Managing Stress and Anxiety: Lockdown 3.0

STRESSED OUT already into the 1st week of 2021?? Don’t worry you are not alone and it’s OK to Feel like that !!!!!!

We are definitely feeling it here at Physio Performance Drogheda.

 

Know the difference between normal and excessive anxiety – Flux Magazine

 

The January Blues.….. Overindulged over the Christmas Period…….. Unrealistic New Year’s Resolutions………. Every Social media post is selling you a new fitness routine….telling you don’t look good enough or feel good enough, to do MORE !!!!

Throw into the mix the Doom & Gloom of the Covid-19 Pandemic

  • Increasing Cases & Hospital Admissions
  • Fear & Anxiety around catching Covid-19
  • Family & Friends sick
  • New Level 5 lockdown, for how long??
  • Uncertainty around school ,employment & business
  • Social media conspiracies

ITS NOT EASY !!!!

How could stress levels & anxiety not increase???


This morning, I had 4 phone calls to Physio Performance from people looking for help & advice after tweaking their necks and backs.

It prompted me to write this blog!!

Back/Neck pain is commonly “perceived” to be caused by doing something physical like lifting, dragging something heavy or bad posture. This can be the case and physical activities/posture can be contributing factors but pain in general and backpain is often much more complex & multi-factorial than that.

NONE of the inquires this morning:

  • Had started working from a new home office desk.
  • Had hurt themselves putting the Christmas decorations away into the attic
  • Had started a new crazy 21 Day Fitness Online routine.

They just felt it build over the last week on them and two of them woke with it after a poor nights sleep!!!


Why may you ask?

Well in my opinion a major contributing factor : STRESS !!

Stress, puts our nervous systems on high alert (otherwise known as “fight or flight”).  It’s a recipe for both mental AND musculoskeletal aches and pains.

Although its impossible to change all the above factors there are some simple things you can do to counteract the negative impact of stress.


1. Breathe

I know this might sound cliche, but breathing is one of your best friends when it comes to quickly reducing and interrupting stress. As little as 30 seconds can make a dramatic difference! When you breathe deeply using the diaphragm it sends a message to your brain to calm down and relax. The best part is you can do this anywhere — in the car, at the desk or before bed. Although breathing may not eliminate stress permanently, it does interrupt it. And interruption is key when it comes to managing stress — both emotional and musculoskeletal.  When you interrupt the ability for the cumulative forces of stress to accumulate, you decrease the toll it can have on your body and brain.

 

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2. Practice Gratitude.

Did you know that gratitude helps lower cortisol levels in our bodies by about 23 percent? Prolonged stress causes elevated cortisol levels, which causes lots of different health problems such as heart disease and high blood pressure. Research shows that when we think about something we appreciate (i.e. practice gratitude), the parasympathetic nervous system (the calming one) is triggered. Our parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for returning the body to its automatic and natural rhythm. So when the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, your heart rate and cortisol levels lower — which is the opposite of what happens when you’re stressed out. Your sympathetic (fight or flight) and parasympathetic nervous systems work together in opposition, and can’t both be in charge at the same time. So when you consciously practice gratitude, you actively lower your stress!

 

7 Elements of Leadership Gratitude

 

3. Move!

Any kind of movement is going to help you control stress for a few reasons… First, it gets your blood flowing which contains endorphins — natural chemicals of the body designed to decrease pain AND stress. Second, movement helps to end the “flight or fight” response of the body. In ancient times, our fight or flight response protected us from danger (like a wild animal chasing us), by triggering us to run away. Running away (movement) would signal the end of the stress cycle caused by fight or flight by letting the brain know we were safe and out of danger. In our modern worlds, triggers of stress are not as obvious as a wild animal trying to eat us and tend to be more unassuming and cumulative. The end of the stress cycle is not always clear and can just keep going. Therefore, purposeful movement can help to decrease stress by physiologically ending your natural fight or flight response! Something as simple as walking can do this for you.

It doesn’t need to a be a high level Instagram routine that promises you a Six Pack, just anything that you enjoy ……….dancing in your living room can feel good and get your heart rate up enough to do the trick.

 

Active African American teenager is dancing on sofa listening to music through headphones and having fun at home alone. Leisure, youth and songs concept. — Stock Video © silverkblack #250811818

 


I hope these tips help you feel confident that it is indeed possible to combat any kind of stress you might be feeling right now.

Stress is normal and life is shitty at times , but dealing with it longer than you should doesn’t have to be.

THINGS WILL IMPROVE 😀😀

We are always available here at Physio Performance Drogheda to help through any stress, pain or injury. Please contact us on 086-1958233 or email: info@physioperformance.ie and we would be more than happy to help.

Yours In Health

Mick

Physio Performance