Stop Ignoring your Stress & Stop Ignoring your Health
June 29, 2022 - Episode #99 - Stop Ignoring your Stress & Stop Ignoring your Health
You've been operating in stress mode for so long, you don't even recognize it. That fight or flight mode? Well, that's your norm. It's absolutely destroying your health, causing you to lose sleep and yes, gain weight. Oh, and it's stealing your happiness! Stop ignoring your stress and stop ignoring your health! I'm going to give you some tips to beat stress and overwhelm. It's all today on the Healthy Harmony podcast.
Speaking of stress, did you know that you burn through your magnesium stores more readily when you are stressed? Magnesium deficiency is probably the reason WHY you are feeling so fatigued, crave sugar, struggle with bathroom issues, have imbalanced hormones and aren't sleeping good! Yeah, magnesium is a big deal and you actually absorb it better through your skin. This is why I use a magnesium soak! I love to use this for either a bath or to soak my feet. The brand that I use comes from Living the Good Life Naturally and they have been kind enough to offer a discount to YOU, my listeners! Go to www.livingthegoodlifenaturally.com and use the promo code IHH.
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June 29, 2022 - Episode #99 - Stop Ignoring your Stress & Stop Ignoring your Health
You've been operating in stress mode for so long. You don't even recognize it. That fight or flight mode? Well, that's your norm. It's absolutely destroying your health, causing you to lose sleep and yes, gain weight. Oh, and it's stealing your happiness. Stop ignoring your stress and stop ignoring your health!! I'm gonna give you some tips to beat stress and overwhelm it's all today on the healthy harmony podcast.
Welcome. This is the Healthy Harmony podcast. I'm Jennifer Pickett, Dietitian turned functional medicine, health coach. I help spiraling moms overcome the overwhelm through functional wellness coaching with a body, mind, and soul so they can transform their health and live a deeply fulfilled life of freedom and harmony. Okay, let's get real. When it comes to your health, you know what to do. I help you make the shift from knowing to actually doing the, the last 25 years of experience have taught me that the absolute last thing a woman needs is a lecture about self care and another unrealistic diet plan. I recognize the importance of compassionate and intentional health practices. So you can feel good because guess what? When you feel good, you are more likely to make better decisions for your health. If you're ready to take control of your complete health, address the obstacles standing in your way and live a life of freedom and harmony, my friend, you're in the right place.
I want to feature one of my absolute favorite products. It's a magnesium soak. I'm willing to bet good money that you are deficient in magnesium. And during times of stress, you burn through your magnesium stores more readily. Did you know that you actually absorb magnesium better through your skin? Okay. This is why I've incorporated a magnesium soak. As part of my wellness routine. I either put it in my bath along with some Epsom salts, or if I know I'm not gonna get a bath, I will soak my feet for about 20 to 30 minutes. I love this like intentional practice. So magnesium is needed for over 300 cellular processes. So in the show notes, I will reference back a podcast where I interviewed a magnesium expert. And so it is very, very eye opening. I want you to go back and listen to that if you missed it because your eyes will be open, you'll be like, oh my goodness, I need some magnesium.
So here's the deal. If you're looking for help in the bathroom department, if you wanna get better sleep, if you wanna control pain and inflammation, or if you want to balance hormones, then magnesium is your friend. I use the magnesium from a company called living the good life naturally. That's www living the good life, naturally.com. And guess what? I've got a promo code for you so you can get a discount. So that promo code is I H H again, that's I H H for inspire healthy harmony. I love the intentional practice of just soaking your feet. And you know what, like, that's your relaxation time and Hey, do me a favor. If you do this, take a picture, send it to me, tag me. Like, I just wanna see that you doing this intentional health practice today's topic is such an important one.
And I will tell you that if there is anything that has destroyed my health, that I did not realize it's this it's stress.
I will never forget. I had like a aha moment, a wake up call. I was sitting in the hair salon. This is several years ago and I was getting my hair done and I was complaining to her about my thinning hair. And I was like, I just don't like, I don't get it. I don't, I don't understand I'm taking good supplements. I just, I don't know, like, what's going on? Why is my hair thinning? And she said, well, have you been stressed? And I stopped. And I was thinking, I was thinking like, like within the past day, you know, I don't know. And, and I was like, oh, and the more I thought about it, cuz I, I, when I left this salon, I just kept thinking about that, that question. Have you been stressed? And she had gone on to explain to me how that dramatically impacts your hair and your hair growth.
