Tis the season to travel, to purchase, to make food, eat food, and to feel the full impact of bad food choices. Tis the season of time with family or to miss family. Tis the season for expectations that can and do often go south. Basically, we are entering the season of (even more) stress. Caveat: not all stress is bad, and sometimes stress can even be good for us, but most of us aren’t plagued by good stress.
Stress management is vital to our health, but we don’t often take it as seriously as our diet and exercise. This is because diet and exercise are concrete things, while managing our stress can feel very abstract — like it might involve leaving our jobs or growing a beard. When I look back over my years spent in various doctors offices, I can see the same scene play out. “Doctor I’m always exhausted and I can’t lose weight despite cutting calories and obsessively exercising.” What would follow would be instructions to reduce my calories further and exercise more and to reduce my stress. To that last point (in my mind’s montage) we would look at each other and start laughing. Because stress isn’t a thing like diet that we can control, right? Wrong!
Yes, there are things that happen to us that we can’t control, like having a loved one get very ill or the world losing its ever-loving mind. But we can do things to mitigate the effects of those stressors on our health. There are also a lot of stressors that we unintentionally add to our life that aren’t necessary. Over the next month, I’ll be writing about how stress affects our health and ways we can gain control over it so that we can stop it from harming us further. Stay tuned!