I hate to tell you, but living with and dealing with years of chronic stress + pressure changes your body. I’m not just talking on the outside (like premature aging) but deep within your body, not to mention the crushing effects it has on your soul. You see, stress is a viscious cycle. You deal with pressure daily, your body reacts, you ignore it + keep going, then it starts eating at your whole system (waking up at 3 am and not being able to sleep is a warning sign. Sound familiar?) But most symptoms go completely un-noticed because we are too busy forging forward to create that perfect ‘can do’ life we all have, that is until the body finds other ways to stop that runaway train from de railing itself. Firstly, it’s time to start listening to what the body is trying to tell you.
Dealing with long term emotional trauma, toxic relationships, having a stressful job, looking after someone that is ill, dealing with ongoing family politics (you know the ones). Throw in a bit of alcohol, white food (that you don’t even realise you are eating because it’s the norm), no sunshine, raising a family, running a business, lack of sleep, pedal to the friggen metal living…*take in a big breath! Many of us are smiling on the outside and screaming for some sort of relief on the inside. Chances are it’s going to come out somewhere in the body. Endocrine, thyroid + adrenal problems, even cancer are all on the rise. I wonder why? The amount of pressure that is put on the body these days is enormous.
My symptoms started 10 years ago. I had a suspected and excruciating stomach ulcer. My hair started falling out, diarreah, weight loss, IBS, trouble sleeping, hot flushes, sweat attacks, irritability, joint pain, tiredness, extreme feelings of dread and horrible uncontrollable swings of nervousness, crawling skin, restless legs not to mention being told I was just too sensitive and that these symptoms are all in my head. Turns out it wasn’t. My body was breaking down and it was trying to survive all the shit it had been flung (the dung flung survival button was activated). Back then, it was strongly advised to go gluten free + dairy free, which I did for about 12 months. Back then, people thought I was a nutter. I did raw smoothies, raw breads and experimented with all types of weird and wonderful things. Thankfully all these things are the norm today. Anyhow, pasta, bread, pastries, coffee, alcohol and dairy all crept back in and slowly the symptoms did too (except the ulcer, as I don’t drink coffee at all and not much booze these days either). But this time the symptoms were different. My body had changed. I exercise, I eat right but I can’t seem to lose body fat. Yes, I look lean, but on the inside, I am not. Something just wasn’t right. Bloods came back the same as before, low iodine very low iron, vitamin D deficient and my hormones are all over the place but now an underactive thyroid with reverse t3 dominance. My metabolism is stuffed, literally. What happens is, the food you eat is not being converted to energy. Hence why I feel like a prehistoric sloth and my arse is slow of the mark each morning. So, how do you fix it? Well, it’s time slow down, eat right, take that pedal to the metal feeling off the body and get some restorative things in like yoga, meditation and include more organic food into your diet. Back to the basics my dear.
So, if you are having similar issues with your body, or you are feeling dull, here are a few things I have done to help get some equilibrium back into the body.
- Firstly, question everything that goes on or into your body. Stop being in autopilot with the things you use everyday. Look at your toothpaste, dental floss, body lotions, creams, make up, shampoos. Everything should be looked at as something that your body absorbs or takes on, in a bad way.
- Remove toxins from your home. Things like bleach (the worst offender), toxic air fresheners, chemical cleaners, bench sprays etc. Replace with natural coconut or fruit based products. I love Dr Bronner’s range for everything. You can do this over a period of time, to help you adapt. It’s not as hard as you think.
- Go organic where you can. People keep saying how expensive organic is. Sickness will cost you a lot more, physically and financially, believe me! Read up and research GMO products and pesticide laden foods you would be eating now. It will certainly change the way you eat.
- Do weight training. This is probably the most important tip I can give you. Muscles = metabolism. Train 3-4 days a week and train with grit. Just make sure you allow your body to recover from each session
- Take time out. Sleep in on the weekends, go for a relaxed walk. Go to a movie on your own. I don’t care if you have kids or not. You need to schedule this time in! Make time! People don’t have a problem working it in when they are dumped in hospital unexpectedly now, do they?
- Eat less white food. Food that comes in boxes or packets and increase the stuff that comes straight out of the ground. Just the way it was intended.
- Stop ingesting stimulants. Coffee, green tea + alcohol (yes, alcohol is a stimulant that causes all sorts of other problems, like malabsorption and stomac ulcers). Not an easy one to ditch but one with the greatest benefits.
- If you have a hot head in your life, tell them to leave the room or modify their hot headedness. We all get cranky I know, but living with someone with a dirty temper will take its toll not only on them, but you and to be honest, it’s a rather selfish thing to do, vomiting all over someone regularly and expecting them to just ‘deal with it’. Not cool and I don’t care who that is.
- Meditate. There is a great 5 minute meditation you can do that is actually used by physiologists for their clients, it’s by Bhodipaska. It’s more like taking a 5 minute holiday. Truley blissful.
- Remember to breathe and deeply. I think we have all lost this ability to some degree. We are too busy thinking about tomorrow and getting caught up in yesterday’s news. Breathing helps reconnect you to the present moment and it calms your soul! Give it a go, especially when you are stressed.
- Chew your food and eat away from the television and from your devices. We tend to eat much more in front of the television or whilst on our phones. It’s call unaware eating. The perfect way to down extra calories and not feel satisfied. Then there is the issue of not chewing your food. It decreases the bodies ability to absorb all of your foods nutrients. That is if you are eating wholesome food in the first place.
- Get some sunshine. Try first thing in the morning or later in the afternoon. Get it on your belly if you can. 10 mins a day is all you need. Bare skin so you absorb vitamin D which is required for thyroid health and for calcium absorption. Now be sensible with this!! No middle of the day crispy tanning required here.
- Take magnesium baths. Most of us are deficient, so get some good quality magnesium flakes and dunk your chunks, like I do.
Now, I’ve gone mostly dairy free and fully gluten free but it’s important you are given the right advice for your own specific needs, so see a integrative health specialist Dr/Naturopath regarding your specific requirments. I’m not a Dr, so use this post as a guide only. Your Intergrative therapist will tailor make a plan for you and prescribe the specific vitamins and minerals pertaining to your bloods and symptoms. No point in taking things your body doesn’t need now, is there!!
I hope this helps and best wishes with your wellness journey.