Chronic Stress – How It Impacts Long-Term and Chronic Illnesses

stressresponseStress is inevitable in everyday life in society today. It can be caused because of a job, family, finances, emotional or unhealthy relationships. However, when stress is experienced at a higher rate it impacts your immune and digestive systems, so people who suffer from a chronic illness – such as diabetes – it can create even worse problems. Diabetes is one illness which is stressful due to the difficulty of stabilizing blood glucose levels, diet and exercise being a significant part of your daily routine.

So what do we know about stress and where it comes from? Stress is more than just an emotion or unpleasant feeling; it is a biological response to a perceived threat or challenge. Stress has been around since the beginning of time when you think about it. The ‘fight or flight’ response that you may feel is because of stress. So animals have this same response – they will either fight or run when threatened; we act in the same way. The nervous system usually balances the body’s responses to daily events in order to maintain proper levels of alertness and relaxation. A little stress can be a good thing because it motivates you to improve performance (team sports or meeting a deadline); it can even enhance our memory ability. When stress becomes chronic and constant then problems will start to arise.

Back in the day of the middle ages society was different and people reacted differently to stress by either being aggressive or by fleeing but today’s society no longer allows that way of life. So not only has our stressors changed, but so has our way of dealing with them. Most people will just allow the stress to build up; this is chronic stress and can cause more negative physical consequences. It reduces ability to fight infections, increases gastrointestinal problems and heightens pain sensitivity. It raises blood pressure and impedes the breakdown of fat in the bloodstream increasing risk of a heart attack and stroke. Chronic stress also affects the brain.

The stress response is actually part of the biological system created in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal glands. Sensory information including stressful things is from the hypothalamus which will emit a hormone called corticotropin releasing hormone, which activates the pituitary gland. The pituitary gland is the master hormonal gland and controls the production of hormones in many different parts of the body. It sends a signal through the blood telling the adrenal glands to produce adrenaline and cotisol. These are the hormones that ready the body for ‘flight or fight’ and will shut down many bodily systems (immune and digestive for instance) so that the body’s energy can be used entirely for the task at hand. This may be great for a short term strategy but in chronic stress will create long term havoc on the body, damaging tissues and increasing incidence of disease and disorders. It will also cause the hippocampus (the area of the brain that shuts down the stress response after it is no longer needed) to become damaged and impair its ability to shut down the stress response.

In the long run chronic stress can start to affect more areas of the brain causing lower ability with mental functions, reasoning, logic, planning, and can breakdown the filters in which certain substances – such as toxins and large molecules – can penetrate the brain. Reducing unnecessary stress will have wide-ranging positive effects, from lowering blood pressure to promoting cardiovascular health. There are many ways to lessen the stress in your life, different things you can do from yoga and exercise to creating a healthier lifestyle.

Want more information in stress reduction visit my website by clicking here. Do you need help with your stress reduction plans? Do you need help with designing a healthy lifestyle? If so contact me today!

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design. For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at: Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at: http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

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4 Tips to Eliminate Stress-Related Debt

Debt-stress-File-6021396-300x205When one is heavily in debt or have over-extended oneself, this can certainly cause a large amount of stress and affect every area of your life. Debt can be accumulated through credit cards, student loans, business loans, car loans, mortgages first or second, or small to large ticket items and at times this can be simply what some call everyday living. Clearly a lot can happen over the years and debt can build up. It can become very frustrating and create pressure on personal relationships, career, family, health and can lead to illness.

Here are 4 tips that may help provide you with some relief of the debt-related stress:

1. Focus on the big picture – you can become overwhelmed and frustrated while paying off debt which causes you to lose focus of the big picture. Remember your debt is only temporary if you stay focused. Allow yourself to focus on your emergency funds and retirement, imagine the extra money you will have once your debt is gone – in other words don’t lose the focus on the big picture.

2. Remember the why – the why is the big reason for striving to be debt free. Everyone has personal goals, focus on what those goals are and remember the why.

3. Make room for rewards – you cannot stop living just because you have debt. Celebrate those big wins with small rewards, set up a system based on your goals and then treat yourself when you accomplish them, so if you have a goal for paying off $1,000 in debt in 6 months and you pay it off in 3 give yourself an extra treat. Just make sure your goals are realistic.

