Stress

stressStress occurs when we feel threatened or cannot cope with a situation.

Life is busy and it is important to take time out to deal with influences that may be causing the stress. Some things that make people feel stressed include:

  • traffic
  • crowds
  • technology
  • relationships
  • children
  • family
  • mobile phones
  • work deadlines
  • poor health
  • holidays and events such as Christmas.

While a little stress is beneficial, too much stress can impact on health and wellbeing.

Some women may perceive menopause and midlife as stressful experiences. There may be a sense that the person a woman knew herself to be before menopause has changed, and now she is not so sure of what to expect from either her body or her emotions.

What seemed to be a body that was controllable and reliable is now breaking out in a sweat at the most inconvenient times, or periods are irregular and unpredictable.

Coping with Stress

It is important to identify what makes you feel stressed and try and make changes to lessen the feelings of stress. Identify and challenge thoughts and influences that make you feel stressed.

Increase your activity, if possible. Walking is a particularly good way of alleviating stress because activity increases the flow of chemicals in the body called endorphins, which improve mood.

  • Get plenty of sleep
  • Eat regularly
  • Eat a balanced diet.

Eight simple stress busters

1. Have adequate rest.

Although the hours of sleep required by each individual may vary, it is important to have an adequate amount of quality sleep that is most suitable for you. Lack of sleep may lead to problems including reduced alertness, shortened attention span, slower than normal reaction time and poorer judgement and more, which may serve to heighten your stress levels.

2. Recreation

Take a break from your work or usual daily activity. Applying your mind to something other than your every day job or responsibilities provides an important mental break. Get up and move each hour. If your job requires you to sit for long periods, where possible do try to stand up and move around for a few minutes every hour to get your circulation going.

3. Slow down

Lighten up your load of social engagements where possible and give yourself a break. Each day make a list of things that you want to get done, put the actions in order of priority and simply cross off the last half.

4. Reduce work or school hours

Working longer is not necessarily more productive. Reduce the number of hours you spend at work or school where possible. Don’t forget to get up and move each hour if are sitting at a desk all day. Prioritise your activities and lighten your work load where possible.

5. Nutrition

Eat a tasty, healthy diet that includes plenty of vegetables, fruits, wholegrains and cereals. This maintains your blood sugar and promotes energy.

6. Reduce stimulants

Caffeine stimulates the sympathetic nervous system causing stress. There are many non-caffeinated, non-alcoholic beverages from which to choose. Decrease your caffeine intake by drinking more water or herbal teas.

7. Quit smoking

Smokers should consider quitting this habit. Nicotine also stimulates the sympathetic nervous system causing stress.

8. Share your thoughts

Try to discuss the causes of your stress with people who understand your situation. They may be able to help you develop coping strategies. Joining support groups or developing new interests may be beneficial.

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