• Susie MacLeod

Managing the busyness of December

For a lot of people this time of year is particularly busy preparing for Christmas and a long ‘to do’ list. “This is stressful” and “I’m stressed” are not uncommon phrases we hear when the long list of jobs seems never ending. As a rule, humans are fairly resilient beings, however sometimes the pressure stimuli can build to a point beyond our ability to cope with it. When this happens, the body can become exhausted and with that exhaustion comes susceptibility to illnesses. We might find ourselves overwhelmed at the slightest challenge. When this happens the state of being overwhelmed is stress.

The most widely used definition of stress says that stress is a condition that occurs when a person perceives that “demands exceed the personal and social resources the individual is able to mobilise” (Lazurus R.S. (1066), Psychological stress and the coping process, New York: McGraw-Hill).

Stress affects people on several levels, you may find the first clues are physical signs such as tiredness, headaches, muscle tension or an upset stomach. There could be many reasons for this, as when we feel stressed we often find it hard to sleep or eat well, and poor diet and lack of sleep can both affect our physical health.

In addition, when we feel anxious, our bodies release hormones called cortisol and adrenaline. This is the body’s automatic way of preparing to respond to a demand, sometimes this is called the ‘fight, flight or freeze’ response. If you’re often stressed then you’re probably producing high levels of these hormones, which can make you feel physically unwell.

Whatever your personal definition of stress is, it’s likely that you can learn to manage your own stress. This may be managing external pressures so stressful situations don’t seem to happen quite so often or developing your emotional resilience so you’re better at coping with tough situations when they do happen.

REFLEXOLOGY is an option to offset the effects of stress on your overall health. Reflexology helps the body reach a place of deep relaxation which has the capacity to diminish the effects of stress. It gently encourages the body to move towards the improved functioning of all of its systems.

For a good nights sleep: during a treatment, your body and mind are able to relax and many people fall into a deeply relaxed state. Following a reflexology treatment people often report that they have slept better than they have done in a long time.

For increased focus: when you are stressed you have less oxygen going to your brain and you use up a large proportion of your brain worrying. This leaves less capacity for decision making. During a reflexology treatment, the brain has time to relax, allowing more capacity for focussing, being able to have a different perspective on a stressful situation and how to handle it.

To increase energy levels: if stress is allowed to linger it can leave you feeling physically drained. It can lead to lethargy and a feeling that everything is too much effort. During a reflexology treatment energy levels can be given a boost by specific reflex points being stimulated. A treatment can help restore the energy flow within the body to make you feel uplifted, energised and give you the relief from some of the heaviness that can be felt when you are stressed.

I hope you all have a stress-free, happy Christmas and a happy, peaceful new year.

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