HEALTH: Stress is undoubtedly one of the most pervasive afflictions damaging our health, immunity and wellness.
HEALTH: Stress is undoubtedly one of the most pervasive afflictions damaging our health, immunity and wellness. Contributed

How to reduce stress and finally get a good sleep

HOW are you feeling? Take a moment to do a quick check. Are you tired? Sore throat? Tummy pain? Worrying thoughts?

So many factors relate to our overall health and wellness and all are impacted by stress.

Stress is undoubtedly one of the most pervasive afflictions damaging our health, immunity and wellness; I see it daily with clients of all ages.

We live in a society that rewards productivity and accomplishment.

In doing so, we are sleeping less, eating quickly, often indoors, sitting longer, and far more likely to be hooked by persistent, worrying thoughts.

Over time, stress levels build, our immune system waivers and we are unequipped to cope mentally, physically and emotionally; here enters the symptoms of sickness. Sound familiar?

Here's the good news; there are little things we can do each day to reduce stress, restore balance, reboot immunity and revitalise the body and mind. Starting with these:

 

Mindfulness

Where are your thoughts right now? Are you present or in the moment with your thoughts and feelings? Not all thoughts and feelings will be happy and that's ok.

Acknowledging a stressful thought or feeling is often difficult to do and often difficult to accept.

As you go about the day, take a moment to invest some time to take a breath, observe your thoughts and feelings, values and actions, and take some positive steps towards what matters.

Diet

A healthy gut will extract the vital nutrients required by the body for general health. Stress has a major impact upon the gut, changing hormone levels and immune cells, impacting inflammation and our ability for immunity.

Restoring balance in the gut plays a role in restoring immunity. This can be achieved by reconnecting with fresh, vitamin-rich organic foods, adding in the anti-inflammatory benefits of backyard herbs, spices. Drink plenty of water and eat slowly.

Sleep

There has been a huge rise in insomnia, many clients will tell me they have trouble switching off at night, or they wake between 2-4am and can't get back to sleep.

Start the day earlier, with activities for the first half of the day, finish the evening earlier and wind down.

Turn off the gadgets at least an hour before bed, at the same time dim the lights, reduce noise and avoid caffeine after 4pm.

Keep the bedroom at 18-22 degrees and only use the bedroom for the two 's' activities ... sleep and sex.

Exercise

Think of it as moving, not as a form of sweat-inducing, heart-racing punishment.

If you can, stand rather than sit, stretch rather than stand still, walk rather than ride.

So many of our daily movement patterns have been replaced by machines. Exercise doesn't have to be expensive, intrusive or an inconvenience.

Sunlight

Take an early walk in the fresh air, gulp it in and soak up the vitamin D.

This, along with gentle movements of walking, helps transport antibodies, filter waste and produce happy endorphins all of which are stress reducing and beneficial for immune systems.

"Prevention is better than cure" although we still need to practice what we preach, consistently and with purpose. However, if you are frequently unwell I would suggest you also seek further support from a health care practitioner.

Bel du Bois is a sleep scientist working on the Southern Downs. For more information, contact darlingdownswellness@gmail.com.



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