And I never thought about it. And I started thinking about what I had been through and what my family had been through in recent years with regard to stress. And I was thinking, oh my goodness. And it had finally caught up with me and you could tell it in my hair. And you know, I see this as I, as speaking to clients every single day in my and, and I hear this, you know, I will point out to a client, man. That's a lot of stress and they'll quickly like deny it or, or say, well, yeah, but I'm handling it fine because it's almost like we don't wanna even own up to the stress. Cuz if we own up to the stress, it's like admitting that we can't handle the stress. Well, let me tell you, you're not supposed to be handling all of this.
Like it's a lot. Okay. So it's amazing how I I'm finding that with a lot of my clients. They're not even owning up to the stress they have. They haven't even recognized that that stress is destroying their health. And so this is something in my health. I'm trying to turn around and I'm working with others to help them turn this around because let me tell you, this is not something that we can ignore. So when you are stressed out your body is in fight or flight mode. Now you've probably heard this expression, right? Fight or flight mode. So that, that serves a very particular purpose. God designed it for a reason. We, we're not supposed to stay in fight or flight. Okay. We're supposed to come out of that. The problem is we're staying stuck in fight or flight mode. Let me describe fight or flight mode like this.
You're running from a tiger. Yep. That's what your body thinks. You're running from a tiger. You're running from a predator. So I mean all the blood flow is actually going to your ex your blood flow is more concentrated to the extremities. So you can either run fast or you can fight, fight or flight mode, get it. And there's also like your body's like the blood it's getting ready to clot because if you get cut while you're running, or if you get cut while you're fighting, then your blood needs to clot. Okay. So you don't bleed out. So there's all of these things that happen in the body physiologically when you're stressed because your body doesn't say, oh, well, that's just a difficult conversation with my teenager. The body goes, it's time to run. It's time to run from the tiger. I gotta be in this fight or flight mode.
That is a sympathetic response. So your sympathetic nervous system is fight or flight mode. And we have got to learn how to shift to parasympathetic, which is rest and digest. That is where healing happens. That is where the body's working efficiently. You're digesting your food. You're getting good rest you're detoxifying. But the problem is we're stuck in this sympathetic fight or flight mode. We're running from the tiger. Our, the, if you're, if you can picture it like this, if you're driving a car and it is pedal to the metal the whole way, and guess what happens, your adrenals burn. And so that's what I'm seeing with a lot of my clients, especially when I get to run that I love that saliva cortisol test. And I, when I get to see like specifically, this is what it looks like. This is what adrenal dysfunction looks like.
This is where we're seeing cortisol out of whack and adrenaline out of whack because you've been going and doing for so long and ignoring the stress in your life and not managing the stress.
And you know, it's funny I could go on and on about, about the science, right? You don't really wanna hear about the science. I know what you wanna hear about. You wanna hear about losing weight? Okay. I can tell because the podcasts that talk about losing weight, those are the ones that are the most popular. So let me give you a little secret. You cannot ignore stress when you ignore stress and you are living in that fight or flight mode, those adrenal glands are pumping out cortisol to help you keep up, to meet those demands. Guess what it is causing inflammation. It is causing blood sugar dysregulation and all of that cortisol.
All that means is that you're going to hold on to belly fat. It's gonna move that belly fat, even deeper as a means of protection. So that is why. If you have any concerns about your health at all, if you wanna lose weight, you've gotta look at how to manage stress. The other thing that you have to know is sleep and stress. Those two go together. Lack of sleep, poor sleep, poor stress management, lack of self management stress management, those go hand in hand. So what happens is cortisol is a very important hormone. Some people call it a stress hormone. I've also heard people call it a fat storage hormone, but cortisol is supposed to naturally rise in the morning. And then throughout the day it starts to, to fall. At night we wanna see that cortisol being lowered when that cortisol is lowered, then that sends a signal to the body.
Oh, okay. It's time to relax. It's time to get some good sleep, but you can imagine if you're stressed out and that, that cortisol is jacked up. You're not getting that signal. It's time to re it's trying to relax. It's time to get good sleep. So it's gonna, it really dramatically affects sleep. So when you're stressed out and you know, I had this expert on the podcast Devin Burke talk about sleep. And he said, when you don't manage stress during the day, you're like a pressure cooker. And then at night, your body's trying to process all of that. Well, that impacts your sleep. And so then you're really impacted. So there's a lot of different reasons why stress impacts your sleep and then guess what? You don't get good sleep. The next day. You can't cope. You can't cope with everything coming at you.
