Over 75% of doctor visits are due to stress-related issues. Which is a huge indicator that our society is over-stressed, and people aren't taking measures to reduce their stress.
The top 6 causes of death are all influenced by stress levels, which means millions of people every single year weren't managing their stress.
The problem is, we are busy. Our lives are busy. Our kids' lives are busy. We take on more than we should chew, yet we do it anyways.
But at what point is stress too much to handle?
Stress Can Be Good and Bad, So How Do You Balance It?
Not all stress is bad. In some cases, stress helps us to grow. For instance, doing cardio puts stress on the heart, but helps it to become stronger and more efficient at pumping blood.
But there is a fine line between helping us to grow, and breaking us down. Stress releases a hormone called cortisol which (explained quickly) breaks things down. It breaks glycogen into glucose, or reduces inflammation, or can even catabolize muscle fibers. So in excess, it can be detrimental to the body.
In this episode with Karen Salinas, we go over some strategies to reduce stress, or at least learn to manage it better.
What To Expect From This Episode
- What are some common issues in life that can increase stress levels
- How to determine where the fine line between a healthy amount of stress, and chronic stress
- Ways to change mindset around stress and family support
- Actionable steps to reduce stress levels
- [2:30] Karen's big stress event occurred during her divorce
- [3:45] At what point did Karen start to work on her stress
- [5:00] Most of stress comes from our every day life situtations. How can we minimize the stress from daily life
- [7:30] What are some symptoms that indicate your stress levels are starting to boil over
- [8:30] If you have a known viral or immune system issue, then it will resurface during times of stress
- [9:00] How should we shift our mindset around stress and not try to fix all the world's problems in one day
- [11:30] What can people do to find the right balance between stress and overwhelm
- [13:45] If we are trying to ride the line between peak performance, and boiling over, how do we manage stress enough that one day of being stuck in traffic doesn't ruin us
- [17:15] Do we have "terrible days" or "terrible moments"
- [19:30] Many women focus on their family first before taking care of their health. How can we switch the thought process to taking care of your health first so you can support your family
- [23:15] Is the mentality of "putting everyone else first" a learned behavior from growing up
- [25:00] Final thoughts on how to reduce stress and create a healthy mindset around stress
Resources From This Episode
Some of these resources may contain affiliate links, which provides a small commission to me (at no extra expense to you).
Transcript For Episode (Transcripts aren't even close to 100% Accurate)
Bryan: 01:20 But before we dive into this episode, this episode is brought to you by our friends at HANAH, which has one of my favorite products to help with stress management there. Hannah, one product has adaptogenic herbs which support the body during stressful times and helps to boost the immune system so that you aren't getting sick during those stressful periods of life. So to learn more, go to summitforwellness.com/HANAH. Now let's dive into my conversation with Karen Salinas. Karen Clark Salinas is a national board certified health and wellness coach and founder of rebalance wellbeing. She coaches very busy women who risk chronic health issues from constantly putting themselves last. Karen helps them take better care of themselves through mindset, healthy living and happiness practices so that they have the time and energy to put their dreams, goals, and priorities first, at least some of the time. Thank you so much, Karen, for coming onto the show.
Karen: 02:20 Thanks so much for having me. I'm glad to be here.
Bryan: 02:23 Well, before we start diving into talking about stress and the different impacts that can have on the body, let's learn a little bit about you and your background. So can you dive into that for us?
Karen: 02:33 Sure. so I am I'm a, I'm a mother of three step mother of four. All of them are, are in their twenties. I call myself a thriver of divorce, which was my most difficult and stressful event. And as a result of that stress I'm a survivor of a 15 year Odyssey with Lyme disease.
Bryan: 03:06 Hmm.
Karen: 03:07 And so I I worked in higher education for about 30 years and as I was finishing up that time focusing on work life balance, I shifted over to getting certified as a health and wellness coach. I'm really passionate about helping as many women as possible pursue a fulfilling career, raise a happy and healthy family, all without sacrificing wellbeing.
