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Help Clients Manage Chronic Stress_Final

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>> Hey there, great to see you again. So far, you've learned that stress takes its toll on the gut and that eating in a calm state is critical for digestion. Quieting the sympathetic nervous system around mealtimes is an important first step. But what about managing chronic stress? It's important for clients to consider how stress impacts their health and to be empowered to know that they have the ability to make lifestyle modifications to increase their resiliency against stress. In this lecture, we'll go over how to support your clients with managing chronic stress including recommendations for diet, exercise, herbs, and supplements. When life feels super stressful, adding yet one more thing to do even if it's taking on a practice of stress management, can feel stressful. So you want to start by meeting clients where they're at, this means giving them a chance to unload and share. Be their listening ear and a source of support. People who are chronically stressed are often so busy doing things for other people that they really take time to receive the support that they need. Having someone they can talk to and share freely with for an hour every week or two, that's you, can be a therapeutic release. So always start here. Jumping right in with the lists of stress-busting techniques or a journaling activity might be overwhelming for a chronically stressed out client. Focus first on building rapport and providing an outlet. When the conversation of stress first comes up with clients, you may encounter some resistance. Clients may dismiss the idea that their stress is connected to digestion that they're on overdrive or that they have any control over their stress. As their Health Coach, gently help raise your clients' awareness to their stress levels and how it isn't serving them. To help clients tune into their stress, it can be helpful to ask and explore the following questions. Do you have tension in your body, especially in your neck and shoulders? Is your breathing shallow? Do you feel restless or have difficulty focusing? Do you have trouble falling or staying asleep? Is your sex drive low? Do you grind your teeth at night, while you're asleep? Are you easily irritated? All of these signs can point to a variety of things, but clustered together, they point towards chronic stress. We spend so much time talking about this in the Gut Health Course because so many gut conditions are triggered by chronic stress. Explaining in simple terms how the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems work may help clients understand the connection between stress and gut health. Awareness is the first step towards combating the negative effects of stress. It can also be useful to establish a baseline for your client's stress and see what's going on internally. There are some tests that can be done to assess stress levels. These tests measure stress hormones in the body. This type of information is helpful because it can reveal which hormones are out of balance and compromising their wellness. For example, the Adrenal Stress Index test is a saliva test that can measure cortisol levels. Tests like these can be ordered online and self-administered by the client through websites such as Canary Club or ZRT Labs or through the client's doctor. For some clients, it can be helpful to see evidence from a test that stress is compromising their well-being, especially when the clients don't realize they're stressed. This is common with type A personalities, who are more likely to think being on overdrive is just a natural way of living. A simple test that clients can do at home is a heart rate variability, HRV test. Heart rate variability refers to the intervals between each heartbeat. Heart rate variability is highly indicative of overall health and how resilient the body is to stress. This test provides an idea of how well the body is transitioning between the sympathetic and parasympathetic responses. This is because the heart sends signals to the brain and can influence cognitive and emotional well-being, just like the gut. HRV can be monitored by a device that can attach to their smartphone. All right, so you have a client who's chronically stressed out. What can you do to help support them? Let's go over the top recommendations for diet, exercise, supplements, and herbs. Diet, did you know that eating certain foods can exacerbate stress? To achieve better balance, encourage your client to crowd out dietary irritants that might be contributing to their stress. The top offenders are junk food, sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. This can be difficult for clients because these also happen to be the top four that people turn to in times of stress, but the comfort is psychological. These substances actually make us feel worse. Caffeine and other stimulants can stress the body and heighten its response to whatever's already going on. So when you're anxious, caffeine can make you more anxious. Sugar feels calming in the short-term but comes at the cost of an unpleasant crash shortly after. And anyone who's ever had a fun night of drinking followed by a hangover the next day knows that the same is true for alcohol. Drinking is stressful to the body and causes it to work even harder to eliminate all of the toxins. Also, clients should avoid anything that causes inflammation such as processed foods. Any foods that a client has an intolerance to should be avoided, especially during times of high stress. When the body is stressed, it releases histamines which can worsen the response to allergies and intolerances. Once the stress has subsided, clients can slowly reintroduce their trigger foods. When stress is high, it's important to control blood sugar levels. Stress can make blood sugar levels unstable and can also lead to poor food choices and mood swings. Stress raises blood sugar so that the body has immediate energy sources. Makes sense, right? If you're escaping from danger, you need that extra energy boost. However, chronic stress can send the body into bouts of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar which can lead to overeating after periods of what the body mistakes as starvation. So what can your clients do to stabilize blood sugar? In addition to avoiding foods high on the glycemic index, eating an abundance of whole fruits and vegetables can help the