When it comes to stress and managing “life stuff” through lockdown, you may be feeling the effects of either an increased workload, accommodating work changes, lost work, feeling the effects of a lack of physical connection with others and how that plays into your life, or you might find yourself secretly relieved that you get to just… pause.
It’s so normalised to be constantly on-the-go that for those being forced to stop and sit with our “stuff” can be really confronting for a lot of people. In a lot of ways, stress is a protector; it feels like there’s never enough time to process the things we’re working through.
Our bodies don’t actually know the different between “good” stress and “bad” stress, so while you might have the type of personality that thrives on pressure or training as a release, it’s good to not only have some practises that require stillness, but also be able to identify how your system responds to the stressors in your world.
There are three distinctive phases with stress:
In ‘alarm’ stage we get that classic cortisol release. Our heart rates up, we have adrenaline, and we’re ready to react. In our everyday lives, this might get spiked regularly by daily work, family needs and general time pressures, and become a familiar feeling to the ever-increasing demands of city-living.
‘Resistance’ stage sees a slight lowering or cortisol, and the body starts to recover from the stressful situation. Hormone levels are able to begin repairing again (in ‘alarm’ stage, your body brings all its attention to the ‘emergency’, and as a result, lots of regulating processes go on pause).
During prolonged periods of stress, your body adapts to living with higher levels of stress & coping mechanisms come in. Common signs are being irritable, frustrated, and having difficulty concentrating. All things we often perceive as our ‘normal’.
Chronic stress leads us into ‘exhaustion’ stage. So many of us see the associated key symptoms as relatively common lived experience, whether it be personally, or someone you know; fatigue, burnout, depression, anxiety, and a decreased stress response. These can all contribute to a weakened immune system and stress-related illnesses popping up. Feeling drained physically, emotionally, and/or mentally is increasingly being tolerated while living through a pandemic.
Dosing our stress and modulating our stress response is where Acupuncture and TCM is ever-appreciated adjunct in these routines. Acupuncture gets us into a parasympathetic state (aka our rest-and-digest mode) and facilitates those healing responses that get us back to a healthier baseline; pre-cursers to better sleep, energy, digestion, and hormone repair.
As AHPRA practitioners, we fall under an essential service for those requiring care. It’s more than just adjusting to tolerating a stressful block. Listening to your body is not always an easy thing to do!
Appointments available to book via phone or online to get some support.
Laelia is available in clinic on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday’s. You can find more from her on insta @chi.and.chill