Stress 101

Hi HEALers!  Today’s a very special day because I have guest blogger Samantha Ushedo here writing about stress.  This is something near and dear to my heart at the moment, as I’m currently starting a new role at work, and am feeling the stress of the massive learning curve that comes with learning a new job.  Stress can have a serious effect on our health, so I encourage you to read the entire post, as there is a TON of useful information – lots that I am definitely going to keep in mind over the coming months! 🙂

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I’m over the moon excited that Mandy has asked me to guest post on the topic of stress today because I believe it is the single most important factor in health and healing.  Stress is an experience that is unique to each and every one of us.  What is distressful for one individual can be positively stimulating for another person.  Everyone knows about and has had some experience with the negative aspect of stress, but did you know that there are actually TWO types of stress?


Eustress is the good stress that motivates you to achieve goals and to tackle interesting and stimulating tasks.   It has the following characteristics:

  • Short term
  • Motivates and focuses energy
  • Feels pleasant, exciting and stimulating
  • Perceived as within coping abilities
  • Improves performance


Distress, or bad stress, is when the good stress becomes too much to handle.   Tension builds, there is no longer any fun in the challenge, and there seems to be no end in sight.  It has the following characteristics:

  • Short- or long-term
  • Causes anxiety or concern
  • Feels unpleasant
  • Perceived as outside of coping abilities
  • Decreases performance


Stress is recognized as one of the main contributors to human illness and disease, which is not surprising because as you can see, stress affects virtually every system in the body.

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Adjust your standards

Perfectionism is a major source of avoidable stress.  Don’t set yourself up for failure by being unrealistic about what you can achieve.  Be honest about your abilities, set reasonable standards for yourself and learn to be okay with “good enough.”

Make time for relaxation

Take time to recharge your batteries by making sure to schedule rest and relaxation into your daily schedule. Don’t allow other obligations to encroach. Just like brushing your teeth twice a day, you should actively relax every day, and not just when you are feeling or expect to be stressed.

Learn to say no

Know your limits and stick to them. Whether it is in your personal or professional life, refuse to take on added responsibilities if it is more than you can handle.  When you’re stretched too thin, you are likely to feel pressured, harassed, and rushed and the things you once enjoyed begin to become yet another item on your “To Do” list.

Move your body

Research suggests that regular, moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day, 3 days a week not only helps you stay fit, but also helps make you better equipped to handle the demands and pressures of life.

Eat a well balanced diet

Begin every day with a nutritious breakfast, and eat regular and nutritionally balanced meals throughout the day to ensure you are giving your body the fuel it needs to cope with the added stress.  Especially in times of stress, avoid caffeine, sugar and alcohol as they strip the body of essential nutrients, which further promotes stress.

What are your major sources of stress? And how to you handle them?

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