4. Pay off debt like it’s a game – if you think of it as a game (and maybe include some of your like-minded friends and family) you can see who reaches the finish line first. Getting out of debt is more about your attitude than your finances, be a debt-fighting warrior and you will win the game.

When you start to utilize these tips you will feel a little less stressed and less frustrated, and perhaps a little more excited when you see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Want to read all of the blogs from this past week? You can read them all in full here.

Do you need some stress relief, debt counseling, or a better financial plan? If so contact me today and let me help.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design. For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at: Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at: http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

More Tips on Avoid Winter Weight Gain

weight-loss-tipsIn an earlier blog, I discussed ways to avoid winter weight gain. I have a few more tips for you. Vitamin D deficiency happens because most people are not able to enjoy the sunshine which in turn affects mood and a motivation to eat healthy and exercise regularly. – as it is also, according to research, associated with obesity. Eating certain foods will also help with levels of vitamin D being maintained, such as non dairy items soy milk, rice milk, fortified margarine, salmon, herring, mackerel, and eggs.

Hot meals are a way to help manage weight, heat up a light meal that you normally enjoy in the summer so that you don’t go for something heavier. Make oatmeal instead of cold cereal, a toasted sandwich with lean meats, and a slow cooked casserole made with vegetables and lean meat (only a palm size serving of meat will do). Make a half of your plate with salad so you don’t overeat on the heavy food. Add lots of green vegetables to salads and other recipes in order to keep up with nutrients. Find foods that are high in antioxidants and add them to meals and to salads, experiment and try new and different things. Instead of lettuce in your salad use spinach and try other things such as brown rice, quinoa and couscous. Also make sure to eat locally grown sourced seasonal foods for more nutrients.

Carbohydrates are necessary to have a healthy eating plan and in cold weather most crave them. Carbs help to boost serotonin levels which do fall in the cold winter months. Instead of choosing white bread and cakes try whole grains and vegetables so that you aren’t eating bad carbs. Try eating sweet potatoes (avoid white potatoes which turns to sugar in the body and raises your glucose levels), porridge, seeded breads (try to select flourless), and, of course, oatmeal (steel cut oatmeal has more nutritional value).

Don’t forget soup. If you have soup already in containers in the freezer, you can just heat them in whenever you crave a snack. It’s better than searching for something good to eat in the cupboards. It can also help you to cut back so you do not overeat during a meal. Researchers have found that eating a bowl of soup before lunch and dinner will reduce calorie intake by 20%.

Exercise is necessary as well. If you do not wish to do utilize these suggestions, I have a variety of recent posts with alternatives. Find a way to do resistance training at home, buy a stationary bike, or think outside the box. Take up rock climbing at an indoor center, cycling classes, or take tennis lessons or indoor badminton. There are actually lots of ways to exercise without doing the same old thing and you might discover some type of new passion in trying new ways to exercise. Many of you may know this, but my favorite indoor and outdoor activity is using the “jump rope.”

Remember you have to find the passion that will drive you to stay fit and trim not only with exercise but also eating healthy. Visit health food stores and find which health foods you would enjoy the most, use them in smoothies while also eating healthy.

Visit my website for more information on nutrition, health, food and fitness by going to the health lounge. Follow my blog so that you can receive up to date posts when they come out. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Remember, I am always looking for comments from you on any of these subjects; please feel free to offer your feedback.

Do you need help with creating your desired healthy lifestyle? Do you want more information about nutrition? Do you need to create a better wellness plan? If so, contact me today, I can help!

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design. For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at: Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at: http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

5 Steps to Detox Your Body After The Winter Months

cat_DetoxificationThe winter months in certain areas can be very hard on the body. With the winter months coming to an end, it may be time to detox your body. A cleanse is a great way to do that and there is a simple one week cleanse that you can use.

Here are the 5 steps to your one week cleanse:

1. Soup – do a 2 day soup fast. Make a big batch of soup, vegetable or bean with extra cabbage and a dash of miso paste (low to sodium-free). Eat a big bowl for breakfast, lunch and dinner and a cup for snacks. It provides nutrients throughout the day and it is filling, low in calories and has plenty of fiber, fluid, protein, vitamins A, B and C as well as probiotics.

2. Clean diet – spend the other 5 days eating clean, healthy foods. Avoid dairy, sugar, alcohol, coffee, tea, red meat and chicken. Eat fresh clean vegetables or whole grains, raw nuts, seeds, legumes. Have 2-3 pieces of fruit a day, as well as herbal tea and clean fresh water.