Bryan: 03:40 So at what point did you start focusing more on the stress side of things? Was that during your divorce or was it after realizing how much stress can impact your Lyme disease?
Karen: 03:53 Well those things kind of happened concurrently. But I would, I would say in some, well, and so it's in retrospect a little bit knowing how, how hard the stress was on me physically and emotionally. And then also just remembering, you know, how busy and stressed I was as a full time working mom of three busy kids and just wanting to find a way to help more women not do so many of all the things all the time.
Bryan: 04:35 Okay. And all the scenarios you talked about, those are definitely real life situations that a lot of people face every single day. There's a lot of people that go through divorce or stressful relationship issues. A lot of people have kids and that puts a lot of stress on them. So when we live in a society that is so full of stress, how can we start to minimize the amount that Mount of damage to our health that stress puts on us?
Karen: 05:03 Well. So there's, there's, there's a few things at minimum that we can do. One is we can try to take better care of ourselves physically. I know we, we, you know, we hear a lot about that, but I'm talking about even just some very basics of prioritizing sleep. Sleep is huge. Next thing would be just trying to, as simple as it is, just consume as much water as you can. It gives you energy, your body needs it. And then of course, eating healthy foods and trying to get some movement going in, in your day to day routine. But aside from that, there's two other things. One is that I think, and this was the case for, for me I, you know, I w I was raised as a people pleaser [inaudible] and also really thought that I was happiest when I was serving my spouse and my kids and I was doing all the things for them.
Karen: 06:18 And in hindsight, what I know now is that not only was that not good for me I didn't have to do all of that. I could've given myself some permission to just not do it all or to ask for help. But the other thing was I didn't, that doesn't allow for your other family members to kind of rise to the challenge, new, learn new things, learn new skills. And so I thought I was doing what was best for all of us, but in hindsight, I'm not so sure about that anymore. And then the third thing, which we can talk about as well as I think we can work on our mindset about stress a and in some ways stresses really gotten a bad rap and there's some parts of it that are actually positive. And so I think that that can help us as well.
Bryan: 07:20 Can you talk about some of the symptoms that people should be aware of that are indicators that the stress levels are starting to boil over?
Karen: 07:29 Sure. so physically would, would be you know, if you're having trouble sleeping or if you feel like your emotions are a bit out of control, you can't get a handle on that. And that could be anger, frustration, irritability, or maybe you know, feelings of more sadness or anxiety, those kinds of things. Also I would just say you just feeling overwhelmed most of the time that you don't have the time, the energy, the extra hands fill in whatever. He want to get all the things done in a day that you feel you need to get done.
Bryan: 08:22 And then if people have known viral or auto immune issues, then typically those start to resurface as well. Is that correct?
Karen: 08:31 That, yes, that is what happened. To me I thought, you know, we had a treated the Lyme disease and I was kind of what I would say is leftover with some fibromyalgia, but then as the stress of my divorce kicked in, then the Lyme disease re-emerged and I had to retreat it all all over again. Yeah.
Bryan: 08:55 Well, let's dive into the mindset part because you said that's one of the the biggest parts around stress. So can you start walking us through how we can change our mindset around stress and not try to, you know, take on all of the world's problems at once?
Karen: 09:11 Sure. So there's two things about kind of shifting our mindset. The first one is research shows that I have a happy life is not stress free and a stress free life doesn't also necessarily bring happiness. So that's just to say that we, in order to be happy, we need some stress and that connects to this next point, which is that we if you think of our performance is kind of a, a bell curve or an upside down you on the, the left side of that you is our, our performance and our stress when they're kind of a, there's lower amounts of both. We're not actually, I'm doing our best work. And when you get to the top of that bell curve or upside down you, that's when our performance and our stress kind of, it hits peak. We are, we are really operating on, on all cylinders so to speak. And then down towards the right side and kind of down that bell curve is when stress gets to be too much. And we kind of get out of that zone into distress or just a flat out overwhelm. That's when our performance decreases. So we, we need a certain amount of stress to perform our best that that helps us be interested and excited and engaged. And so our, our goal is to stay in that zone of healthy stress orange or begin to know when we're getting out of balance.
