I really hope this blog post finds you well. These have been CRAZY times to say the least and we have found ourselves thrown into forced isolation. So much so that even many of those who believed they were introverts are having a tough time. The media is sending messages of doom, gloom and despair. Jobs are in question and there is constant worry.
The stress and anxiety that is happening at this time can aggravate chronic pain, including pelvic pain. The constant stimulus to the body, to the tissues, wreak havoc on the nervous system. This stress can affect your body's homeostasis abilities, the ability to remain balanced. Stress can affect many of the body's systems including: the endocrine system (your hormones) which can in turn affect the immune system, the nervous system, the GI system, cardiovascular system and even cognitive processes (Yaribeygi et al 2017).
So what should we do? Block out the stress right? Easier said than done! Sometimes, like now, it's hard to tune out the "noise". But here are a few tips:
1. Relaxation techniques can activate the parasympathetic system which inhibits the effect of the stress response on the body. Calm your nervous system. Mindfulness and meditation help to calm the nervous system and the body by extension.
2. Connect with others. Right now might be hard as physical connection is limited, but call a friend. Call a loved one. Take this time to just see how someone else is doing. Maintaining connection can be so powerful.
3. Gratitude. When you think it's bad it could always be worse. Not to add to the doom and gloom, but instead of focusing on the negative, find one thing everyday to be grateful for. Start a journal so that on the tough days you can reflect on some positives.
4. Exercise. What's that saying? Motion is lotion! We need to MOVE! Exercise increases endorphins and oxytocin. It has been shown to decrease the stress hormones. The important thing is to do something that you love. It doesn't have to be running, or weight lifting, even dancing can do the body good.
5. Nutrition. Make sure that you are eating nourishing foods- foods that will support the body and the immune system. Many foods have been shown to have an inflammatory effect on the body, such as sugars, processed foods and even dairy. Spices like turmeric have been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties.Supplements can help to boost the immune system, such as Omega-3, Zinc, Magnesium, B Complex and Vitamin C. Whole foods including 8-10 servings of vegetables and fruit, lean proteins and so on.
6. Sleep. Good sleep hygiene is so important. Imagine a self cleaning oven. That is your brain. When you are asleep, your brain and body get to regenerate. Try setting a bed time that allows for you to get at least 8 hours of sleep. Try to turn off blue light prior to bed time, at least 1-2 hours.
The key is to start creating healthy habits. Start to implement these things in your daily routine. Stress is tough and these are tough times but implementing these suggestions can get you on the road to minimizing its effects and ultimately helping to manage your chronic pain and other stress related symptoms.
Yours in Health,
PS: Tune in to the new podcast, Fueling Her: A Woman's Guide to Wellness, with myself and Dr. Chelsea Drda and chiropractor and wellness coach. Join us as we discuss all facets of wellness.
Listen to the PODCAST
Episode 1: All About Endo with Dr. Jessica Drummond