3. Exercise – try to commit to about an hour a day during this week and push yourself to the max every time. You can even break this time up into 30 minute time frames.

4. Skin – before you bath or shower use a loofah or brush and spend 10 minutes moving in a gentle upward motion. From toes to thighs, fingers to upper arms, belly to back – avoid the face. After bathing use coconut or olive oil with a couple drops of rosemary or sage to enhance circulation and detoxification.

5. Mind – you must cleanse your mind as well. Meditate, pray, use mindfulness, yoga, belly breathing, or even petting your pet for at least 30 minutes a day in order to clear your mind and declutter the stressful thoughts.
Now you are ready for summer! Detoxification of the body, mind and soul is a good way to start out the season with a clean slate. Remember you should always try to eat healthy and avoid most of those listed in step 2.

Do you need help with designing a healthy lifestyle? Want more information on nutrition, fitness, well-being or health? If so contact me today, I can help!

Click here to visit my website for more information, remember to look through all the tabs but be sure to go to the health lounge for some great information on foods, recipes, nutrition, and health. Follow my blog so that you can stay up to date with each new blog that gets posted. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Sign up for my monthly newsletter.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design. For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at: Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at: http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

Not So Secrets to Avoid Winter Weight Gain

avoid-winter-weight-gainThe majority of people will put on a little weight during the colder months sometimes out of boredom or because of impulse. The more organized you are with meals the less likely you will be to put on weight. The best way to be organized is to plan ahead. One way to avoid impulsive meals is to use recipes that are healthy and cook up lots of meals and freeze them.

You should cook from home at least 85-90 % of the time so that you can control what goes into your recipe. This is the one of the most beneficial ways to keep weight management easy, when you hand control over to someone else, such as a restaurant or fast food, then you don’t have the ability to eat healthy or choose what ingredients are used in your food. When cooking at home you also have the ability to cook extra so that you will have something healthy to eat at work as well. Get creative and find recipes that not only are healthy but are also different.

You can also substitute things like soup instead salad. It’s nice to have something warm during those colder months and you can fill yourself up with actual calories in order to keep hunger at bay. You can cook healthy vegetable soup and put them in containers to freeze for use with other meals or for lunches. You can add things like barley and bok choy for an added hearty taste and a quick meal. Again get creative, experiment a little by trying clear broth, lentil or vegetable. Don’t want to eat to warm up try a little herbal tea instead.

Colder weather also makes us form bad habits not just with food but also with exercise. No one wants to go out in the cold, snow or rainy weather but in order to help with weight management it is best to stay with moderate activity on a daily basis with a day off each week. It also helps to change up your workouts daily – don’t work out the same part of the body each day. There are ways to exercise at home without going out into the cold, get a yoga or workout video, get a jump rope and a place you can use it in the house, a bar for pull-ups, a workout station with a bench or a treadmill or other equipment that is similar. If you don’t mind going out in the cold but don’t want to run in, invest in a gym membership only if you’re to use it!

If you are planning on going out to a restaurant with friends or coworkers then plan ahead for the meal. Look into the restaurant’s menu and see what meals they offer and if they offer a healthy choices. If you are a meat eater, you may select grilled fish, or lean steak or broiled/boiled chicken and don’t get any potatoes, try to substitute potatoes with vegetables or brown rice. Drink water instead of diet pop or beer, it will help to fill you up. The biggest deal is to remember portion control as sometimes restaurants increase you portion sizes.

Are you in need of creating a healthier lifestyle? Do you need to find out more information about nutrition and healthy choices? Do you want more information about fitness? If so, contact me today, I can help!

Click here to visit my website and learn more information in the health lounge. Follow my blog and get caught up whenever a new one comes out. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design. For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at: Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at: http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

23 Ways To Be More Fit While Sitting At Work Part 4

postureYou know that exercise is important but you work long hours sitting at a desk and just don’t have the time or energy to workout afterwards. You know that this is really an excuse and not a good one. Exercise itself means to be “in active operations” or “physical activity” and our bodies were not made to sit for prolonged periods of time. It just isn’t good for you. It creates back pain, headaches, listlessness, and can weaken your body’s muscles when they are being active.