Bryan: 11:10 Yeah, that's a really good point because stress does help the body to grow and adapt and we see that via exercise in a lot of other factors. But it also, once you get over that boiling point, like you talked about over the top of that bell curve, then it can cause more harm than good. So it's trying to find that level of balance. So how, how can people find that specific level of balance that works for them?
Karen: 11:36 Right. So I think a couple of things. One is
Karen: 11:45 You know, kind of tracking. It's, you know, it's probably best if you actually made me kind of write it down. But think about, you know, a time at, at work or at home where you really felt great about whatever it was you were doing and you felt like, I, I've never done this as well, or I'm hitting the ball out of the park. Whatever analogy you want to use and, and ask yourself, what were the factors that that made me feel like I was really performing top, top notch? What, you know, was I well rested? Had I been exercising at a reasonable amount and had that extra energy was I, you know, working with somebody else in that connection really energized me. So think about what's in place when you're doing really, really well. And then when, when you begin to, as you say that, I like that boiling over point and it should begin to boil over what are your feelings and what are you noticing? Do you have pain? Do you have fatigue? What are the thoughts that are running through your head that are more negative? And once you can begin to know, you know, when you're feeling great and when that boiling point is, then you can begin to catch yourself and say, Oh wait, you know, I'm, I'm feeling this or I hear that negative talk and you can begin to then bring yourself back to that zone of healthy stress.
Bryan: 13:26 So here's a question for you. If we're trying to ride on that peak performance and optimal level of stress zone, at what point are we playing that line too dangerously and all it takes is like one car problem or you know, getting a little bit sick or something that gets thrown into your day that can push you too far.
Karen: 13:52 That's a great question. And what comes to mind for me is a couple of things. One is little bit of preparation in that try to try to leave some spaces in, in your day, some, some margin where you're not scheduled so tightly that if you get stuck in traffic, the rest of your day is off schedule or try to have some plan BS because curve balls will always get thrown at us. And so for example, you know if you have kids that are in child care you, you want to have a regular backup plan for childcare, but if in case something happens with your primary childcare, but if not possible, even for example, if you know that a really important meeting is coming up or a trip or something that's really big line up a plan B for that, just so you, you have a bit of a, a cushion.
Karen: 15:07 The other thing, so that's kind of in the preparation is really trying to build in some extra supports. So you're likely to be more successful. Whatever it is you're trying to do. The next thing is then two it's kind of as a, again, it's after it's happened cause cause it does happen sometimes. We've got a lot going on. We'd be to gauge kind of how, how far into, you know, out of the zone of healthy stress into distress. Did you, did you fall and, and how long did it take you to recover? So someone asked me recently even particularly about exercise, you know, if you're, if you're someone who has some, some health issues, how do you push yourself a little bit? Cause we all want to, you know, get better, do more, that kind of thing. But how do you not pushed too hard? And I think the answer to that is recovery. Does it take you one day to recover and get back on track? And maybe that's fine. Did you lose three days because you extended yourself so much then that's probably that was too much. So it's looking at what does it take you to recalibrate and get back into that healthy zone?
Bryan: 16:41 Okay. You know, someone told me I'm ears ago and I can't remember who said this or where I heard it from, but you know how people, when they're having a bad day, they tell you I'm having a terrible day or something similar along those lines, the response was, are you really having a terrible day? The entire day is terrible or are you just having terrible moments because you might have terrible moments because that's where those curve balls come in. But it's the mindset and the decisions you make after those terrible moments that set you up for the rest of the day. And when we have 24 hours to correct our course with our mindset, that's plenty of time to come up with solutions.
