We all know how bad stress is for us, but let’s get real here, sometimes stress is impossible to avoid no matter how much meditation you do! Obviously for me, this has really hit home while we’ve been dealing with Finley’s health problems. The day he went into surgery and the ‘critical’ period after his surgery while he was in the ICU was the most intense stress I’ve ever experienced. I couldn’t eat or sleep and cried a lot.
I wrote a post all about how to de stress, full of great ideas for handling stress better which is ideal for those periods of stress that you can see coming like moving home or starting a new job. But sometimes stress can sneak up on you, or in severe cases like dealing with the illness of a loved one, just hit you bang on the head with little warning. In those situations eating well, getting exercise and getting enough sleep go out the window and your body becomes a bit trashed!
After a period of intense stress your body can be left nutrient depleted with a lowered immune system and out of whack hormones. Stress almost inevitably also means that you have less time to care for yourself to. Now that we are thankfully at the other side of the stress we had with Finley I can feel my body screaming out for some serious TLC. Here are some tips for how to support your body to recover from stress…
Don’t add any more stress!
Ditch the to-do list and starting saying no more often. This one is really tough for me, but I’m trying to take as many sources of stress off my plate as possible. Occasionally that means doing things because not doing them makes you more stressed!
Eat nutrient dense whole foods
Avoid processed foods as much as possible and add in lots of nutrient dense whole foods. Check out my affordable super foods post for some ideas of simple nutrient dense foods.
Eat fermented foods
Your gut can take a serious hit when you are stressed and some good bacteria from fermented foods can be extremely helpful. Try my home made kefir or make sauerkraut or I quite like the look of this fermented ginger carrots recipe from Stupid Easy Paleo
Skip the gluten, cow’s milk dairy and soy
Gluten, cow’s milk dairy and soy foods can be more challenging for our body to digest and assimilate so give them a break for a couple of weeks. Sheep and goats milk diary products are more digestible.
I generally think that taking supplements is good idea for most of us due to the way our food is produced, but there’s an even bigger need for supplements after a period of stress. B vitamins can be especially depleted after stress so a B vitamin complex can be useful. I have also found that magnesium, omega 3 and a probiotic (in addition to fermented foods) can be helpful.
Try some maca
Maca is a root from South America which is sold in powder form. It is an adaptogenic so can support the body in a number of ways including helping it to repair from the effects of stress such as hormone balance. You can read more about maca here and buy it on Amazon here. You can add it to smoothies or porridge or try my delicious coconut and maca snack balls recipe.
Get gentle exercise, but only if you have the time
Exercise can be so wonderful for helping the body recover from stress, but only gentle exercise and exercise that doesn’t stress you out more having to find the time to do it! Walking and yoga are especially good, any exercise releases endorphins that can elevate your mood. Plus I always feel better about myself after a sweat session.
I wish I could do this one but alas having a nursing new born = rubbish sleep! However if you don’t have a new born stealing away your shut eye sleep as much as possible.
I think this is one of the most important things! Laughter can do so much. It might be laughing with friends or family or watching a funny movie or a comedy DVD but laughter can be really de stressing.
Talking it out
Talking through the stressful experience with someone you trust can be very helpful. It can be useful to go over what you felt so you can move on and deal with it all better.
Have you ever experienced an intense period of stress? How did you recover from it? How do you like to de stress?