Quick “What is Stress?” Checklist
Stress is caused by a cascade of multiple interactions on the mind and body. Each of the below actions or events stimulates the release of the stress hormones in your body*.
- Sleeping 7 hours versus 8 hours every night
- Exercising 2 or more hours a day
- Working most weekends
- Eating mainly vegetables, fruits and grains
- Drinking more than 3 coffees a day
- A wedding or other exciting events
- A funeral or other traumatic events
- A fight with your spouse
- Walking inside a warm room after being outside on a cold winter day
- Worrying about what others think of you
- A divorce or breakup
- A cold or flu
Signs of Stress
- Check this list to find out if your stress levels might be affecting your health*.
- I wake up frequently between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 a.m.
- I wake up tired, even though I have slept many hours
- I get overwhelmed, irritable or anxious easily
- I am not motivated to do anything; I just want to be left alone
- I get light-headed on standing
- I have a hard time relaxing even when even I am done work
- I am gaining weight around my abdominal area despite a good diet and exercise program
- I have frequent joint pain or inflammation for no apparent reason
- I have alternating constipation and diarrhea without changing my diet
- My eyes have become sensitive to light
- I get more frequent colds and flu, and they take longer to resolve
Life can be stressful, but the good news is that we don’t have to accept chronic stress as part of everyday life. Instead, refer to this list so you can conquer stress before it conquers you.
Your Relaxation To-Do List
- Stabilize blood sugars with balanced protein to carbohydrates at each meal. The body requires 1 gram of protein per kilogram of body weight divided through 3 meals.
- Sleep 8 hours a night. You can ensure a deep stage 4 sleep by supplementing with melatonin.
- Book a massage or acupuncture session.
- Use lavender oil. Put some on your pillow at night or under your nose to reduce cortisol secretion at night. Burn a lavender candle or breathe the scent of lavender during the day for stress hormone reduction.
- Power down. Turn off your computer and cell phone in the evening and during the weekend as much as possible.
- Practice yoga, deep breathing or meditation.
- Exercise. Try to ensure 30 to 45 minutes 3 to 4 times a week. This can take the form of a brisk walk in your neighbourhood if that's all that time allows.
- Have fun. Schedule time out with friends and family, away from work and responsibilities.
- Learn to say NO. Curb your “to do list” and do not take on too many things, even if they are fun things. The body needs time to rest and restore itself.
*Penny Kendall-Reed, BSc, ND & Dr. Stephen Reed, MD, FRCSC. (2004). The Complete Doctor's Stress Solution.