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Are You Living Inside A Hamster Wheel?

December 3, 2014

 

Person run in treadmill rat cage

Do you know what I mean when I ask if you feel you are living your life inside a hamster wheel?  

If you grew up with hamsters, or you currently have one in your home, then you know the hamsters get on the wheel and just go and go and go.  It can be exhausting just watching them!

For a lot of us, that is what our lives seem like. We just go and go and go and it seems never ending.  

Society has led us to believe that living this way is completely normal.  Who don’t you know whose life doesn’t seem to be a constant motion of something?

Are you a mom who is driving her kids around to umpteen different activities and fitting in homework, meals and family time into a measly 24 hour time period?

Are you the working mother who has a demanding job that adds to the all the activities above?

How about none of the above and you are a hardworking guy, with the weight of the world on your shoulders. 

Whether you are any of the above or single, a student, empty nester, etc., we all have something in common. At one point or another, we are on our hamster wheel desperately trying to get somewhere or get something done. 

Add in the holiday season this time and year, and yikes, that wheel just started going faster and faster!

What do all of these have in common? STRESS!!

I hear you. “Sandra, stress is just part of life and we all need to learn to deal with it!”  Yes, stress is a part of life and our bodies have mechanisms in place to deal with stress. Our innate system takes over and does the work it needs to do to help our body deal with the “stressors” we put on it. Here’s the problem, our bodies were never meant to deal with the constant, ongoing stress we put ourselves through.

Keep in mind, that stress is not just a state of being anxious about something. Stress is a big umbrella, and under that umbrella fall many different items:

  • Parenting
  • Jobs
  • Illness
  • Food allergies/sensitivities
  • Happiness
  • Fear
  • Anger
  • Pain
  • Exercise
  • Lack of sleep
  • Pharmaceuticals

This is just a sampling of what can cause stress on your body, but I think you get the picture. 

When we live in a constant state of stress, we don’t give our body the opportunity to rest, refuel and restore itself. Stress is additive and cumulative, and over time all the “little stressors” add up and the body starts to break down.

Collapsed Hamster Wheel Runner

It starts small and builds. The little nagging symptoms we begin to experience, but tend to brush off.

  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of libido
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Food cravings 
  • Stimulant dependent
  • Poor sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Muffin top/inability to lose weight

Any of these sound familiar? Again, these are just a sampling, but it gives you a clear picture of how stress begins to break down the body. 

One very important area it has a HUGE effect on, is our adrenal glands. These tiny little suckers do A LOT of work in our body and take part in some key roles inside our bodies.  

The adrenal glands produce three important hormones:

  1. Aldosterone – This hormone helps to maintain the body’s salt and water levels which, in turn, regulates blood pressure. Think heart
  2. Cortisol – This is another hormone involved in the stress response. It also helps to regulate the body’s metabolism. Think weight.
  1. Androgens – eg, sex hormones.  These are involved in creating and maintaining the differences between males and females. Think hormonal balance.

When our adrenal glands are taxed and they can no longer do their job, you can see where the integrity of our health begins to become compromised.

Do you now have a clearer picture of why stress is not something to snub our noses at?  Last week I wrote a post on how to deal with stress through the Thanksgiving holiday. All the tips I gave, you can definitely apply them to this busy holiday month as well.

Stay tuned, next post I will be announcing my “Stress-O-Mania” program and sharing my own story with stress and adrenal fatigue.  

I am excited to help others re-set, re-fuel and re-invigorate their adrenals and their life.  If you are interested in this program, make sure you are signed up for my newsletter so you don’t miss out. 

Until then, be true to yourself, slow down and enjoy life!

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