I have been posting 23 ways of exercising while at work the first one was about cardio and was posted on Friday, the second on strength building posted on Monday, the third on stretching posted on Tuesday and I hope that if any of you know of ones that I may have missed you will leave me a comment so that I can add them. Give me your thoughts, suggestions and yes, workouts, if you have them while sitting at a desk 8-12 hours a day.

Today is a way to bring it all in and finish out this series.

Here are the last of them:

1. Do some invisible exercises – women can do kegels by tightening, holding and loosening their pelvic floor muscles. This helps to keep those muscles tight and prevents leakage.

2. Butt clenches – this can be done by tightening your buttocks, holding and relax. Do this 15 times.

3. Ab clenches – tighten tummy muscles and holding then relax. Do this 15 times.

Using every muscle in your body actively helps to keep it healthy. Here are some other helpful tips:

1. Walk during your lunch breaks – if you’re bored take a camera and get some great shots of the scenery. If you buy a pedometer it will count how many steps that you walk each day, the goal is trying to get to 10,000 steps a day.

2. Join a gym – if there is a gym near your office go there during your lunch breaks, if you are lucky enough to have a fitness room at your place of work, use it!

3. Don’t email – if you are emailing someone who sits in the next office or even down the hall – don’t. Get up and walk the distance.

4. Vending machines – walking to a vending machine doesn’t count as your activity; remember to climb a few stairs or walk during your break to get rid of those calories from the vending machine.

Create reminders on your phone, computer, calendars, a sticky note or an email. Don’t feel embarrassed about trying to find time for fitness while at work, if anything have others around you do these workouts with you. Find a walker buddy or a breaktime buddy that will do the same exercises as you or go to the gym with you.

If you missed the beginning parts of the series on cardio, strength building, and stretching please click the links. Again please leave a comment if there are any exercises that you may do or can be done at work for cardio and strength building in a minute or two.

Are you looking for a way to have a better plan for your lifestyle design? I can help, so contact me today.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design. For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at: Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at: http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.

23 Ways To Be More Fit While Sitting At Work Part 3

stretchingYou know that exercise is important but you work long hours sitting at a desk and just don’t have the time or energy to workout afterwards. You know that this is really an excuse and not a good one. Exercise itself means to be “in active operations” or “physical activity” and our bodies were not made to sit for prolonged periods of time. It just isn’t good for you. It creates back pain, headaches, listlessness, and can weaken your body’s muscles when they are being active.

My previous two posts introduced short bursts of cardio and strength building that can be done while at work. Today I will bring you some exercises that involve stretching while sitting at your desk. These are for everyone no matter what because stretching is important. There are ways to work out while at work to help find 30 minutes at least 5 days a week for some moderate activity.

I am posting 23 ways of exercising while at work the first one was about cardio and was posted on Friday and the second on strength building was posted on Monday and I hope that if any of you know of ones that I may have missed you will leave me a comment so that I can add them. Give me your thoughts, suggestions and yes, workouts, if you have them while sitting at a desk 8-12 hours a day.

Here are the first few of them that involve stretching:

1. Reach for the stars – sit tall in your chair and stretch both arms over your head while reaching for the stars, after 10 seconds extend the right hand higher and then the left.

2. Head loll – let your head loll over so that your ear touches your shoulder then gently use your hand to press your head lower. Hold it for 10 seconds and then switch sides.

3. Yoga – this yoga posture will help to relieve tension. While sitting facing forward turn your head to one side while turning your torso to the opposite side, hold a few seconds and repeat. Do this 15 times and switch sides.

4. Sit up straight – try to touch your shoulder blades together and hold it a few seconds then relax.

5. Put your feet up – push your chair away from your desk so that you can put the heel of one foot up, sit up straight, bend forward until you feel the gentle stretch in the back of your leg, flex your foot for a few seconds then point it, bend a little farther again and flex your foot again and hold for 10 seconds, switch legs and repeat steps.

Come back on Wednesday for the last part of the series and if you missed the first part on cardio or the second part on strength building please click the links. Again please leave a comment if there are any exercises that you may do or can be done at work for cardio and strength building in a minute or two.

Are you looking for a way to have a better plan for your lifestyle design? I can help, so contact me today.

Mavis Kelley, CHHC, AADP is a Certified Integrative Health and Wellness Life Coach specializing in nutrition, health, well-being, fitness and lifestyle design. For more information or to schedule a breakthrough session, please contact her at: Mavis@nspirehealthyliving.net or visit her website at: http://NspireHealthyLiving.com.