Lately I've been thinking a lot about stress. Maybe partly because of our upcoming (free) 4 Self Care program, maybe partly because my kids are starting to become little people with lots of questions and I want to make sure I'm taking good care of myself so I'll be around to watch them grow.
I've been sleeping 7 - 8 hours per night for the past couple of weeks (which is a huge improvement for me), and I'm much more aware of the stress I was under now that I'm coming out from under it. Just like when I went to the beach a few weeks ago and only on the second day there did I feel my body letting go of the huge weight of stress that I'd been carrying around.
I've become convinced that we as a society have become so accustomed to our stress that we're not even aware of it. Which is really scary.
If you're like me, when you read headlines about the harmful effects of stress on the human body, you think to yourself, "Yeah, I know" and you just keep scrolling down the page. So I'm asking you to stick with me here, because I LOVE YOU and because this is IMPORTANT.
Stress is really harmful. It's really, really bad. You may think you know, but hear me out. According to an article I found on WebMD, 75-90% of all doctor's office visits are for stress-related complaints. 75-90%!
Stress can be responsible for headaches, high blood pressure, heart problems, chest pain, stomach trouble, change in sex drive, trouble sleeping, diabetes, cancer, skin conditions, irritability, asthma, arthritis, depression, anxiety, and much more.
Last year the Huffington Post compiled a list of very compelling and very interesting stress-related studies. You should check it out. It REALLY drives home the point that we NEED to be monitoring and managing our stress.
As a society, we have become so focused on productivity that we deprioritize our self care.
We don't care if we're exhausted, if we've got dark circles under our eyes, or if we're on medication to manage our blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol, because we're too busy trying to work 40+ hours while also spending quality time with our kids, planning date nights, socializing with friends, doing the grocery shopping and cooking, attending kids' after-school activities, helping with homework, doing the dishes, laundry, and housekeeping, and probably more!
So I'm asking you, because I love you, to please take an honest look at your life. Take a look at how you're spending your time and whether you're taking good enough care of yourself.
Consider where you might be able to scale back your responsibilities so you can start to schedule some self care into your life. I want you to be healthy and live a long time, and I bet I'm not the only who feels that way. <3
P.S. If you decide you'd like to make some changes and you want some support to help you get started, I'd be honored if you'd join us for our free 4 Weeks to Great Self Care program. You can find the details here.
Or if you realize that you really want to put a strong focus on managing your stress, join us for our excellent upcoming workshop, Manage Stress with Rachel Hector. You can read more about Rachel and the workshop on our Workshops page.