Is multi-tasking making you stressed out?  

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Words by Jelena Savic

We live in a society where we all seem to be in a rush trying to complete tasks, juggle family demands, carry out work commitments and find time for a social life. The danger is that multi-tasking can trigger stress in the body with symptoms including fatigue, anxiety, insomnia, digestive problems and impaired thinking. The good news is that a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can help. Naturopath, Jelena Savic, shares her tips on how.

The link between stress and our hormones

Stress is a major trigger for adrenaline and cortisol production. As these hormones give us the energy and drive to get things done, we need to understand why stress management is so important.
Cortisol plays a vital role in regulating many of the changes that occur in the body's response to stress. However, continuous long-term production of these ‘stress hormones’ can cause adrenal fatigue and associated symptoms including tiredness, anxiety, nervousness, insomnia and impaired cognitive performance.

Over production of cortisol can also tax our immune system and its ability to ward off disease, making us more susceptible to catching a cold and feeling generally unwell.

Furthermore, the close connection between our brain and gut health means that stress can also interfere with our basic digestive processes causing bloating, burping, indigestion, irregular bowel movements and reduced nutrient absorption.

Food for thought

  • Don’t forget lunch. When it comes to meal planning, most families have breakfast and dinners sorted but overlook lunch. Try to prepare meals ahead of time and create simple lunches with your dinner planning. One-pot meals are great as you can cook extra and save in the freezer for re-heating when needed.

  • Stock up on healthy snacks. Make sure you have nutritious snacks available –such as fruit, nuts, seeds, protein bars and shakes – to help regulate your blood sugar levels, keep you energy levels up and keep you mentally engaged.

Supplements & herbs for stress management

  • Magnesium – is an important mineral for supporting our nervous, cardiovascular and musculoskeletal systems, magnesium helps to reduce stress, anxiety, nervousness and sleeplessness. However, research has shown that magnesium intake in people consuming Western diets are, on average, 30%–50% lower than the recommended daily allowance. Stress, sweating and medications can also reduce magnesium in the body – meaning that many of us can’t seem to get enough magnesium from food alone to support our needs. 

  • B-complex vitamins – are essential for giving us the physical and mental energy we need throughout the day.

  • Passionflower, kava and lemon balm – have a calming and relaxing effect on the mind and body.

  • Rhemannia and licorice – support our adrenals and help reduce the susceptibility to exhaustion that comes with adrenal fatigue. 

  • Schisandra, rhodiola and withania – classified as ‘adaptogenic herbs’ that help us adapt to external and internal stresses, these herbs help reduce that over-whelming feeling we can all get at times. 

Lifestyle tips for reducing stress

  • Make ‘me time’. Try finding that a time and place for you to take time out for yourself every day – even if it’s just for 10 minutes it will make a difference. 

  • Know what relaxes you. Whether its listening to music, going for a walk with your dog, a swim in the ocean, meditating, dancing, knitting or creating a to-do list to manage everything on your plate, make sure you know and implement what helps you the most during stressful times. 

  • Avoid multi-tasking. Remember that although jumping from task-to-task may give you a false sense of accomplishment, human brains weren’t built to multitask. By concentrating on one goal at a time, you’ll be better able to achieve all your goals, and probably in the same amount (or even less) – and without as much stress.

Talk to our qualified health practitioners in-store for expert advice on stress management.


About the author - Jelena Savic

Jelena Savic is a qualified naturopath with more than 10 years' experience in the health, wellness and fitness industry working in both retail and clinic environments. 

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