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STRESS: How to Navigate it so it Doesn’t Make Us Sick

There’s no denying that stress is a part of our everyday lives. In fact, according to the American Psychological Association, about 75% of adults in the U.S. report experiencing moderate to high levels of stress in their lives. While it’s normal for some amount of stress to be present in our lives, too much can have serious consequences on our physical and mental health. In this blog post, we’ll discuss what stress is, its effects on our health, and how to manage it so that we can stay healthy and happy.



Stresses here, stress is there, yes, it’s everywhere. When does stress go away, you might ask? WHEN WE DIE, that’s when. It’s a part of life. The trick is to navigate stress so that it doesn’t make us sick. 


Some of the things long-term stress can cause in the human body include high blood pressure, weight gain, digestive issues, hair loss, for sure, lowered sex drive, and decreased immune system. I met a woman telling me this week that her oncologist told her stress had caused her breast cancer. 


Stress isn’t something that we can take lightly. In addition, life isn’t very much fun when stress levels are running so high. 


Let me tell you about Debbie


She came to see me and she said, “Dr. Purcell, my life is running me. I have the best intentions each day, and then just like a steam roller, as soon as I open up my inbox, life starts coming at me and I just feel past. I forget to eat. I don’t drink water. And then it’s two o’clock and I’m starving. I grab any food that I can because it’s quick.”


She continued saying, “I ended up working late and then I overeat in the evenings. I feel so bloated. The heartburn kicks in and it interferes with my sleep. Then the whole cycle starts all over again because I wake up feeling tired.” 


Can you relate to that? I call it survival mode. I don’t want you to simply survive. I want you to THRIVE


And so, I worked with Debbie for three months. We put her in the center of her life. This means her life went around her and she didn’t run around chasing her life. She learned how to feed herself, how to prioritize her health, take time out and how to say no. 


After a while, she said to me, “Dr. Purcell, I feel more balanced. Things are good because I feel more in control and more confident. I haven’t felt this good in 10 years!”


What about you? Are you in the need of a stress intervention? 


Three main steps are needed to help you respond to stress.


  1. We have to recognize when we go into stress mode. You have to see it from the outside.  
  2. We have to rebalance our stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. 
  3. We have to build resilient resiliency in response to stress. 


First, we need to recognize when we go under stress. The faster, we recognize it, the quicker we can get out of it. You know that feeling when your heart starts pounding and your palms get all sweaty? Or maybe you get a little lightheaded and your voice starts shaking. That’s stress, and it’s our body’s way of telling us that we need to take a step back and chill out. 


Next is, rebalancing the stress hormones so that we can move from fight or flight mode into rest and digest mode. Stress is a part of life, but when it feels like you’re constantly in fight-or-flight mode, it’s time to take steps to rebalance your stress hormones. Supplementation can help to support your body in handling stress, and getting good quality sleep is essential for restoring balance.


Finally, we need to build resiliency to stress. We all know that stress is a part of life, but that doesn’t mean we have to like it. Chronic stress can lead to all sorts of health problems, both mental and physical. That’s why it’s important to build resiliency to stress. One way to do this is by following a good self-care program. This means taking steps every day to help you relax and manage your stress levels. It could involve things like exercise, meditation, journaling, or spending time in nature. Whatever works for you, the important thing is to make self-care a daily habit. 


Take C.A.R.E.


C – Clean eating. We all know the drill: an endless cycle of eating unhealthy foods, feeling terrible and then vowing to eat better – only to break our promise a few days (or hours) later. If you’re tired of yo-yo dieting and are ready to make a real change, it might be time to try clean eating. Clean eating is more than just a fad diet – it’s a lifestyle change that can help you feel your best. One of the best things about clean eating is that it’s not as restrictive as other diets. You don’t have to give up all of your favorite foods – you just need to be mindful of the ingredients you’re putting into your body. Make self-care a daily habit and commit to clean eating today.


A – Adequate sleep. Most people know that getting a good night’s sleep is important, but few realize just how essential it is to overall health and well-being. Sleep is crucial for the body to repair and recover from the rigors of the day, and inadequate sleep can lead to a host of health problems. In fact, research has shown that lack of sleep can have a detrimental impact on everything from cognitive function to mental health. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re getting enough shut-eye each night. While everyone’s sleep needs vary, most experts agree that seven to eight hours is a good general guideline. 


R – Recovery activities. There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned recovery activity to help you find your grounding. The more fun the better! Yoga and meditation are great for balancing out yin/yang energies in my opinion, but taking baths or drinking herbal tea will also do wonders. Some self-care activities that can help reduce stress include exercise, relaxation techniques, journaling, and spending time with family and friends. Taking time each day to do something that brings you joy can also help reduce stress and improve your overall well-being.


E – Exercise. There’s no doubt that exercise is good for you. It can help to improve your cardiovascular health, strengthen your muscles and bones, and boost your mood. But what many people don’t realize is that exercise can also be a form of self-care. Taking the time to move your body on a regular basis can help to reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase energy levels. And unlike some other forms of self-care (like getting a massage or taking a vacation), exercise doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. Just a few minutes of movement each day can make a big difference. 


The Four Count Breath


Deep breathing is one of the simplest ways to calm your heart rate and reset the nervous system and help you refocus. If you’re new to deep breathing, I recommend the four-count breath


  • Breathe in for a count of four.
  • Hold for a count of four. 
  • Breathe out for a count of four.
  • Do this four times.


Stress is a part of life, we all know that. But what you may not know is that how you manage stress can make a big difference in your overall health and well-being. That’s why I and my team focus on helping individuals learn how to navigate stress so it doesn’t become overwhelming or debilitating. For more specific and laser-focused guidance, contact us. Our team is here to help you achieve better health and balance in your life. Schedule a free discovery call today to discuss what goals you would like to achieve and let us help you get there!


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If you’re looking for a more natural way to manage your health, please contact us for a discovery call to see if our approach would be appropriate for your situation.





DISCLAIMER:  The information in this email is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content is for general informational purposes only and does not replace a consultation with your own doctor/health professional 

Dr. Andrea Purcell

A trusted and well-respected Naturopathic Doctor, Dr. Purcell has been in private practice for over twenty years. Dr. Purcell is a published author and has a women’s specialty practice for hormone balancing, weight loss, mystery illness, and gastro-intestinal concerns. Dr. Purcell assists her patients by identifying the underlying cause of disease and removing obstacles that impede the body's natural ability to heal. Drugs and surgery are used as a last resort. She believes that increasing health on the inside shines through to the outside.