Okay? You're worn out. And even your perceptions of people when you don't get good sleep, your perceptions of people is different. You can't read people good. So mama, like you're overreacting to stuff because you're exhausted and you're stressed out. So this is why this topic is so very important. So if I were to ask you, well, what do you do to manage your stress? What would you say? You know, most of you would look at me blankly and then be like well I don't know. And then the rest of you would probably slowly admit that you stay up late to watch Netflix or indulge in wine to relax. And I'm gonna sit here and admit to you that I have done the exact same thing. And let me tell you, it messes me up. So like horribly, it doesn't work. That is not stress management.
Okay. That's just shooting yourself in the foot. It just really destroys your health. So we have got to look at stress management. We can't ignore this. If you wanna feel good, if you wanna prevent disease, if you wanna fight disease, if you want to live life to the fullest, this is where you need to start right here. So this is where I start with. Most of my clients, you're just getting this on the podcast. I start with most of my clients right here, talking sleep and stress. And guess what? Almost 100% of the people not sleeping good and stress is outta control. You know, we have to look at this because so many times when people come to me, they're like, okay, this is gonna be, she's gonna tell me, here's what I can eat. Here's what I can't eat. And she's gonna tell me to exercise more.
Let me tell you girl, if it was that simple, we would all have this figured out. We'd all be running around, very trim and healthy and fit and all of that mess. Okay. There's more to it than that. That's why we have to look at sleep and stress. It drives everything. So that's why I love to help folks take that very realistic, personalized approach to their health and their life and help them find ways to manage that stress and really get better sleep. And then, you know what, it's a lot easier to make healthier decisions, healthier choices, just a side note. Here's, here's another reason I'm passionate about this. I hear horror stories. Y'all absolute horror stories. When people have worked with another expert coach like influencer, like whatever, some of these, these health approaches, some of these extremes that people are promoting, I'm like, oh my word.
So here's a clue. If your health plan is absolutely stressing you out, then you're shooting yourself in the foot. Okay. Stress is stress. And that's what I want us to talk about. Stress is stress. So when it comes to stress, there are three types of stress. You have got physical stress, you've got chemical stress and you've got emotional stress. And so physical stress would be like an illness. You're, you're fighting an illness or maybe you have a disease state that you're dealing with. I would say, you know, physical stress is also like genetics. And so that's physical stress. Chemical stress would be medications. You're taking over the counter medications, the toxins that we are surrounded by the toxins you're consuming. And then emotional stress would be all everything else. Okay. It might be a difficult conversation with our teenager. It might be a fight with our husband. It might be work related stress. Now here's the thing. When it comes to the different types of stress, the body doesn't differentiate between the different types of stress. The body just goes, it's all it lumps it all together. Okay. So all the stress is lumped together. So the body doesn't say, oh, well, that's just a, that's just a, a, a work email. That's no big deal. Nope. Stress is stress. And the body lumps, all of it together. That is why we're struggling.
So we have to learn how to get from the sympathetic state, the fight or flight mode to the parasympathetic state, rest and digest. So here's some ways to do that. So here's some ways to support the vagus nerves. So the vagus nerve run runs between the gut and the brain. Very, very important. And here's some ways to support the vagus nerve and get in that parasympathetic state, that rest and digest mode.
So number one is deep breathing. So hugely beneficial for you. Any type of intentional, deep breathing is beneficial. Now here's where I see a lot of us making mistakes when we're stressed, we're we, we are, we put it off. Okay. We either shove it down. We don't deal with it. We don't address it. Or we say, okay, well, later on, I'll go for a walk or later on, I will do something. Nope. When you're, when you recognize you're in that fight or flight mode, okay. When your body is sending you those signals, when you can feel like you feel it okay. When you can feel the tension in your shoulders, you're clenching your jaw. Maybe you're getting a little bit sort of breath, your heart's racing. You're starting to get a headache. Your belly is rumbling. When you start to be mindful and recognize that your body's in that fight or flight mode, you've gotta do something right.
Then not later on, but right then to dial it back, that's where deep breathing is so beneficial. So my favorite, excuse me, my favorite is four square breathing or box breathing. This is where you breathe in through your nose. Count to four, hold it. Count to four, breathe out through your mouth, count to four and hold it count to four. So here's what we're gonna do for the first time on the healthy harmony podcast. I'm going to walk you through that deep breathing. And I want you to do it no matter where you're at, no matter who's around, it doesn't matter. It's just breathing. So here we go. Breathe in 2, 3, 4, hold it 2, 3, 4, breathe out 2, 3, 4, hold it 2, 3, 4. Isn't that easy. That is called box breathing. Also known as four square breathing. And so I, when you do that, I want you to do the counting.
