Stress has become an everyday word these days, and often just loosely banded about by anyone and everyone, especially when our to do list gets too long or something goes wrong like the boiler breaks down. These are fairly common, everyday examples of stress some of which are in our control (such as managing our time better) and some which aren’t (a traffic jam on the motorway which makes us late). Occasionally we can be going through a stressful period such as a divorce or bereavement which has no end in sight and may last months or even years.
But what about when this stress begins to overwhelm us and affect our sleep?
Or maybe you find that you feel more emotional (crying at trivial things such as a TV commercial) or perhaps even angry and snapping at your family for no real reason?
For some of us, it presents itself as IBS or we see weight gain (especially around the belly)
Or perhaps you’re a nail-biter or you pick the skin around your nails.
All of the above are little flags that the body starts waving to us as a sign that something is out of balance, mentally or physically or often both. However, we usually ignore it, or don’t have time to deal with it because “I’m too busy”.
I often wonder why attention to our diet and wellbeing goes out the window when we’re busy, rather than the other way around, when we need it the most?!
The mind and the body are connected, in more ways than we fully understand yet, for what we eat impacts how we feel and what we think impacts us physically. If you don’t believe me, think about a time when you were either really excited or really nervous about something. Perhaps you felt nauseous, had a fluttering feeling in your stomach or could feel your heart pounding in your chest … all of which are physical reactions to the thought of “I’m excited” or “I’m nervous”.
We also know that stress affects our gut microbiome and reduces the levels of good bacteria both in diversity and numbers!
As for food, certain foods contain important amino acids which the body converts into important neurotransmitters (brain chemicals), or when we are dehydrated it can increase our cortisol levels and make stress worse. 
I often to say to my clients, start with water. Remember, you’re already stressed so start making small changes to your diet and lifestyle in order that they end up as big ones otherwise you’ll just feel overwhelmed, will fail after a few weeks!
We can (apparently) survive weeks without food but just days without water so if you’re not staying hydrated then start here.
The best way to tell if you’re hydrated? The colour of your urine!