There are only 24 hours in a day!
In general, stress is a reaction in the human body to external or internal demands. Men and women can be equally affected by stress in their everyday lives because both are subjected to many different demands at work and at home, but also during their leisure time.
The constant pressure to meet deadlines and deliver a top performance with the associated information overload and the need to remain reachable at all times is experienced as especially demanding. In addition to this, there are numerous other stress factors such as environmental stress, a hectic lifestyle, being overworked, and much more. Dual burdens owing to professional and private demands such as housework, raising children and caring for relatives are an immense strain. The individual stress phases follow on after one another without a break. With well-known consequences: tiredness, exhaustion, a lack of vitality, nervousness and fatigue.
When stress becomes a strain
In general, a physical stress reaction is positive when it comes to facing everyday challenges. The release of stress hormones boosts concentration and physical performance. This is called “eustress” and can motivate a person and enable them to deliver top performance for a short period of time. However, if the stress continues for a long time and if the body does not have any time for regeneration, then challenges rapidly become a strain and the stress is perceived in a negative light. This negative stress – also called “distress” – can lead to sustained tiredness, exhaustion and a lack of vitality, for example. Stress symptoms should therefore not be taken lightly and you should respond to your body’s signals.
Everyday stress – what happens inside your body?
Stress triggers a multitude of physical reactions in which hormones are released which lead to the following changes:
The breathing rate increases and the bronchial tubes expand in order to intake a sufficient amount of oxygen. The muscular system is under strain. Pulse and blood pressure rise, and the heart is forced to increase its pumping rate. An increased amount of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol are released. Digestion and bowel movements, on the other hand, are restricted, as the body does not have sufficient energy reserves for such “unimportant” work. If on repeated occasions this is not followed by a relaxation phase, the situation turns into what is called “permanent stress”. Relaxation, a moderate amount of exercise and a balanced diet with sufficient micronutrients help the body to replenish its reserves and regenerate itself.
The right nutrition for stress
If you suffer from stress, you often feel tired and exhausted and should therefore pay special attention to your supply of micronutrients. As the majority of micronutrients cannot be produced by the body, they must be consumed through food. However, our bodies are not always given what they need. Many people also react to stress situations by adopting unfavourable behaviour, such as by eating unhealthy food, not exercising, and consuming alcohol and nicotine. But at times like these it is particularly important for the organism to receive specific micronutrients, for more vitality in everyday life. Especially the B-complex vitamins and the mineral magnesium are needed for energy metabolism and the function of the nervous system, and they also help to reduce tiredness and exhaustion. Vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, vitamin C, niacin, biotin, magnesium, copper and iodine help the nervous system to function normally.
A combination of specifically balanced micronutrients can supplement the diet particularly in stress situations.
Relax and unwind
In our fast-paced everyday life, relaxation rituals can help to counteract stress. The following tips can increase your ability to deal with stress situations in the future:
- Plan your mealtimes into your daytime routine.
- Too much rushing around invariably means too little time for regular and healthy meals. Take time to enjoy your meals. Ideally, you should eat in peace and without any distractions.
- Even spending a short amount of time outside, such as going for a walk, cycling or hiking, is a good way to escape from the permanent strain and to allow your body to regenerate. A sufficient amount of daylight keeps your spirits up.
- Short breaks to catch your breath help to relax: stretch your arms and legs, tense your muscles and relax them again. Breathe in and out a few times and gather strength.
- At least once a month, plan one day into your schedule that is yours and yours alone, and spend that day doing whatever your heart desires.
- Examine your goals and wishes on a regular basis. Pay enough attention to your personal needs.
- End a hectic day on a calm note: a relaxing bath or a good book will help you to settle down in the evening. This will encourage you to sleep and relaxes your muscles.