Karen: 17:24 Yes. I think that's a great point. And it makes me think of two things. One is you know, the language that we use to tell ourselves what's going on. It might really truly be a terrible moment or it might just be, ah, this is you know, this isn't great. I'm not happy this very moment. And I, I noticed actually I have a a 24 year old daughter and I have noticed as, as she becomes an adult, she's changed some of our language and when something, it's potentially hard. What I hear her saying more is I'm optimistic and I just think that is I'm really proud of her for that. And I just think that's a great way to turn it, turn it on its head. And then the other thing that that makes me think about is that you know, having gratitude in your car, even just kind of in your day to day, being able to think of just a few things that you're grateful for really offsets or complements the, the situation that, that you mentioned of, well, it's pretty bad right now, but does that mean your whole day is bad?
Karen: 18:48 You can, you can reset if you begin to put it in context and say, well, yeah, and, and then I have all these other things, these few things that I'm really grateful for and things aren't, things will get better.
Bryan: 19:03 Okay. Well, since you focus a lot on women [inaudible] seems like a lot of women will put everybody else in the household before themselves and a lot of times they put their own health at risk and they can even feel guilty if they focus on themselves before their children or the rest of the family. So can you talk about that feeling that a lot of women have and then how to change the mindset that, you know, if you're not healthy, then you can't support the rest of the family.
Karen: 19:32 Right. Well you just, you know, you just described me very well. Oh, as I was raising my children. I think so. I think, I think a lot of things one is as, as moms, we, we put a lot of pressure on ourselves. Kind of creating this perfect experience for our kids. Whatever that is. It's a perfect healthy meal. It's the perfect sport and team that they want to play on. It's the perfect educational opportunity or situation for them. And I really understand why we want that. But as we've also said, you know, life is not perfect. And as parents where we have this huge teaching role, everything we do is, is teaching our children something. And so we don't have to save them from, from every little thing that that's maybe disappointing. You know, sad week.
Karen: 20:51 We can instead help them work through those things and equip those, equip themselves with those things. So, so one way is to just really say, I'm not doing myself. I'm not doing my kids any favors. Bye. Paving the way for them in every little thing. I think also particularly for women that you know, are working outside of the home, we are serving as a tremendous role model for our kids and, and showing us [inaudible] women can do what they want to do, what makes them excited and happy and showing our kids those things and kind of being seen in that way helps them. I think it helps them understand relationships, other people how to be part of a family or community. And so I, I just think that we, we just need to give our PR ourselves permission [inaudible] to not be perfect.
Karen: 22:08 What's perfect anyway. Not really a thing. And then we need to give ourselves permission to let our loved ones or maybe our coworkers, our friends really see who we are and that they, most of them [inaudible] still love is still stand by us. Still want to be with us. If we set some boundaries and say, you knew what I, I can help you with that, but I'm not going to be able to do it until tomorrow. I can't do it right now. I will do it tomorrow. We, we need to do better job of integrating our own needs into the day to day. And then also setting some boundaries and trusting [inaudible] that most people, especially those who love us they're not going to be upset or they'll get over it. Okay.
Bryan: 23:08 Do you think the whole putting everybody else before yourself is a learned behavior from being a child and seeing your own mother, putting everybody else before herself and then as you grow up, then you kind of fall into that role as well?
Karen: 23:25 I think there's definitely some of that. And I, I draw on my, my own experience. Having a mom who didn't work outside of the home. So certainly for me there was part of that and it's also just part of my personality, but I'm encouraged. I see some difference in my daughter who I've already mentioned. She already has this idea of self care as, as part of something she knows to pay attention to. Doesn't mean she never, you know, takes on too much or even, you know, get sick because of it. She's, she's young and got a lot of things going on in her life, but she does at least have this sense of kind of when she's out of that a zone of healthy stress and when she needs to invest some time in taking care of herself. And I just, I that's very hopeful to me.
Bryan: 24:32 Yeah, that's awesome. Cause you said she was 24, so that's, that's pretty good that someone at that age is starting to put the pieces together and at least recognizes when stress or anything like that starts to a build up. So that's really cool.
Karen: 24:47 Yeah.
