Girl on swing - enjoymentIt has been several weeks since I wrote a blog post and I have been asking myself why? I like to write. It is one of my favourite things to do.  

But it is also, too much of the time, optional. At the least the kind of writing I like to do is optional, meaning I do not have to do it in order to make my living. So clearly, I must be busy and stressed if I cannot find the energy to write.

But if writing gives me joy, then isn’t this exactly what I should be doing in my downtime (I not even sure when downtime is as it seems to be never).

I am sure this is how most of you feel, no matter what it is you like to do for enjoyment – it always seems to take a back seat and that is just the nature of the stressful lives we all seem to be living.

Does this sound like you? You get up every morning whether you want to or not. The minute you step out of bed, your day is planned with deadlines and timelines you must hit or the whole day falls apart. It does not matter whether you work from home or at a separate location – there is always something you must be doing. This can take, and is taking a toll on all of us and it is affecting our health.

But do most people realise this?

Yes, according to a study released by the Canadian Health Food Association. 67% of Canadians feel that their work causes stress, 59% feel that it affects their health and 63% feel that is it affects other areas of their life in a negative manner.

Apparently, we are not only bringing our work home with us, we are bringing the stress of the workplace, too. I am not sure what this means for those of us who work primarily from our home like I do. Except for when I teach or have an event, all my work is done from home. On the one hand that saves the stress of a commute. However, it also means that the stress can’t be left at the office. Let’s face it – work is work and no matter what you do or where you do it – there can be enormous pressure. Plus there is also all the other stressors such as family issues, health, traffic and everything  else that can overwhelm us.  

Stress has been linked to all major health conditions from heart issues, depression, cancer and IBS, to fatigue, weight issues (both too much and too little) and more. Even the stress of worrying about being stressed is not good for us.

And now we know that stress also adversely affects our gut health which we know has been connected to all health conditions. I wonder how many people have been following restrictive diets to help with gut health issues when what they really need is a vacation. I know many people (and I mean many) who react to foods but not when they are on vacation. Then they can eat whatever they like.

Hmmm… what does that tell us?

Now I know that this is not true for everyone but it does indicate that stress can effect us in many ways that we may not be aware of.

The good news the public has got the message that stress is bad for health.

The CHFA has created the Natural Guide to Workplace Wellness which has articles for natural methods to cope with stress. Check it out. Needless to say, one of the suggestions involved probiotics and fermented foods.

These suggestions may not resolve the cause of the stress but they can definitely lower the impact that stress has on the body by providing more that the body can work with to help maintain itself.  

What I would like to suggest is that we carve out time to be good to ourselves. We should be doing more of the things we like and love, whenever we can. This allows us to escape of our stress temporarily, calming our adrenals glands and lowering the wear and tear that stress can cause physically. It gives us joy and makes us feel good. It is a shame that we have to make ourselves do this and that this is not part of the lifestyle but once we make it a habit, may be it will be.

And in the meantime, do not stress out about being stressed.