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Stress Thresholds, Santa and Shopping

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Or is it? So many of us feel overwhelmed, overcommitted and are over-spending and this can all lead to the dreaded ‘S’ word…Stress.

woman pulling her hair in frustration

We’ve spoken about stress before here and how it is designed to be a short-term thing – our body goes into a stress (defensive) response until the trigger is removed, and then it relaxes again. These days, the stress is often long-term with one thing after another and this can have a negative impact on our parasympathetic nerve systems and frankly, leave us quite frazzled, burnt out and depleted.

Have you noticed how some people tend to respond to stress differently? Some people can attend 4 late night functions in a week, meet 3 different deadlines, go to all of their kids’ Christmas shows and still function amazingly. Whereas some of us struggle to just make dinner and pack lunches 5 days a week – any of that extra ‘stuff’ sends us into burnout and overwhelm.  The differences here are largely due to each of us having our own Stress Threshold.

What’s a Stress Threshold?

A stress threshold means that there is a level or limit at which the body will start to succumb to the effects of stress. Once this level is crossed, we find it harder to cope and are more vulnerable to becoming unwell. It is worth being aware of so that we can listen to our body and address the issue in a particular situation or attempt to adjust our tolerance level and find a path through it. A low-stress threshold can mean that something minor may cause you to become emotional, get sick, experience pain or other symptoms like headaches. A high threshold may mean that you are better able to manage more commitments without experiencing physical symptoms and can control your behaviour in a stressful situation better.

How Can We Increase Our Stress Threshold?

Thankfully, there are ways we can increase our stress threshold this holiday season.

  1. Breathe deeply in and out. Our breath is a powerful tool to calm the sympathetic nerve system (stress response) and stimulate the parasympathetic system to switch on and have a calming effect on the body.
  2. Practice saying No. It’s OK to say no during the holidays. If you feel yourself nearing your threshold, then you are the most important person to take care of. Don’t let others dictate what parties you should attend, what food you should eat, or how much you should be doing, which might otherwise get in the way of your own health goals.
  3. Remember that you are what you eat. If you feel like you have overeaten or overindulged, give yourself a day or two to replenish and repair your gut and digestion. Have a day of simple, healing foods and give your digestive system (and liver) a break.
  4. Get adjusted. Chiropractic adjustments literally calm down the sympathetic response and stimulate the parasympathetic nerve system. If your nerve system is working efficiently and is well-balanced then your body can self-heal, self-balance and self-regulate. This means your stress response will be dampened and your body can recalibrate and readjust to the extra stressors in your life at this time of year. Our chiropractors often increase our adjustment visits at this time of year to stay on top of our stress-thresholds and to ensure that we stay well through this demanding time of year. Listen to your body and if you feel you need a top-up adjustment or two, book them in.

Have Questions?

If you have any questions about your stress threshold ask at your next appointment. If you are wondering what your body does when it is stressed just pay attention to your body responses over the next few weeks. Make a note of what and how you are feeling when you’re a bit wired, tired or overcommitted. Being aware of your triggers means you can adapt and respond to these before you get sick, injured or overwhelmed.

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