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Stress and Why Self Care is Essential

March 6, 2018



Work hard, play hard. Sleep when you’re dead - It’s the message we now live by. All day, every day we trudge the 9-5 slog and live for the weekend. Hard work is no longer about making the most of your time, but rather working for longer hours. Let’s face it, having a real 9-5 job is a luxury at this point. But where’s the ‘off switch’? When do we get to unplug? In this day and age, when we are so chronically stressed and overworked, self-care is more important than ever. In fact, it’s no longer an indulgence - self-care is essential.


What is stress?

The official definition follows that stress is ‘a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.’ We face stresses every day in different forms: pressure to pay the bills, skipping meals, exercise, meeting deadlines, preparing presentations. All of these are stressors.


Stress can be positive or negative. For example, when you perform HIIT training, you ramp up the intensity of your training which creates an adaptation. As a result, you get fitter and your body composition changes. However, the poison is in the dose. While a positive stress will create a positive adaptation, ongoing chronic unrelenting stress will only serve to exhaust your body.


How do we deal with stress?

Your nervous system has two arms: sympathetic and parasympathetic. The sympathetic system is the one that kicks in when you face a stressor and it initiates something called the ‘fight or flight’ response. As the name suggests, the idea is that your body reacts in such a way as to get you to either fight or run from the stressor. So when it kicks in, adrenaline rushes in, blood capillaries widen, pupils dilate etc. This was very useful back hundreds and thousands of years ago when we were faced the threat of attack from neighbouring villages or met a wolf in the woods. Today, the system is abused. Our stressors aren’t short and sharp, they are long and dragged out; we worry about things every day!  


Frequent stress can bring a lot of unwarranted problems including migraines, sleep apnea, anxiety, low energy, inability to deal with short term stress (because you mind is already so overwhelmed), ‘tired but wired’ feeling that can eventually result in total burnout.


Self care isn’t a luxury but a necessity

According to google, searches on self care have risen by 25% so it’s a great indication that at least we are becoming more aware of the need to practice ‘me time’. The idea behind self care goes far beyond just spoiling yourself with a beauty treatment. Switching off on a daily basis is a vital aspect of health in that it turns of the sympathetic system and helps to boost the parasympathetic system. This second arm focuses on relaxing the body. In this state, digestion and other processes work at their best as focus shifts to ensuring all the systems are working well (and not trying to deal with a potential life threat).


Self care in 2018.

Lucky for us, self care is set to be a trend in 2018. As a practice, this involves everyday healthy rituals that help keep your body and mind energised. The idea is so simple that it often goes ignored. The other problem concerns this whole image of ‘grind’ and ‘hustle’. It’s ok to work hard or even train hard, but you haven’t realise that the poison is in the dose. Bombarding your body day in and day out isn’t a good idea and it also brings you no value long term. So in short, don’t follow the crowd on this one. Instead, make make emotional self care as important as brushing your teeth daily!


You should practice self care for a number of reasons:

  • Self care prevents total burnout: You might have felt it before at some point in your life. Like for example after a serious deadline or exam when you just need to sleep and can’t focus for a few days afterward. Well imagine this feeling every day. In short, you never want to get to that point

  • Self care helps you refocus: Sometimes the best thing to do when you get stuck on a problem is to walk away and take a walk. Breaks are the epitome of self care. They help you refresh and refocus.


Self Care Ideas:

  • Going to bed early and getting a solid 8.5 hours of sleep a night

  • Eating a whole food, nutrient rich diet.

  • A weekly epsom salt bath ritual that gives your body a break from the constant stimulation of technology, a good sweat, and you sleep really well

  • Practicing meditation for 10 minutes per day with the help of an app like Headspace

  • Indulging in a spa facial or massage once a month

  • Enjoying a walk in nature on the weekend without any technology.

  • Journaling

  • Instead of beating your body up with HIIT, turning your attention back to practicing stretching and yoga daily as part of LISS (low intensity steady state) that we don’t do anywhere enough of.


These practices are crucial for finding peace of mind in uncertain times and bringing you back to the present day—something that everyone needs right now.


Self Care and Food:

There are a lot of nutrients in food that can help to support your body in managing stress. For those of us who face a lot of daily stress and anxiety, the following may help:

  • Antioxidants Vitamin C : being stressed takes up a lot of energy. It drains you of nutrients and vitamins so supporting with a good multivitamin is always a good idea.

  • Ashwagandha studied and used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

  • Rhodiola, another plant known for energy enhancement, to improve mood, and most critically, to reduce stress.

  • Valerian root, great especially when it comes to sleep.

  • B Complex - the B vitamins are involved in energy production and vital to support your body in improving cognitive performance and fighting fatigue.

  • Magnesium is a mineral that is involved in over 500 functions in the body.


Take the Thinking Out with 4 Weeks on Raw

As explained above, coping with stress is about taking a break from the ‘hustle’ from time to time. It’s about taking the time to remove some items from your to do list and to move away from this #beastmode mentality of always working harder. A simple way to free up your mind to focus is to remove the thought process when it comes to diet.


Imagine you had a plan where you knew you were getting the full variety of micronutrients, and  nourishing your body to better health. Imagine you only had to do one shopping trip per week and have all your meals planned out and ready to make. It sounds pretty awesome no?


On our 4 weeks on Raw, Yuuga delivers all of the above and much more. Use it as a reset plan for four weeks or incorporate into your diet for good. With these 52 recipes and meal plans, you really can’t go wrong!


Find all the detail here:  


So get out there and live with a little more self-care! Your body will thank you.


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