Okay. It is so beneficial. And what that is doing is just helping the body dial back the stress response and get into that parasympathetic state. By the way, if you're gonna sit down and eat, you might need to do some deep breathing. My friend, if you wanna make sure you digest your food properly, because poor digestion is just leading to poor gut health, and you're never gonna be healthy if your gut isn't healthy. So number two, it goes right along with that meditation, very, very important. You don't have to have anything complicated, figured out there's plenty of good apps. And I know sometimes it's like, okay, that sounds a little bit, woo, boo. Like, I don't know about that. Try it. Okay. And there's, there's Christian apps. There's O other ones that are not Christian, you know, that are just meditation apps, but it is just a practice of being still and breathing and being self-aware of your body.
Very beneficial to get in that parasympathetic state. Now, the next one I've talked about before, and I'm just gonna tell you, I hear from your dogs, I hear from your pets and they always want me to emphasize this. So I'm trying to get them to hush and stop, you know, sending me all these emails, pet your dog, pet your cat, pet an animal, activates your parasympathetic nervous system. Isn't that incredible, like just petting the act of petting your animal, activates that parasympathetic state. Did you know that just humming, humming or sinking out loud can activate your parasympathetic state? And finally, I heard something just this past week and I thought it was so fascinating just going outside and listening to sounds of nature can be very beneficial. First of all, we get huge benefits from walking outside. We need the benefits from the sun at different times of the day.
And so getting outside hugely beneficial, but listening to the sounds of nature, especially birds chirping. So instinctually, when you hear birds chirping, instinctually, your body goes, okay, there's no predators around because just by instinct, when birds are chirping, that means that there's no predators present. I thought that was so fascinating. So go outside. Y'all two, three minutes, listen to the birds, be still just stand there and listen. And so those are some ways to activate that vagus nerve support the vagus nerve and get in that parasympathetic rest and digest mode. So, you know I, as I was preparing for this topic, this is so heavy on my heart because we are in, we're stuck in that mode and we're doing, we're trying to do all the things. And heaven forbid that someone think we can't handle all the things. So we just keep doing all the things and we're destroying our health.
And then we look up and we've wasted so much time, or we have just struggled through barely surviving life is so much more than that. And so if we want to look at changing our relationships, y'all, we've gotta look at how we manage our stress. So I'm gonna give you some tips to beat stress and overwhelm. And let me tell you it's time for some tough love. So I'm gonna be blunt with you. I'm gonna be candid because that's what you need. That's what you deserve. Number one, stop ignoring your health, stop it. You think you can sacrifice your health for your kid's health. And guess what? You can't, you can't sacrifice your health for your parents' health, for your spouse's health, for your friend's health. Like it doesn't work that way. You can't sacrifice your health. So it's time to listen to your body and give it what it needs.
Number two, get counseling. I've said it before. Why in the world, does it have such a stigma associated with it? Girl, go talk to somebody. And if it's not the right person, if you don't kind of jive with them, go find somebody else. But let me tell you so many of you listening to me, you've had, you've had significant trauma in your past, the body stores up trauma, and that has to be dealt with, or your health will never get to the point where you want it to be. So here is my example. Some of you may have heard this. I think it was last summer. I did a two part series on gut health with Dr. Kaz, Dr. Peter Klowski. He was fantastic. I thought he did such a great job of explaining gut health in a very simple manner that we can all understand.
And I got to this point in the podcast where I said, okay, well, tell us what to do. Like where do we, where do we go first? What do we do first? And he said, get counseling. And I was like, what? I wanna go, wait, what is that? I mean, I just didn't think he would say that first, you know, I thought he'd talk about elimination, diet, or probiotics or all yada, yada, yada. But Nope. He said get counseling. And he started talking about trauma and how we don't even recognize. We think of trauma as maybe some big, huge things, but sometimes trauma is something smaller and it's just how it affected you. But we all need counseling.
Number three, learn to say, no, this is a tough one. I'm speaking to a vast majority of women. And we have a hard time saying, no, it's a one word sentence. My counselor has told me, it's a one word sentence. You don't have to explain. You don't have to justify.
Let me give you an example. Just last week I was having a conversation with my counselor and I was re recounting a conversation that I had and where I was telling someone that I couldn't do something that, that wasn't gonna work out. And so I was explaining, and I was providing justification and she stopped me and she said, why do you do that? And I was like what? She goes, you're justifying. And I was like I don't, I don't know. I think cuz I always do that. And she goes, no, you don't have to justify. You don't have to justify your, your answer of why you can't do something. And you know, I realize, you know, my part of my problem, I don't wanna be a disappointment. I don't wanna disappoint you. I don't wanna be a disappointment to my family, to my kids, to my extended family.
