water soothe your muscles(hydrotherapy) the oils relieve your stress(aromatherapy), the candles set the mood and simply pamper yourself, you are worth it.
Long story short, life can be hard enough as is with so many things we have no control whatsoever over, our bodies and minds on the other hand, that’s almost entirely up to us.
We only have one body, when we treat it well it returns the favor.
Be good to yourself and others.
Until we chat again,
Peace & Love
Photo by: Alex Alexander