This morning I woke up feeling like crap. I’m after playing a weekend of shows with Sliotar, and last night helping a someone dear to me on some writing work until four in the morning. I have a small reoccurring neurological “inconvenience” that pops up once in every few years. It’s something that runs in the family on my father’s side. I am not really good at the terminology of the details, but I’ll explain it to you as simply as I understand it my self. Basically the tracks where your nerves from your brain travel to your hands are just small bit too tight. Most of the time this is not a problem at all, but in my late father it resulted in his hand being paralysed for several months.
Now as I am a musician, my hands are my livelihood, this can be a bit of a concern. But I have done my research and personal experiments on the subject, and I know how to manage it. Ample supply of vitamin B12 is vital, which I learned the hard way in the past during a year I lived on a vegetarian diet. Also a doctor who was an expert on the subject and ran some tests on me twenty years back, explained that excessive pressure on the shoulders can trigger it, which was the case with my dad and his cousin. So I try to make sure, my shoulders stay strong enough, kind of natural padding around the nerves 😉
But still one of the biggest triggers for it seems to be the good old stress. And this morning I woke up with pins and needles all along the outside of both of my arms and hands. It usually is the first alarm. The good thing is I’ve become so good at recognising the first symptoms that when they come on, I know exactly what to do (combination of vitamins and dietary changes usually sort it out in a day or two).
But this long explanation finally is leading us to what I really wanted to talk about 😉 In away I am lucky, I have these warning signs that go off when I am too stressed. Most of us don’t. Most of us keep running on the hamster wheel, until they eventually fall off due to much more long-lasting consequences. Stress is not just a side effect of working too hard, it can be a real killer! It plays havoc on your central nervous system, your cardiovascular system, your respiratory system, your digestive system, it beats the crap out of your immune system and can kill your sex drive, which in return is extremely counterproductive as a good sex has proven to be a wonderful reliever of stress.
You need to learn to recognise when you are stressed and learn to do something about it. If the stress is caused by something small that you have been meaning to do for a while, obviously getting it finally done can help a lot, but these days many of us are under a constant stress through work, or even personal life. While you do need to deal with the root cause of the stress, there are some things that will help a lot in the management of it as well.
The first thing is diet. When we are rushing all the time, we end up eating crap on the go. If you fuel your body with proper nutritious food, and stay off the sugars, you will be able to deal with the stress much better. The next thing is the age-old exercise. Don’t worry I am not telling you to run a marathon, but even just making the effort of adding little bit more walking in to your day can make a huge difference. And I am sure you are fully aware the value of good sleep. Sleep is when your body rejuvenates and gets ready for the next days battles, and if you skimp on it you will pay the price… Also don’t underestimate the value of being well hydrated, and water is your only friend here. Last but not least, as I mentioned before research has time and time again proven that sex does relieve stress, even though it might be the last thing in your mind when you are stressed. Sometimes making an effort for the sake of making an effort is worth it 😉
The overpowering grip of stress can make life surprisingly dark. And when it does get dark, it is hard to see why everything got so dark. It is hard to see the way out. But the above tools are surprisingly powerful. And as I mentioned before, I almost feel lucky to have these physical warning signs and in a way it allows me to push my self harder. If I don’t know my limits, my body will tell me. Beat the stress before it beats you.
More reading on the effects of stress on our body go HERE
And more reading about the link between sex and stress go HERE
The author J.P. Kallio is a singer songwriter
To get EIGHT of his songs for free go HERE