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Managing stress on the job

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We all know stress is bad, but how it affects just about every facet of our health is actually pretty astounding.

Prolonged or chronic stress can affect your body, your thoughts, your emotions, and even your behavior patterns. Stress can cause physical symptoms like headaches, stomach aches, chest pain, low libido, sleep disturbances, weight loss and weight gain, just to name a few. Emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and suicidal thoughts can also be triggered from extreme stress.

Sure, life gets stressful for everyone from time to time, and as long as stress is managed in a healthy and productive way, we remain healthy and steer clear of some of the scary health issues associated with chronic stress. Actually, some stress is “good” and even necessary. We don’t change unless we are forced too. For example, without working out and applying “stress” to the muscles, we don’t ever change and grow lean muscles. When we are under a deadline to get in a project for a new promotion, we are pushing ourselves to better our future. Stress can be good! That “pain” or struggle is a catalyst for change!

It’s when stress becomes too much or goes unchecked that we throw our health into jeopardy. Some careers actually tend to be much more stressful than others in more ways than one. My husband, for example, is a firefighter. These guys work 24 hour days as first responders. Some days that means very little if any sleep at all. Furthermore, these guys train hard. Their gear alone weighs 100lbs! It’s not uncommon for them to spend five, six, seven or more hours on a fire. They sacrifice their own mental and physical health on the job every shift. Then they come home and while some may go right to sleep, others have a second job, a wife and kids, or some other obligation that doesn’t allow for the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep. Furthermore, most guys suffer from irregular sleep cycles just due to the broken sleep they get every third day on shift! My husband is so used to jumping up at the sound of any alarm bell multiple times a night, that he has a hard time falling and staying asleep for more than a few hours at a time and talk about an adrenaline surge!!

Naturally, our cortisol levels are supposed to be the highest in the morning to wake us up and get us going for the day. They then peak about mid morning and start to taper off into the evening to prepare us for rest. Well, these guys are forced awake at all hours of the night and the need to be up and energized for whatever call they just received! It certainly messes with their cortisol and adrenals!

As the wife of a fireman, I am constantly working to find ways to alleviate my husband’s added stressors. I know very well how detrimental these chronically elevated levels of stress can be to his health! I want him to stick around a while! Protea’s Stress Defy’s most prevalent ingredient is L-Tyrosine, an amino acid essential in the production of dopamine, norepinephrine and adrenaline. These neurotransmitters are critical for heathy brain and body function. When they run low so does focus, memory and cognition. The last thing I want is my guy going into a fire without his mental focus!

L-tyrosine is not a stimulant, but it may help with endurance; something these guys need when out on calls! It may also help with fatigue as well and helping to wind down in the evenings in preparation for sleep. 

Other ingredients in Stress Defy are Relora, Rhodiola extract, ashwagandha root, holy basil extract, theanine and turmeric. All of which have been shown to help reduce anxiety-induced stress. I don’t know what all these guys see on the job as first responders, and I don’t want to know. However, I am certain it has to wear on them both mentally and physically. So having a way to naturally manage these emotions is critical to their body, their mind, and overall health.

Article written by Protea Nutrition athlete Kristen Maynard

The contents of this blog should not be taken as medical advice.  It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem-nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician.  Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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