Group fitness room closure

The group fitness room downstairs will be closed from Monday 10 June to Tuesday 9 July. During this period, classes will be held in alternative locations. For more information, please contact the center.

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Stress is something you may have felt as some point in your life. It’s a common response to tough situations and can affect people differently. Something that may be extremely stressful for one person may be manageable for another.

Stress can also build up over time and, when left unmanaged, may impact our health. While some stress is normal, regular ongoing stress can lead to many risk factors.

How stress impacts our health

Stress can affect us in many ways. It can impact our concentration and the way we think. It may lead to anxiety, anger and tension. It can even affect our behaviour, leading to obsessive compulsive behaviours, nervousness, insomnia, increased drinking and accidents. The longer we feel stress, the greater the demand put on our bodies.

Physical demands of stress

  • Takes up and uses a lot of energy.
  • Can lead to high blood pressure and impact our heart health.
  • Can make us more prone to infections and getting sick.
  • Can lead to chronic fatigue and burnout.
  • Can lead to insomnia which can impact you physically through lack of sleep which can in turn further impact mental health.
  • Change in appetite and eating behaviour.

Mental demands of stress

  • Can lead to anxiety.
  • Can lead to panic disorder or phobias.
  • Can result in anger.
  • Cause short term memory and concentration loss.

Stress and eating habits

Eating is a natural coping mechanism, so our motivation to eat is often higher during negative emotional states. If you’re feeling stressed, you might find yourself craving certain foods and turning to food (and / or alcohol) more than normal.

A food craving is different to just feeling hungry. It’s otherwise known as ‘When your stomach says “full” but your head says “dessert”’. The most common foods to trigger cravings are those that are high in sugar, salt and / or fat.

We can try to prevent temptation by avoiding or minimising expose to these foods, or we can resist the temptation while it’s being experienced. But it’s much easier to avoid than resist!

Avoiding temptation

  • Surround yourself with easily accessible, healthy food and drink options, particularly during times of stress.
  • Ensure there are healthy meals and snacks prepared and ready to go when hunger strikes.
  • Set goals and commit to finding other ways to deal with your stress (see tips below).

Ways to manage stress

By trying a few (or all) of these techniques, you may be able to prevent or reduce any stress you are struggling with.

  • Ensure you eat a variety of plant-based foods which can help boost your mood.
  • Engage in regular physical activity to help prevent or alleviate stress.
  • Schedule time to relax each day and do the things you love and enjoy.
  • Ensure you make time to spend time with loved ones.
  • Have a good sleep routine.
  • Meditate.
  • Get support by talking to a friend, doctor, or psychologist.

Want to know more about your individual requirements? Seek support from an Accredited Practising Dietitian