Bryan: 24:48 Do you have any final things you want to touch on about mindset and stress and all of that stuff?
Karen: 24:57 I think so. What I would, I want a women to know and actually what I want anybody to know is that yeah, we put together these really busy lives and, and feel like we have to do all the things. And what I want us to do is to pause for just a moment, you know, lift our heads up. We so often have our heads down, just, just moving forward. I want us to lift our heads up and, and think about are these are the things in my life, are they really what I want? Have I chosen them? Do they match my values? [inaudible] And if they don't match my values or I haven't intentionally chose, chosen them, what can I do differently now? Because we're all in charge of our own lives, right? And it, it makes me, it makes me sad to think of so many people moving on through their lives and finally getting that time to lift their head maybe after the kids are out of the house. And then they're wondering, wow, was, was that the life I really wanted or, or how do I shift? No, I'd like, I'd like for people to, to do that earlier so that they end up with a life that that they feel matches their values and that they are intentionally choosing.
Bryan: 26:37 Yeah, that's a great, great statement to end on. Well, my final question here is do you have a morning routine that you like to do that helps to prepare you for the day?
Karen: 26:48 I, I w I know I should. So I'm fortunate now that I, I work out of my home. So my morning routine is mostly get some coffee and then either work on my own business or work. I also work with my husband in his business and I'm enjoying finding out all the different times in a day where I can actually exercise and get into some of those healthy things. So I don't have the typical a morning routine, but I'm okay with it right now.
Bryan: 27:31 Well, people can find you @ rebalancewellbeing.com. You're also on Facebook and Instagram. Do you have anywhere else that you want people to check you out at?
Karen: 27:42 Sure. So I have a self care quiz which helps you kind of determine where you need the most help right now. So if you go to my website, rebalance wellbeing.com, you'll, you'll see it right there on, on the home page. And then after you provide your email address, then you'll get a customized guide that will give you some simple strategies to try and focus on, on that one area of your self care to get some immediate results.
Bryan: 28:18 Awesome. Karen? Well, I know a lot of people struggle with stress and taking on too much and putting too many things on their to do list. So thank you so much for coming on and just chatting a little bit about mindset around stress and how to try and find that middle point so that we're not boiling over and we're kind of thriving. So thank you so much.
Karen: 28:38 Thank you for having me. I've really enjoyed talking with you.
Bryan: 28:41 Hopefully you are able to utilize some of these stress management strategies during the holiday season. And I would love to know more about how you manage stress. So if you go to the summit for awanas.com/in 91 leave a comment at the bottom of the show notes so others can learn from each other how they manage stress. But have you let stress take over your life and you are now suffering from different health ailments because of it. If so, it is time for you to get control of your health. We can help you to reduce your stress, gain more energy, and feel the best you've felt in a long time. So to learn more, go to summit for wellness.com/health we focus a lot on the small nutrients that make big changes in the body. But next week we are going to be talking about the macro nutrients and how do you adjust them for weight loss and weight gain.
Bryan: 29:32 So let's go learn a little bit more about Alison Jackson, who is my guest next week I am here with Alison Jackson. Hey Alison, what one unique thing about you that most people don't know?
Allison: 29:44 Most people don't know that I was actually born with a birth defect called clubfoot and I wasn't supposed to walk without braces, but thankfully my parents got a second opinion. Wow, that's awesome. And what will we be learning about in our interview together today? You are going to learn all about why you should track macros and how it could help you eat. All those foods you love, that you think are off limits.
Bryan: 30:06 And what are your favorite foods or nutrients that you think everyone should get more of in their diet?
Allison: 30:11 Some of my favorite go to meal is steak, asparagus, and sweet potato. And people definitely need to eat more protein.
Bryan: 30:17 And what are your top three health tips for anyone who wants to improve their overall wellness is download my fitness pal and use it and get more steps and meditate.
Bryan: 30:29 So next week will be a great episode for those trying to make aesthetic changes to their body. So until then, keep climbing to the peak of your health.