And so, you know, I find, oh, I'm over-explaining and I'm justifying my actions. You don't have to do that. You can be okay. I can be okay by just saying, no, it is a one word sentence. And you know, there are some things that you need to say no to because what happens? And I have done this. We start saying yes to everything. We become martyrs. Yes. I'll do that. Oh goodness. I hope I can find the time. Yes, I'll do that. Yes. I'll do this. And it doesn't work because saying yes to everything, then we become burned out and just bitter. Right? It doesn't work. So learn how to say no number three, number four, excuse me. Simplify. At some point we have got to simplify your schedule. Nobody could keep up with that. Schedule. Your body cannot keep up with the demands of that schedule.
It doesn't make sense. Now I'm about to step on your toes. Some of you are probably gonna get mad at me. You might never not ever listen to this again. I don't know, but I'm gonna, I'm just gonna put this out there. Do you need to do something different with kids sports? We live in a culture where kids sports has gotten absolutely ridiculous. Y'all I have yet to see a scout at a, at, at a little league game. Okay. Now my kids are a little bit older now, but I've been there done that. But now all of our sports revolves around depending on where you live. If you call it select sports travel ball, like it all revolves around this, this elite level of sports where you pay a lot of money and you spend even more time. At some point, we have to look at the health of the family at the health of your child.
If your child is going nonstop, I promise you their adrenals are in fatigue. Okay. They can only do so much if your kid's never getting any sleep. If they're never allowed time to be a kid, if they are playing in tournaments nonstop, like something's gotta give. And then a lot of you listening, like your kids in numerous sports, like all the activities, you're never home. What happens and listening to counselors about this, what happens with these kids is they get so burned out that by the time they, they get older and they can play high school sports, college, sports, guess what they're done? They're burned out. They're finished. So it's just something to think about. We need to simplify our schedule as best we can. It's okay to say no. And I know you're thinking, okay, Jennifer, I don't know what I can say no to what should I say no to?
I can't answer that for you, but if you take a real look at your life, what needs to be cut out so you can simplify. Do you need a healing season where you say, you know what? This season we're gonna take it a little bit low. We're gonna take it a little bit slower pace here, because this isn't making sense for anybody. Okay. Enough to lecture.
I'm moving on the last one. Take time for rest and relaxation. Yeah. I'm giving you permission. Take time for rest and relaxation. Read a book, soak your feet. Sit outside. Take some time for just that quiet time. Relax with a good friend. Do you need to look at who you're hanging out with? How do you feel when you leave that person? Do you feel like, oh my goodness, I've been refreshed. That was good for my soul. Or do you feel completely depleted?
So those friends that are completely depleting, those people that are depleting you, that's not rest and relaxation. That's just putting your body. Remember stress is stress. That's just putting you in the sympathetic fight or flight mode. Okay. It's, it's crazy how a friendship can do that. That doesn't make sense. It's not good for you. So I want you to take some time for rest and relaxation. Give yourself a break schedule in breaks in your day. Very, very important. I'm very good about scheduling a lunch break. And so this is where I don't have my phone. I'm not checking emails while I'm while I'm eating my lunch. I'm not, you know, scrolling my phone because that's not gonna help my digestion. I sit there and I read my fiction book while I'm on my lunch break and I set my timer. So I don't have to, you know, worry about, you know, missing my next session with the client.
So there's some things I want you to think about. I, my, my breaks, I love to go outside, you know, talk to the dogs. I talk to them like they fully understand everything I'm saying. I like to be outside, you know, even just, you know, go on walks. I like to, I really do love to read. And so I have made that as part of my health routine because it's relaxing to me and it's a wonderful escape. Now I will read very serious. I will be read, you know, health, science type books. I listen to those podcasts, but when I'm taking a break, it's just about relaxing. So here's the deal. The stress is not going to magically go away. You can't put off your health efforts until everything slows down or until things aren't so stressful, you've gotta be proactive. And I put all of this out there because I just want you to think I wanna open up your eyes. I don't wanna overwhelm you, but simply encourage you to take a step in the right direction. I want you to stop ignoring your stress and stop ignoring your health.
Thank you for joining me today. Next time we have a very interesting, it will be a very candid discussion between me and my daughter, Maddie, as we discuss mental and emotional health for teenagers, Maddie is a really good communicator. We're gonna be very candid about our struggles and and, and a few solutions that have really helped us. And I'm excited for you to hear from her, cuz like I said, Maddie is just a fantastic communicator. Until then get you some of that magnesium soak from living the good life naturally. And don't forget the discount code. I want you to get a discount. That discount code is IHH and go soak your feet, read a book, do something for you. Bye y'all.