Everyone knows what stress is, but very few people know how to undo its effects. Stress can quietly creep into our lives through work, family, finances, and even friends. It’s often easy to try to ignore it, to create unhealthy coping strategies, or to let it get the better of us. We all know that stress is harmful because it leads to heart disease, but we overlook the other benefits to our overall health and well being that come from releasing stress.
Stress can also be responsible for the following:
- Fat: The body releases stress hormones such as cortisol and norepinephrine in situations that it finds potentially dangerous. These hormones impede weight loss and may be the reason that you can’t seem to shed those last few pounds. Stressing about what you eat or weight loss is counterproductive.
- Anxiety: The same stress hormones that are preventing you from shedding fat are causing a fight or flight response in your body that is altering your mood, your productivity, your relationship and your quality of life. The stress response is your body’s way of protecting you from danger, but too much of this will shift your mood to agitation, loneliness, and depression.
- Headaches: Hypertension is a by-product of stress and it may be responsible for your chronic headaches. Stress headaches are caused by lack of sleep, eye strain, or muscular tension caused by anxiety. Working too much, staring at a computer for too long, or allowing things to build up may actually be manifested in stress-related headaches.
- Bad Skin: Stress changes the balance of hormones in your body, wears down your immune system, and can be responsible for outbreaks of acne. This stress-induced hormone imbalance causes your skin to produce excess oil and is contributing to increasing rates of adult acne.
- Early Death: Heart disease is the most common killer from stress , but stress plays a damaging role for those with other diseases. Stress weakens your immune system and leaves your system open to infections, which is particularly dangerous for those with already compromised immune systems due to HIV or treatments for diseases such as cancer or Hepatitis C.
The good news is that stress is manageable and most of the detrimental effects related to stress can be reversed. For those who need a break from their work and family, a stress management retreat offers a relaxing option where you can get advice from professionals which will give you the necessary knowledge to improve the quality of your life and your long-term health and wellbeing.
Stress relief retreats at destination spas typically last from 3 – 14 nights and include relaxation, exercise, and education. Although programmes differ according to the specialty of each spa, most stress management retreats include elements of the following:
- Diet: Detoxifying diets prescribed per body type help to cleanse the body of toxins. There are even specialized foods (including dark chocolate) that will relieve stress from the inside out.
- Fitness: Private training sessions, group exercise, and outdoor activities are a quick way to change your hormonal balance and blow off some steam.
- Yoga: Yoga is a way to focus your mind away from stress, concentrate on your cleansing breathing, and stretch your muscles which relieves tension as well as repressed emotions. The union of body, mind, and spirit is a practice that you can take home with you as well.
- Meditation: Many spas in India or Ayurvedic-based spas also offer lessons on breathing and meditation. Meditation helps the mind from wandering and is an effective way to stop the downward spiral of negative thoughts in stressful situations.
- Cooking Classes: Fun and social, cooking classes give you an opportunity to be light hearted and learn some delicious recipes for a healthy lifestyle. Top chefs regularly share their most popular recipes and teach you about nutrition.
- Massage: Relaxing massages physically remove tension from the body, cleanse the muscles of toxins, and trigger happy hormones to combat the cortisol.
- Pampering Spa Treatments: Body wraps, salt scrubs, aromatherapy, saunas, steam rooms, and whirlpools all help you to feel relaxed, cleansed, and to dilate your blood vessels to fight hypertension. Relaxation causes the body to produce dopamine which makes you feel happy and helps to remove stress hormones from your system.
- Self Discovery: Doctors, specialists, and other spa goers will be a part of your classes, lectures, and group discussions to provide a support net to help you change your life.