We all get stressed. Whether we’re burnt out at work, worried about a difficult conversation, or overwhelmed by the uncertainty of the world, stress is an inevitability of modern life. Don’t worry, we’re not here to add more to your plate! But here’s what you need to know about stress – and some simple ways to help ease it.
What is stress?
Stress is a physical, emotional, or psychological state brought about by any kind of change. It’s the body's response to anything that requires attention, essentially asking you, “hey, did you notice this change? Is it okay with us? Do we need to do anything in response?”
Stress can be short- or long-term. While both can lead to a variety of symptoms, researchers have found that short-term stress can actually be beneficial to the body, as it can boost performance and sure up our immune system. Anxiety, too, when experienced in the short-term, is a valuable response to panic or danger, giving us an adrenaline hit when we experience a physical threat.
Long-term stress and anxiety, however, can be debilitating. It takes a serious toll on the body over time and can have long-lasting effects. Health problems associated with elevated stress levels include diabetes, heart disease, stomach problems, and disruptions to appetite and sleep.
Common stress symptoms include:
- Skin breakouts
- Excessive sweating
- Difficulty sleeping
- Digestive problems
- Feeling sick
- Gritting or grinding teeth
- Physical aches and pains
- Racing heartbeat
- Shaking or trembling
Stress in the modern world
It probably won’t surprise you to learn that stress is a huge health issue worldwide. According to the American Institute of Stress, around 75-90% of doctor visits in the US are in some way related to stress. Plus, an estimated 13.5 million workdays in Europe are lost yearly due to stress and stress-related illnesses.
In the UAE, stress levels are soaring. As one of the world’s major business centres, our workforce is under a great deal of pressure (not to mention to the pressure our bodies are under thanks to the climate). According to a survey by Arabian Business, UAE employees are among the most stressed in the world, ranking at 88%. The major reasons cited are a significant gap in employee wellness, high employer expectations, and staff being overworked.
Support your body to tackle stress
So, how can you reduce your stress levels and bring your body and mind to a calmer and more balanced state? The best place to start is your physical health.
Our bodies need to be fit and healthy to be able to handle stress and take further steps to combat it – and a holistic approach is crucial. If you’re fuelling your body with the nutrients it requires and getting the sleep and exercise you need, stress-relieving practices like meditation can build on top of your great work. Otherwise, it’s like putting a small plaster on a much bigger issue.
Your body and mind are intrinsically linked. Support your body to promote a healthier mind by making small, incremental positive changes to your…
- A balanced diet, rich in vitamins and minerals, is important for your physical and mental function. See how you can adjust your daily meals to get more goodness – and consider supplements to increase your vitamin intake. Take magnesium for example: every cell in your body contains it and requires it to function. An easy daily supplement can improve your body’s ability to generate energy, form protein, and regulate your nervous system.
- Getting enough sleep is vital for your body’s health – and the time you sleep can have an impact on your sleep quality. Your body’s internal clock is controlled by an area of the brain called the SCN (suprachiasmatic nucleus), which is sensitive to light and dark. When it’s dark, the SCN sends messages to the pineal gland, which triggers the release of the hormone melatonin. This prepares your body for sleep. When it’s bright outside, the SCN triggers the release of cortisol and other hormones to help you wake up. The takeaway: you’ll get better, more restorative sleep at night.
- It’s no secret that fitness is important to your overall health. Going of a run – or even a gentle jog or fast walk – gets the blood pumping and releases endorphins. These are the body’s natural pain relievers, often called ‘happy hormones’ because they are naturally produced during pleasurable activities (and are great stress-busters!) Be careful though – when you do regular, high intensity exercise, your body releases cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. Take it a little easier if you’re experiencing high stress.
Introduce your body to CBD
A great way to treat stress is to balance your endocannabinoid system (ECS). Found in our skin, this system is our body’s regulator, promoting oil balance, maintaining skin cell function, and supporting the immune system. Our skin is covered in cannabinoid receptors to benefit from the endocannabinoids we naturally create to heal ourselves.
There are two main cannabinoid receptors:
- CB1 receptors, mostly found in the central nervous system.
- CB2 receptors, mostly found in the peripheral nervous system, especially in immune cells.
“What has all this got to do with CBD?” you ask. Well, CBD (short for cannabidiol) is an active ingredient derived from the hemp plant known for its ability to reduce inflammation and regulate the skin’s oil glands. When applied to the skin, your cannabinoid receptors immediately recognise CBD and know exactly what to do with it.
When we’re stressed, our serotonin levels are low. Serotonin, a chemical produced by nerve cells, is integral to mental health, with low levels commonly detected in people experiencing anxiety and depression. CBD is thought to interact with the CB1 and CB2 receptors, altering serotonin signals, with many studies indicating CBD’s ability to help calm the mind and reduce the impact of stress and anxiety-related disorders. Not only this, another study found that levels of the stress hormone cortisol actually decrease in people using CBD.
Pair CBD with practices that work for you
Incorporating CBD skincare into your daily routine can help reduce the panic and anxiety your body feels when stressed, as well as address the symptoms of long-term stress, including insomnia, appetite disorders, and skin disorders like hyper-pigmentation and inflammation.
We know that adding a lot of ‘to dos’ to your list isn’t the way to de-stress, so why not take your stress relief to the max by pairing CBD with a simple, calming practice or two that you can incorporate daily? You could try:
- Reducing your caffeine intake.
- Keeping a journal of your thoughts.
- Spending time with loved ones – remember laughter releases serotonin!
- Taking time for something you love (hello, more serotonin!)
- Spending a few minutes practicing mindfulness or meditation.
De-stress and unwind with Juana Skin’s natural, therapeutic CBD skincare range: a clinically proven natural way to balance your mind, skin, and body.