Take It from this RN, Mental Health is Health
Need I say more? Probably, and I will!
Our physical health is tied directly too the state of our mental health. If we are not caring for our minds, minimizing our stressors, setting boundaries and constantly running on empty, our bodies are impacted.
Our adrenal glands go into overdrive and Cortisol, aka the stress hormone, levels rise. And when the adrenal glands are constantly pumping out this stress hormone, the following physiological changes occur:
1. Blood sugar levels increase which places a higher demand for insulin regulation on our pancreas. (Note: Eventually the pancreas will tire! Hello Diabetes!)
2. Weight gain, especially in women. Increased Cortisol levels have been directly tied to weight gain as it signals to the body that it’s hungry, and we tend to overeat.
3. Decreased immune response. According to Premier Health, “Cortisol’s positive action to reduce inflammation in the body can turn against you if your levels are too high for too long. The elevated levels may actually suppress your immune system.” Certainly not what we need right now as we head into the winter, a time filled with colds and flu, not to mention Covid!
4. Digestive issues have been tied to increased Cortisol levels as well, including Itritable Bowel Syndrome and Colitis, two diseases that cause many of my patients to lose time with their families and friends due to hospital admissions and inability to be far from bathrooms in times of exacerbations.
5. Heart disease. Again, when our bodies operate in high gear constantly, when blood pressures are continually elevated, and our diets are shaped by false hunger signals with inevitable weight gain, our cardiovascular system is put at risk. Long term effects could be deadly.
So, say it again with me:
“MENTAL HEALTH IS HEALTH!!!!!!!!!!”
Let’s take time to care for ourselves. If you are truly struggling, reach out, talk to someone, and modify your lifestyles. Set boundaries in your life. Remember, no one is going to do it for you, and your job certainly won’t encourage you to, especially during these times with low staff and the higher demands on existing employees.
Your mind is precious, as are you, so show it some tender loving care. Your body will thank you in the end!
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