Eustress and distress: Your body might not know the difference
There is a phenomenon known as eustress, which means good stress: marriage, childbirth, new job promotion, etc. Your body might not understand that this stress is good. Understanding that will help you to maintain your health through the good times.
I write this article right now because I am going through eustress. By definition, eustress is good stress, the kind that really motivates you and keeps you going. It generally happens during times of transition to better things. Maybe you got a huge promotion at work. Maybe a new baby has come into your life. Maybe you're moving into the house of your dreams. Or maybe, just maybe, all your dreams are coming true and strangers you've never met think you're a pretty good writer and you have just received your first publishing contract.
These are all examples of wonderful and perhaps long-waited-for events, but they are also events that can cause the body to go into overdrive. The body doesn't know the difference between distress (bad stress), and eustress (good stress).
This is important to know because disease, or dis-ease, is often rooted in stress and there are steps you can and should take to prevent this where possible.
There are times when that might not seem possible. With the birth of a new child, you can't exactly pick and choose when you sleep or nap. But you can make a conscious choice to take a little nap yourself and let the dishes sit for awhile if that is what you need to do.
The problem is that sometimes you've waited so long for the good things to happen that when they do, you think you're on easy street and life will be a breeze. That kind of thinking might cause you problems in the long run.
Here are some tips on dealing with either distress or eustress:
This is important! Try to get enough sleep. This amount will vary with age, activity, and other factors, but you probably know by now how much sleep your body requires. Sleep will help reboot your system and prepare you for another day in the trenches.
Cutting back on sugars and refined foods which tax your adrenals and can put you into fight or flight mode will also help. Try to eat thoughtfully.
In times of high stress, go outside for a walk. If you can't walk, just sit and breathe.
Try a gentle workout to stretch your muscles and release tension. Yoga and tai chi are great workouts.
Sometimes it helps to get out of the moment, good or bad, with a good book or a movie. Put on some Motown and dance like no one is watching. Work a jigsaw puzzle. Focus on something outside of you.
Drink a nice warm cup of chamomile tea. Smell some lavender. Eat some curry or something even spicier.
This may be difficult if you are a young mother or in a high-stress job, but try to find a few minutes every couple of hours to check out, close your eyes, and go on a mini-vacation in your mind. Visualize a cabin in the woods, a field of flowers or a secluded beach.
Call that one person that you know you can count on to make you laugh. Laughter is a great release!
Being prepared and understanding that even good stress is still stress will help you through the good and bad times.