body manage stress and stabilize blood sugar levels. This also helps replenish vitamin stores in the body, which become depleted with chronic stress. Additionally, eating at regular intervals can help regulate stress. Fueling the body every few hours keeps blood sugar levels from dropping and can buffer against binge-eating. When the body is confused about mealtimes and doesn't know when the next meal is coming, it releases cortisol in an effort to keep blood sugar stable. Keeping to a schedule allows the body to anticipate mealtimes which prevents further stress to the body. Now let's talk about herbs and supplements. When it comes to natural herbs, adaptogens are key for combating against stress. Adaptogens are unique group of herbs that can be used to build resilience and cope with fatigue by supporting adrenals. The adrenal system is what manages the body's response to stress on the hormonal level. Chronic stress can wreak havoc on hormonal balance, particularly the adrenals and can wear this system out. Adaptogens work gradually over time with regular use. You won't get the jolt of energy you would with a double shot of espresso, but you also won't get the crash. Popular adaptogens include Rhodiola, Astragalus, Ashwagandha, Eleuthero, and holy basil. Rhodiola can be great for reducing fatigue. It can help improve focus, especially when that afternoon crash occurs. Rhodiola can help fight stress and provide a natural boost instead of having that extra cup of coffee. Astragalus is a Chinese herb that helps with stress and the immune system. As we've learned everything in the body is connected, so helping one system helps another. Ashwagandha has been said to have horse power. It helps the body handle stress including the physical kind like having the endurance to play sports. Ashwagandha has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries. In recent times, it's also been well-studied confirming its utility for building stamina. Eleuthero is the name for Siberian ginseng. This great Chinese herb is good for the mind in times of stress. It can help give the brain a boost. Lastly, holy basil also known as Tulsi is one of the most versatile and power herbs out there. This amazing herb contains antioxidants and vitamin C, which help protects the body against the effects of stress by repairing the damages caused by free radicals. These are the most popular adaptogens. Again, adaptogens help the body adapt. They have been used for centuries in Eastern medicine. They're becoming increasingly mainstream over the past several years and can be found in many of the supplement formulas that might be recommended by a client's medical practitioner. They're also available in health food stores and major retailers like Whole Foods and Amazon. Clients don't need a prescription to buy adaptogens, but you should always encourage them to read up on any possible contraindications and consult with their doctor before adding herbs and supplements to their routine, especially if they have any major health conditions as some herbs can actually cause harm when mixed with the wrong medications. Other herbs that can be helpful in times of stress include chamomile and green tea. And a bonus is that sipping hot tea can be a soothing act of self-care and relaxation. Green tea contains some caffeine, so clients should be careful not to overdo it and to avoid it if they are sensitive to caffeine. However, the L-theanine in green tea has been shown to have anti-stress effects. As for supplements, glutathione is an antioxidant that many practitioners may recommend to help the body cope with stress. It can also help heal the gut lining. Glutathione is one of the most important antioxidants in the body and it gets very depleted during chronic stress. Lastly, probiotics and fermented foods can also help the body cope with stress. Lactobacillus plantarum has specifically been shown to help with this. Also, it's important to remember that having a healthy gut can help the body handle or modulate stress. A robust microbiome allows for the proper digestion of nutrients which can build up in the body when it's depleted from stress. Lastly, let's talk about exercise. It's common knowledge that exercise is a great stress buster. But which type is best? High-intensity workouts are great for losing fat and building muscle, but when the goal is strengthening and activating the parasympathetic nervous system, the most optimal results come from calming practices, such as tai chi, yoga, and qigong, these fluid movement and breath-focused practices are meditative and grounding and can bring the body into a more relaxed state. Additionally, light aerobic exercise is better for an overall healthy immune system. Now we're not suggesting your client ditch their gym routine altogether. Good workouts are part of a healthy lifestyle, but you want to caution your clients who are stressed out to be careful about overdoing it. Vigorous and intense exercise is interpreted by the body as stress and can actually worsen the situation for a person who is dealing with chronic stress. For these clients, moderation is key. So to recap, you can help your clients manage their chronic stress by suggesting incremental changes they can make to their diets and exercise regimens. Adaptogen supplements and probiotics can also help clients build their resilience against stress. When approaching the topic of stress with clients, keep in mind that this is a delicate topic for many clients. It can seem unreasonable for them to lighten their load or they may not even realize they're stressed because they've become so adapted to sprinting through life. The best support you can give a stressed out client is to provide a safe space for them to be heard and validated and to ask thoughtful high-mileage questions to help raise their awareness to the level of stress in their lives. How's the level of stress in your life? What do you do to cope? Head over to the Facebook group and let us know. By supporting one another, we can build a stronger community and learn from each other too. Thanks for joining me. Bye for now.

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Duration: 14 minutes and 23 seconds
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Language: English
License: Dotsub - Standard License
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Views: 5
Posted by: ninaz on Mar 22, 2018

Help Clients Manage Chronic Stress_Final

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