Why Taking a Break When You're Stressed Isn't a Bad Thing
It's not news that life is often busy, overwhelming, and stressful. And it's also probably not news to you that stress can have a negative impact on your health. Your digestion is no exception. Managing stress can have a massively positive impact on your gut health. Here's how - and why - taking a break can help your digestion get back on track.
The Link Between Your Mood and Your Gut
Your gut is made of hundreds of millions of neurons. These neurons are in constant communication with your brain. Exposure to stress, therefore, has an especially acute influence on your digestion. Ever feel butterflies in your stomach? Ever feel your stomach "drop" when something unexpected happens? This all connects with the way your brain and stomach work together to deal with stressful situations.
The opposite is true as well. Stress can lead to changes in your gut's microbiome. This, in turn, can lead to great impacts from anxiety and depression. The brain impacts the stomach, and the stomach impacts the brain.
All of this leads to very real symptoms. Constant exposure to stress can lead to bloating, diarrhea, constipation, cramps, nausea, and appetite changes. You may find yourself eating more, or eating different foods than usual, which can lead to changes in weight and energy.
How can these impacts be avoided? Take a break. You deserve it, and your health needs it.
Taking a Break in Stressful Times
Life has a way of piling on. It can start to feel like the world will end if you aren't constantly functioning at 100%. But this simply isn't true.Make the conscious choice to step back a bit and give yourself some rest. Use these ideas as a jumping off point:
Take a Break - Literally: Working long hours? Going into overdrive for the holidays? Feeling overwhelmed by your household? Take some time out. Sure, you can't quit your job or leave your kids, but you can take time out for yourself. Leave the office for your lunch break and walk around the block. Use time when the kids are distracted to go outside and stretch (the dishes can wait). Take breaks when you can get them to let your body and mind just be.
Say No - Time to shorten that to-do list. Politely decline non-essential requests for your attention and energy - even if those requests come from yourself. Lower your standards on the non-important things and approach what really matters with a clear mind.
Pamper Your Gut - Give your gut a little love to reduce the impact of stress. A greens powder full of probiotics and enzymes can help get your gut back to where it should be when life throws it out of whack.
Pursue Mindfulness - Breathe. Meditate. Stretch. Journal. You've heard it before, but it's so important to take time to clear your mind. Start with five minutes a day to empty out those stressful thoughts.
It can feel scary to step back a bit when life gets stressful, but it's worth taking that leap. You'll feel calmer and happier. What's more, your gut will thank you too.