Does stress have you pulling your hair out?

I think it’s safe to say, the world is stressed....

Ordinarily the activities of our days can pull us in every direction.  Your to-do list can end up looking like a colorful painting if you use color coded highlighters like I do, with notes all over the place.  We often have more to do in a day than is seemingly possible.  Those schedules may look something like:  Get up.  Get to the gym.   Take the doggo on a walk.  Prep breakfast for the fam.  Go to work. Take kids to soccer practice.  Cook.  Pick them up from soccer practice.  Get chores done.  Sleep.  I’m tired just thinking about it!  In light of Covid our stressors may look a little different and even be on top of normal stressors: Should I get a vaccine?  When can I finally get one?  Is my family safe?  Are we going to have enough toilet paper?  How long am I going to be isolated??!

As we move our way back to normalcy, our stressors will start to go back to those of the everyday hustle as rush hour traffic starts to back up again and the kids go back to school.  Our problems may change from time to time, but overall we live in an age of stress.  Americans curate a culture that takes pride in those that work themselves to the bone to get what they want.  We honor busy work as getting things done and see rest time as laziness.  And I get it.  My calendar is jam packed with items that need to be accomplished.  But, it’s time to bring our lives back into balance.

Since many of the stressors of today are inevitable, we have to do everything that we can to bring down our stress levels and to maintain a healthy body.  One very much overlooked way we can do this is through nutrition.  What we eat affects the way our bodies work.  A simple statement but one that we often forget.

Just think about it.  Think about a day when you were stressed.  What did you want to eat?  For me it’s pizza and chocolate chips cookies.  Well I’m here to tell you that the best foods you can eat you are stressed are pizza and cookies….No, just kidding!  These would represent some of the worst food choices I could make when stressed.  Why??  Because we have higher nutrient needs when stressed, meaning we need additional nutrition when our bodies are under a lot of stress.  Pizza and cookies already do not have much nutrition in them and would not be nourishing your body even in times of low stress!

So that means our bodies are sometimes really deceptive to us.  Eat a cookie.  Come on, you want it.  And suddenly you are like the cookie monster finding every last cookie in the jar….

But, these are just cravings from the stress and, again, not what the body needs!  What your body needs is a balanced diet with increased need for nutrients such as B-vitamins, omega-s 3 fats, and antioxidants.  We have increased needs for B-vitamins when we are stressed because stress causes us to use up our B-vitamins at a faster rate.  So, we need to get those B-vitamins back into the system!  If you are interested in a list of foods high in B-vitamins, omega-3s, and antioxidants, get your free “Foods for Healthy Stress Management” handout here.  It includes a very helpful link as a guide to sourcing seafood in a healthy and sustainable way, as well as, a chart with how much omega-3s we actually get from a serving of various types of seafood!