I recently gave a presentation on this topic to a local accounting firm just south of Boston. I really enjoyed engaging with the participants there who all seemed very interested and had many questions. To start with how to incorporate overall health and wellness to managing stress, you have to look at the big picture. So many things can cause stress: lack of sleep, relationships, work, bad eating habits, poor digestion, over exercising, not exercising, and the list goes on. Because I received such wonderful feedback I wanted to share some of the main points here so everyone can get an idea on where a starting point is for overall wellness and how it can help manage day to day stressors.
For today’s blog post, I’d like to go over the first two topics: Water and Circadian Rhythm/Sleep. Stay tuned for next week as I will finish up with the topics of: Nutrition/Digestion and Exercise.
Basic Rules to Live by to Help Manage Stress
Water is ESSENTIAL – you need to consume ½ your bodyweight in ounces at MINIMUM. Do you drink that much? How much do you drink? Good to know these things so you can figure out how much more you need to drink and plan for it. For those that are active and sweat – you need to consume even more. We are made of about 55-65% Water!
Quality of water is important – start with the cleanest source:
Natural Spring Water – constant flow = higher charge. Think of yourself as a battery and the water is the charge – the higher the charge the better the battery runs. Water that is flowing holds a more positive charge than water that is sitting still. So, the natural spring water is a great choice to hold that higher charge.
Glass Bottled Water – always try to drink from glass, not plastic. Plastic, especially if heated can release many toxic chemicals harmful to our health. Glass is a much better choice and is more environmentally friendly.
Bottled Water – Essentia, Fuji, Smart Water are some good choices as they hold an optimal PH level. Essentia has a PH of 9.5.
If you are physically active, try to consume electrolytes daily. Electrolytes essentially are salts and they carry an electrical charge to aid in muscle contractions. Coconut Water is an excellent natural source of electrolytes (Harmless Harvest my favorite). Also, Nuun Electrolyte Tablets are easy and a good source to get some quick electrolytes after a workout.
Circadian Rhythm and Sleep Patterns
Circadian Rhythm defined: A 24 hour cycle of all living beings on earth that is determined by the rise of the sun.
Balance is essential in managing stress and there is no better balance than the balance of the earth. Circadian rhythm has many influences on the human body including: sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, body temperature and other important bodily functions. Not being in touch with the rhythm on the earth can have many negative side effects including various sleep disorders and insomnia. It is very important to be in touch with the rhythm of the earth’s cycle – rise with the sun and go to bed with the moon. An excellent daily practice is to get morning sun exposure not only on your skin but more importantly through your eyes (so leave the sunglasses at home) – go for a walk, hike, run outside or just spend about 10 minutes outside first thing every morning as close to sunrise as possible. This will set your clock for the day.
Optimizing sleep patterns will have a huge impact on recovery and relieving stress – one of the best things you can do! Tips for optimizing consistent sleep:
Get early morning sun exposure.
Avoid technology after sun goes down. Blue light (all screens) will trick your body into thinking it’s still daytime which will mess with melatonin, the hormone that controls sleep and wake cycles.
If you have to use technology after sunset, you can wear blue light blocking glasses or use a filter to block blue light from your eyes. Also, red light or amber light is a GOOD color for tapping into melatonin and creates the opposite affect that blue light does. It is very relaxing and will allow you to fall into a deeper sleep. Build a fire or have a candle near-by before bedtime.