Thursday, January 26, 2012

Effects of Stress on the Mind & Body

At some point over the next few months I will have something ANYTHING else to talk about besides stress and graduate school. Until that happens, I wanted to tackle the topic of stress (or emotional) eating. Last semester, I maintained a very steady diet, exercised on a regular basis, and felt pretty relaxed. This semester, however, is jam packed with lists, projects, papers, several book reviews, scheduling, work, and balancing the delicate topic of finances. I have had SEVERAL weird things going on with me both mentally and physically because of the stress. Usually, I am a champ at this kind of thing but since I had no real idea that I was stressed until my body told me, I wasn't able to prepare; hence bad habits occurring more often than not.

I. Anxiety:
Noun: A feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.Desire to do something, typically accompanied by unease.

II. Stress/Emotional Eating:
A coping mechanism for dealing with negative emotions. Instead of facing the causes of stress, anger, sadness or anxiety directly, you soothe or comfort yourself with food. (Source)

III. Insomnia:
Noun: Habitual sleeplessness; inability to sleep.

Sounds like a healthy bunch of habits I have going, right? Well, what they NEED to be are:

I. Minimum seven hours of sleep. Minimum.
II. Organizing easy breakfasts, lunches, and dinner that I can "grab and go" for the long days at work and school. These should be vegetable, fruit, and protein heavy with a commitment to consuming fewer cards and less sodium and sugar.
III. Physical activity on a daily basis. This can be a walk during lunch, serious gym time, or yoga at home.  

The fact is that I am not valuing myself nor am I taking proper care of myself. I waste time online, eat food because I am stressed out or bored and absolutely not hungry, and I am always expecting the worst, especially at work. The other fact is that my new schedule has been in place for almost three weeks and it is time to say enough is enough. I am letting myself have this week to be PMS-ing and upset, and then get my sh*t together. Every month for the next three months I have significant things to look forward to so I really just need to get over the drama and get myself "straight." If I say it here, it must be true! (err...right?)

Articles about some of the issues above:
Stop Stress Eating-Food & Diet
Weight-loss help: Gain Control of Emotional Eating
Put a Stop to Your Anxiety with These 8 Simple Tips


  1. I struggle with the same things and you are so cognizant of what your triggers are that is really amazing-most people don't. One of the things that has helped me just to start getting the physiological stuff in order was to take some herbal sleep stuff. Melatonin and Calm Forte by Hyland's helped. The sleep portion is so important especially when you are as busy as you are!

    After the big D I was so out of it-depression, anxiety big time. I went on Setraline (zoloft) for depression and Zanax for panic attacks and anxiety. For 8 wks I felt great until I didn't again. I realized that exercise, and embracing imperfection (all the time), and being centered on me first was way better than any medications. You are so busy and you sound like you have it all under control. Those little things you do are to help you cope for a bit, but you are so driven you always get out of the funks:) Way to go! Kudos to you:)

  2. Such sweet words, thanks Kat. By this point in life, I know what my triggers are but that doesn't always mean I can stop them! Definitely being aware is one step in the right direction.

    Sounds like you are feeling good and back on the right track which is great! When we prioritize our own sanity and health, it makes such a huge, huge difference.