HEY WESTERN OVERACHIEVER
5 Eastern Medicine Tips To Destress & Find Balance
Calling all workaholics: Are you a high-strung young professional who sets insane expectations for yourself both in your career and personal life? You know who you are, and we’re talking to you.
Did you know that strokes are on the rise in younger adults? It might seem too crazy to be true, but it’s a fact, and it’s not always a result of bad health. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Overworking your body increases stress, which can lead to strokes in young, fit people.
But don’t let that stress you out! Take a deep breath and read on to learn how you can lead a healthier life by achieving balance.
A Bit of Background on What Causes Strokes in Young People
The typical demographic you’d expect to suffer from ischemic strokes are seniors 65 and older, but new studies are showing that strokes are more common in millennials and gen Zers in their 20s and 30s than previous generations.
It’s easy to exclude yourself as someone “at risk” of a stroke when you’re young, but that’s simply not the case anymore. So that you’re up to date on the facts, here are two factors that can cause strokes in people you’d likely consider to be “overachievers”:
- High-intensity exercise: If you or your family have a history of heart disease, then it’s possible to overdose on exercise. That’s not to say a 45-minute workout is bad, but if you’re constantly maxing out your body, it can become unhealthy very quickly.
- Long-term job stress: Another less-shocking cause of stroke is job stress. A study found that “job strain” (i.e. when you have a very demanding job and zero control over it) can increase your risk of diabetes by 45%. Over time, it can even cause high blood pressure and insomnia, which all can lead to a stroke.
How to Maintain Your Busy Life and Strike a Healthy Balance
No one’s asking you to bite off less than you can chew, but there are some ways you can step back from your responsibilities and, well, relax. Here are just a few tips to keep in mind so you keep your sanity and lead a long, healthy career:
1. Learn to Release Stress from Your Body
Before you can learn to release stress, you need to know how your body deals it in the first place. Here’s a list of typical areas of your body where you may feel stress and tension:
- Your jaw, neck, or face
- Your shoulders and chest
- Your diaphragm and lungs
- Your gut and stomach
- Your pelvis and hips
For example, many people clench their teeth and feel the tension caused by stress in their jawline. The tension may be especially noticeable if you’re feeling the Sunday blues the night before your work week kicks off.
To decompress, look up stretch routines or easy massages you can apply on your own to help release that tension. Gua Sha for your face and neck can be helpful, while Tai Chi can work wonders for the rest of you. Then, use your senses to help you relieve the stress as well. For example, some people listen to music to melt away stress, while others love to sit in complete silence. Find your natural “destressors” and wield them when you’re feeling the onset of tension.
2. Start Using Supplements
Supplements are excellent sources of nutrients, so it’s worth your while to look into them, especially those that help your body decompress. Pro Tip – increase your intake of these in your diet, too.
- Vitamin E: This is an antioxidant that reduces stress and anxiety. The average supplement dose is taken once a day.
- Bacopa and fish oil: You’ll want to take these together with food, as bacopa is fat-soluble and more effective when eaten with fats. Specifically, fish oil mixed with bacopa can reduce stress.
- Chamomile and lavender: This combo is known to reduce anxiety and stress, and they’re typically consumed as a tea.
- Ashwagandha: This 3,000-year old remedy is well known for reducing stress and anxiety. To get the benefits, just take one 500 – 600 mg pill a day.
- Cacao Elixer Blend: Brew a cup of calm with earthy, sweet spices and stress-supporting botanicals, featuring raw Cacao and adaptogenic Reishi, the “Queen of Mushrooms”, whose Chinese name Ling Zhi represents spirit and longevity.
3. Try Cross Training to Give Your Muscles a Break
Cross training is beneficial for athletes of all levels. It works like this: If you’re a runner, you probably run anywhere from three to five times a week (or more). That’s all well and good, especially if you’re training for a race.
But, you could cause unnecessary strain and long-term damage in your legs over a protracted period of time. The workaround is to start cross training.
Cross training allows you to work out other muscles in your body that will benefit your overall fitness. With the runner example in mind, one way to cross train is to cycle or swim two to three times a week. This takes the pressure off your legs and allows you to work out other muscles in your core and legs.
The same goes to weight lifters, who usually don’t get enough cardio. A great way to cross train might be to start running, or to look into high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Basically, you want to invest your energy into other types of workouts so that you diversify and don’t max out your body.
4. Try Walking Around Barefoot or “Earthing”
Yeah, it may sound a bit “hippie,” but the soles of your feet contain lots of meridians that run throughout your body. Plus, there’s real health benefits to earthing, like better sleep and reduced pain; there’s also evidence that the earth’s electrons set our biological clocks for hormones that regulate sleep and activity.
Other studies have also shown that earthing can reduce overall stress, so it’s definitely worth your while to take a stroll in the grass and decompress after an intense workout or just a tough day in the office.
5. Try TCM Herbal Treatments for Stress
There are a few key herbal remedies to try that are believed to reduce stress levels. They are:
- Xiao Yao Wan: This herbal blend has been passed down in TCM for centuries and is known to reduce stress, improve your mood, and ease digestion.
- Cu Wu Jia: This herbal concoction is actually recommended for people with stressful jobs, as it supports sleep and strengthens the immune system.
- Dong Chong Xia Cao: TCM practitioners claim that this herbal concoction fights fatigue and strengthens the immune system.
Herbal remedies like these will help your body better cope with stress, but be sure to speak with your TCM specialist before taking them.
Have any other tips to decrease stress? Let us know in the comments!