Pharmacist’s advice and 7 steps to learn stress management

To a greater or lesser extent, everyone experiences stress on a daily basis. Stress can be useful – to help focus on active behavior, to mobilize internal resources to achieve the best possible result, for example, in sports or some other important test. However, anxiety about the war, economic and financial difficulties, uncertainty about the future, illnesses, even everyday failures add up to a considerable amount of stress that many feel during these winter months. And too much stress tends to have the opposite effect and, if experienced in the long term, can cause significant health damage.

“Please suggest some stress reliever, this is our daily life now. Often, along with stress, pharmacy customers also mention symptoms that reduce the quality of life and only increase stress even more. These include, for example, the inability to concentrate and fall asleep or sleep well, anxiety, mood swings with a tendency to intemperance, impatience, anger, headaches or back pain. However, in order to offer a person something that could help, it is important to find out more,” says the pharmacist of “Moon Pharmacy” Victoria Skuryate.

Anatomy of stress

What exactly is stress? “It is the body’s response to any irritant or stressor. So – when we encounter a stressor, a response occurs in the body, which we feel as tension or stress. In such a situation, the adrenal gland produces stress hormones – cortisol and noradrenaline. Noradrenaline causes anxiety, overexcitability, and increases blood pressure. Cortisol, on the other hand, causes the heart to beat faster, for example. If at the moment of acute stress it is not a bad thing – the body mobilizes, then in the long term, due to chronic stress, an increased level of stress hormones can cause serious health problems, such as cardiovascular diseases, high blood pressure, gastrointestinal disorders, weaken the body’s immune response, promote depression. It goes without saying that chronic stress is not only undesirable, but even dangerous to health,” explains the pharmacist.

Stress hits the weak spot

The human body is a complex mechanism of interconnected, interacting organ systems. “Each of us also has a haunted place in the body that is likely to feel the negative effects of stress first. It is important to be aware of the effects of stress and the health problems it can cause, so as not to resort to “treating” the symptoms while ignoring the true cause of their occurrence.”

Here’s what research reveals about the problems chronic stress can cause!

In the cardiovascular system, it can cause arrhythmia, increased blood pressure, tachycardia, heart attack, risk of developing atherosclerosis.

Nervous System – Dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping, low energy, fatigue.

Brain function and mental health – memory and/or concentration problems, reduced attention, anxiety, depression.

Digestive system – loss of appetite, bowel movements, heartburn or even stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome.

And that’s not all – long-term stress can also reduce sex drive and potency in men, while in women of childbearing age, it can affect the menstrual cycle and the course of menstruation, as a result of stress, skin diseases such as psoriasis may appear or worsen. It has also been established that prolonged stress can increase the risk of type 2 diabetes.

SOS – I need help!

“Sometimes a person may not even notice that stress has taken over everyday life, and find himself only when he is acutely aware: he needs help. Often the first step is to go to the pharmacy. However, it should be taken into account that the health problems caused by long-term, chronic stress cannot be solved with a miracle pill. A doctor’s consultation, an assessment of the state of health and disorders caused by stress, as well as an individual therapy plan are required. It may also be worth seeing a psychologist or psychotherapist.

If the stress is acute, the pharmacist can recommend over-the-counter remedies. You can use, for example, a food supplement containing B vitamins and magnesium to stabilize the nervous system and prevent muscle cramps. The nervous system can also be helped by herbal preparations with a calming effect, which contain, for example, extracts of valerian, passionflower, mint, hawthorn or lemon balm. Herbal teas and special drug mixtures can also be helpful. You can try using a melatonin-containing product to help you fall asleep. However, in my opinion, the most important thing is to realize that chronic stress can really have a negative effect on health, and not let it rule your life,” says Victoria Skuryate and reminds of simple ways to deal with stress.

7 steps to mastering stress management

  1. Prioritize. Chaotic “tossing” from one job to another, trying to do the impossible, will only add to the stress. There are no superhumans! If you feel that someone is really successful, it is probably due to the ability to prioritize, plan time and define an outcome to be satisfied with.
  2. Remember – you will not be able to drown stress in alcohol!
  3. it’s not going to be cured by addictive substances. Even if a glass of wine seems to make you feel better, the feeling can be even worse afterwards. In addition, alcohol consumption can further aggravate existing symptoms and present health problems.
  4. Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine and spend time outdoors. It will balance the mental and physical load, allowing energy exchange to take place in the body, will also divert thoughts from problems that have caused stress, and promote the development of feel-good hormones. Go for long walks! Being alone is sometimes hard to discipline yourself, so it’s not a bad thing to find a companion. Being outdoors, like physical activity, has been researched to both lower stress levels and improve mood.
  5. Allow enough time for healthy sleep. Take care to observe sleep hygiene – always go to bed at the same time, so that the room is dark, cool and the bed is comfortable. Before going to sleep, you should not use smart devices, watch films that excite the nervous system, depicting aggression, or listen to loud, “heavy”, energetic music.
  6. Get serious about perfecting your menu. Make sure you get enough fruits, vegetables, fiber on a daily basis, reduce white flour products, replacing them with whole grain products. Choose products carefully, researching whether they contain too much sugar or salt. Remember that coffee, black tea and other caffeinated drinks, carbonated, sweetened drinks can also be arousing.
  7. Do what works and makes you happy. If you’ve neglected your passion, pick it up again! Hobbies help to shift attention, develop talent, raise self-esteem, do not create unnecessary stress about the result, but provide satisfaction and positive emotions. They can also be obtained, for example, by doing charity work, helping at an animal shelter.
  8. Meet or communicate more often with people who are near and dear to you, whom you can trust. Indulge in sincere conversations! Ask for help when you feel you need it, and lend your support when someone you care about needs it.
  9. Pharmacist Victoria Skuryate urges: “Take care of both your mental and physical health! Go to the doctor in time if there is apathy, insomnia or quite the opposite – on a sleepy day, if you feel weak, you often get sick. At least once a year, blood tests are performed to find out the general picture of the blood, sugar level, hemoglobin. It would be great to check whether the body lacks any trace elements, check the hormonal system, thyroid gland. Then the doctor can evaluate what vitamins, trace elements or perhaps medications to recommend to improve health. It is also possible to determine what is not desirable in addition. Correct use of missing microelements, vitamin supplements can significantly improve well-being, sleep quality, energy exchange, as a result of which both the stress level in the body and health problems caused by stress can decrease.”
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