Ahh stress. We all feel stressed or have felt stressed at some point in our lives. A lot of people just think stress is a normal part of life and well - it is, but not when it starts to negatively effect your health.
Stress is one of the leading causes of illness in our society, and every system in the body can be influenced by chronic stress. When it goes unreleased, it compromises the bodies immune system and ultimately manifests as illness. It could be skin issues, anxiety, depression, sore muscles and pain throughout the body, high blood pressure, gut issues - you name it.
I want to share a personal story - I (Fran) have gone through quite the health journey the past few months, experiencing neck, back and muscle tightness and pain that ultimately led to continuous nerve pain, burning and tingling throughout my scalp and occipital nerves (shoutout to Spiro for keeping the business afloat during this time as I was honestly unable to move most days!). I was beyond terrified, and we spent most days in and out of doctors and health practitioner appointments trying to figure out what the hell was going on.
After months of tests, MRIs, various medications and thinking I had some rare type of illness, I had a huge realisation after reading a book on the effects anxiety can have on the body. Could these immense pains I had been feeling be caused by stress?
I started to treat myself as if I was treating stress, not so much a ‘rare illness’ and low and behold, I began to feel better. When experiencing stress or anxiety, the body can go into ‘flight or fight’ mode and send various signals that can manifest as pains. My body had learnt to sent signals of shooting pain into my head whenever I became even slightly stressed, and in order to heal this, I had to retrain my brain on how to appropriately handle stress and calm my nervous system.
While we are all very different and we all experience different issues that require different treatments be it medical or holistic, I just want to share some of the holistic things that have helped me get through the last few months in hope that I can inspire you to take control of the stress in your life and feel even just that little bit better. Again I want to reiterate this is my own personal journey and I am in no way a medical professional or giving medical advice - please consult your doctors and health practitioners for your own tailored care plan.
ACUPUNCTURE - Acupuncture is AMAZING. Not only does it actively reduce stress and anxiety in the body, it also helps to release pain, skin issues and can help with some chronic illnesses. Seeing a practitioner 1-2 times a week has quite literally changed my life. If you are interested in acupuncture, make sure you find a licensed and qualified therapist as not all practitioners are the same. Again - Acupuncture is not suitable for everyone so please consult with your health practitioner.
CRYSTAL HEALING - I mean obviously - I do have a crystal business haha! So crystals have been a HUGE help during my journey, and have given me faith and strength on days I had lost hope. Crystals are said to energetically align with our inner vibration, and promote healing in many different forms. I like to lay on the floor, place a crystal of my choice on my forehead, set an intention (ie. please help me release my stress), and just lay there quietly whilst breathing and meditating. I swear one day I was in a deep meditation with a piece of Kyanite (great for cleansing the body) and I had a vision that I was having a conversation with a giant piece of Kyanite in the middle of the earth and it was giving my advice - I swear i’m not crazy haha! Try it for yourself!
HEALTHY EATING - Foods such as refined carbs, sugar, fried foods, alcohol and processed meats are highly inflammatory on the body, and can lead to various illnesses, diseases and yes - stress! Your body is quite literally put into stress mode trying to process all of these foods, and removing them or lowering your intake can be life changing. This is definitely not for everyone, but I made the switch to eating mainly organic and removed all processed foods, and my body and mind are thanking me for it.
HAVING FAITH - God, the Universe, Source, Energy, The Divine - whatever you want to call it, it’s hard to deny that there is a much bigger power at play here. There were times when I felt like I had lost faith and let me tell you those days were so much harder. When I began to ‘tune in’ and try and connect to a ‘higher power’, I began to see the beauty of life again and realised I really did have the power to heal myself, and that I was always connected to a powerful healing energy that I just had to focus on aligning to.
HERBS AND SUPPLEMENTS - There are some beautiful, natural remedies available that can help with anxiety and stress. I recently discovered these and I can honestly say they have done wonders for me. Again I want to reiterate that this is not medical advice, please check in with your doctor as these will not be suitable for everyone and may have some interactions with medications and illnesses.
Some of my favourites are, Valerian Root, Lemon Balm, Passionflower, Camomile and Lavender. Also just want to add in a special mention for Magnesium Glycinate - Magnesium is a great supplement to help with anxiety and calming muscles and the nervous system, particularly Magnesium Glycinate which specifically targets these issues.
TALKING IT OUT - It’s super important to talk through what you are feeling. Whether it be with a loved one, a trained therapist or journaling to yourself - simply ‘letting it all out’ is like releasing a tonne of bricks from your shoulders. If you are struggling and need any advice, please reach out to me at email@example.com. Just know you are so not alone in your journey and there are so many avenues of help available - you just have to find the right fit for you!
EXERCISE - It is soooo important to keep the body moving and get rid of that nervous energy and tension! Some light yoga and stretching for 5-10 mins in the morning or a brisk walk can do wonders for your body and stress levels.
BREATHING - Take a second to watch how you are breathing. Are you taking the smallest and quickest inhales? For most of us who are prone to stress - this is one of the major issues in the body - simply not breathing properly. Take a second to place one hand on your belly and one on your chest. Try and breathe into your belly and let both your chest and belly rise. That is a full, proper body breath. Now sit and repeat this 10 times - breathing in for 4 seconds and out for 4 seconds. Repeat every day, or whenever you feel stress rising in your body.
MAKING LIFE CHANGES - We can take all the medication, herbs, do all the exercise and do all the breathing - but the reality is, if our life is not aligned with what we truly desire, it is going to be nearly impossible to avoid feeling stressed, depressed and anxious. Maybe you dislike your job, you are unhappy in your home life, you feel unhealthy or are just genuinely unhappy with who you are. My biggest advice to you is to tune into yourself via meditation, journalling or just quiet contemplation and try and ask yourself “What is it that makes me happy?” “What do I want my life to look like?” and then each day make the smallest steps to try and get closer to that. For example if you dislike your job and feel miserable everyday, try to come up with a way to make it a little better. Ie. bake some cookies for your coworkers to spread joy, add some crystals to your desk and make it look pretty, organise a lunch date with someone who makes you laugh - it’s all about taking the smallest steps each day that eventually lead to big changes.
I hope that this has helped in some way, and has helped you see the importance of looking after yourself and taking control of your stress. At the end of the day, the only thing that matters is our health. You can have all the money in the world but if your health is suffering, then you are suffering. Once again, I encourage you to reach out if you need any guidance.