Do you ever feel like your body is trying to tell you something? Sometimes it starts with a whisper—an afternoon energy slump or a dull headache. And then there are the times it feels like our bodies are throwing a full-blown tantrum. Skin breakouts, digestive woes, insomnia—we’ve all been there.
If you’re anything like me, it can be all too easy to silence these signs of stress. A cup of green tea boosts my energy when I’m feeling sluggish and a little cover up hides that pesky pimple. But quick fixes don’t get to the root of the problem. See, those symptoms are our body’s language. It can have good things to say and bad things to say, but it’s saying them for a reason.
So today I want you to practice listening to your body, especially the ways it may be crying out for help. To help us do this, I brought in our nutrition director, Jen Reilly.
Take it away, Jen!
5 Ways Your Body Cries Out For Help
by Crazy Sexy Nutrition Director Jen Reilly, RD
Thanks, Kris! This is such an important subject to cover because all too often we end up ignoring our body’s cries for help. And it’s not because we don’t want to be healthy and happy, but because we’ve gotten so used to the symptoms that they start to feel normal.
We deserve to feel great, though! That means paying attention when our bodies show physical signs of stress. First thing’s first—let’s unpack some of the common stressors that can send our bodies shouting from the rooftops:
- Physical or emotional stress
- A heavy diet: too many rich, spicy or highly acidic foods
- An unbalanced diet: too much sugar, too little fiber, too many processed foods or all of the above!
- Poor gut health
- A food allergy or sensitivity
- A sedentary lifestyle
Now that we’ve covered some of the common causes of stress, let’s get into my list of the five ways our bodies might sound the alarm when something is wrong:
1. Waking up exhausted
One of the most common signs of stress is waking up exhausted after what the clock says was a good night’s sleep. Eight hours of shut-eye provide powerful restorative and regenerative benefits. So, if you’re always worn out in the morning or you can never seem to fully wake up, that means something is getting in the way of good quality rest.
Snooze better with these tips:
- Try some stress-reducing meditations before bed.
- Get an essential oil diffuser for your bedroom. Lavender is the perfect stress buster and it smells heavenly!
- Turn off screens an hour or two before bed and cut off the caffeine after noon.
- Consider trying an anti-inflammatory diet for 3 or more weeks. Inflammation can lead to an increased production of proteins called cytokines, which can cause insomnia.
- If you snore, consider having a sleep study done to see if have sleep apnea.
2. Digestive problems
Until the you-know-what hits the fan in a big way, most people write off digestive issues as no big deal. But if you’re experiencing gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhea on a regular basis, your body is trying to tell you that something is off-kilter. It could be too little fiber, certain medications you’re taking, out-of-balance bacteria or food sensitivities—something needs a fix!
Here are some ways to resolve tummy troubles:
- Consider trying supplemental probiotics, prebiotics and digestive enzymes to boost your good bacteria and help you get more nutrition out of your foods.
- Make sure you’re getting plenty of fiber and water in your diet for optimal digestion.
- Get some exercise. If you don’t move your body, your digestive system doesn’t move either.
3. Inability to lose weight
If you’re struggling with weight loss and feel like you’re doing everything right, it’s possible that your body is sending you a message. Perhaps you have a slower metabolism because you’ve lost and gained weight several times in the past. Or maybe you’ve hit that golden menopausal age. It’s time to tune in to what your body is really trying to tell you.
Try these tips to get back on track:
- Eat more plant foods and check out the other metabolism-boosting strategies here.
- Work on getting a good night’s sleep every night. Your resting metabolic rate is slower when you’re deficient on zzz’s.
- Ensure you’re getting half your body weight in ounces of water daily (at least 1 liter for women and 2 liters for men). Even the tiniest bit of dehydration can lower your metabolism.
4. Skin breakouts and rashes
Skin breakouts and rashes can certainly be cyclical or seasonal, but they can also be one of our body’s signs of stress. Remember: what’s on the outside is often a reflection of what’s on the inside. If you’re skin is acting up, take an inventory of potential stressors.
Try these remedies for stressed out skin:
- Avoid skipping meals and steer clear of sugar and dairy, which may cause inflammation.
- Consider supplementing with omega-3s, especially if you’re experiencing dry skin or repeat rashes.
- Consider increasing your intake of vitamin C-rich foods such as bell peppers, citrus fruits and greens. Vitamin C is a wonderful skin vitamin that can also boost your immune system.
5. Irritability and short-temperament
Do people get on your nerves a lot? Even sweet neighbors and your loved ones? A short fuse is another way your body might tell you something is askew. It could be a lack of rest or an unbalanced diet. Next time you’re feeling ticked off, take a deep breath and listen in to what might be going on under the surface.
Find peace with these tips:
- Queue up the Instant Stress Reduction meditation from Kris’s Extraordinary Meditations for a Magnificent Life album. It’ll have you feeling calmer in no time.
- Consider introducing stress-relieving supplements like magnesium and ashwagandha into your routine.
- Limit caffeine and alcohol. Both can put you on edge, even days later.
- Focus on eating whole rather than processed foods. Each meal should include healthy doses of plant protein, complex carbs and healthy fats.
The best thing you can do for your body is to pay close attention to what it says. And if any of the physical signs of stress persist or get worse, check in with your integrative doc for additional evaluation.