Thursday, November 15, 2012

Stress Hangover?

You feel tired, achy, and burned out.  Your head pounds.  It feels like you had a few too many drinks.  But that's not it.  Perhaps you had a few too many night wakings with the kids.  Financial or personal stress.  Health struggles.  Or even a natural disaster.

This week, I have a stress hangover.  And, as a parent, I bet you know exactly what I'm talking about.  It's easy to get overwhelmed with stress when you have kids to juggle, a lack of sleep, and very little balance in your life.  Add to that a few other challenges and BAM! it hits you.

October was a busy month for Holistic Moms, with our Natural Living Conference, Holistic Living Month, HMNRaising Auction and so much more.  On the heels of all of the busy-ness, Frankenstorm Sandy decided to pay us a visit.  The storm tore down trees and power lines, took lives and homes, and devastated the Northeast.  We had no power, heat, internet, or phone for nine days and a fire in our home in the middle of it all.  But we got off easy.  Still, waiting on hours-long gas lines, searching supermarkets for food, and generally trying to stay warm maxed us all out.  And then the blizzard hit, dropping more than six inches of snow on top of it all.  And then the kids got sick with hacking coughs and colds.  And then, for a little added bonus, one of our dogs had a Lyme disease relapse, complete with paralysis and tremors.  Let's not even talk about work and our offices being closed for more than a week, please.

You know when people say that stress is bad for you?  They're not kidding!  I don't even need a night of partying and drinking to feel this bad.  So how to we find our way through when the stress starts to pile higher than we had ever imagined?  For me, it starts with being present.  Present in the moment that is.  I have spent many nights of late lying in bed awake, my mind racing with the stress of all that has happened and how to make it through.  But bringing my mind to the present, to the moment, and to all that we have to be grateful for here and now immediately creates a sense of calm.  Being present and in gratitude helps me to breathe and be still.  And that is the first step in restoring balance amid the chaos.

Stressful times call for nurturing.  Your desire to curl up in bed, drink a hot cup of tea, or create a quiet space, are natural instincts for coping.  Honor them.  Find a way to rest and sleep.  Nurture your body through with warming, healing foods.  Drink tea and soup, as they are easy on your digestive system.  Find solace in (healthy) comfort food without guilt.  Boost your immune system, as stress takes its toll.  Take time to give your body the support it needs.  A few of my personal favorites include probiotics, fish oils, and Vitamin D.  Seek out healing therapies such as chiropractic, acupuncture, and massage.  And find quiet moments.  Try to create still in your family to regain balance.  Curl up with your kids and connect.  When we ground ourselves and our families, we can pull through the challenges.

Don't dismiss those feelings of overwhelm or your own stress hangover.  Embrace the sign to slow down and  nurture yourself.  The holiday season is almost upon us.  If you stay present and nurture yourself, you might avoid the stress hangover altogether.  As for your standard hangovers, try bananas and lots of fluids.

Have a stress hangover cure?  Please share!

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