Stressed out older woman
By the way, this isn't a picture of me but a representation of how I felt when stressed out.  Can you relate to it as well?

Illness & Stress: A Coach's Tale

 How does stress affect our health? I decided to investigate further because the women in transition I have coached are all under a lot of stress as they redefine their lives. 

I have always intellectually understood an overabundance of stress is "bad" for us. Notice I said "intellectually." Until recently, I had no idea how much stress affected my health. Now I understand I have been under chronic stress almost since birth. Hard to believe? Well, that's probably why I didn't get it until now; I couldn't accept it applied to me.

I won't go into many details, but I had a challenging childhood; I married at 18, divorced at 29, and divorced another couple of times. In between was a tremendous amount of work, both as a wife and mother and as a working woman and student. Sometimes, I did all four at once. Foolish me, I had no idea what I was doing to my body or my life to come. Self-care was merely a concept designed for other "lazy" people. Or so I thought. Fifty years later, I finally got it; self-care is my priority.

According to the American Institute of Stress,  the alarming truth about stress is as follows:

  1. Stress is the #1 cause of disease in America.
  2. 75 - 90% of all doctor visits are stress-related.
  3. Chronic stress is a primary cause of the breakdown of the body's hormone, immune, digestive, detoxification, and metabolic systems.
  4. According to the Mayo Clinic, long-term, direct effects of chronic stress include heart disease, hypertension, stroke, depression; immune suppression and immune disorders; head, chest, and back pain; digestive problems; and sleep problems.

I can count at least five of those that have been a problem for me until now. How many of the above health problems do you have?

So, what can we do about it?

First,  become aware of your stressors. Notice when you stop breathing openly and regularly; when are you holding your breath? This is a signal that stress is in your body. When you notice this, stop what you're doing, close your eyes, and ask your unconscious mind to find the part of your body holding the stressor. Breathe into that part of the body and ask what's causing the feeling. It may be fear, worry, anger, deadlines you feel you can't get the idea.

Now, write it down. Begin to create some strategies that will remove the cause of the stress. If you need help with this, get an accountability partner or a coach (of course, I'm biased toward coaching).

Next, take some of the following steps to alleviate the stress:

  1. Take time daily to relax and even meditate. Regular meditation has been shown to improve the brain's neurology.
  2. Practice deep breathing: Take a deep breath in through your nose for a count of 6, hold for a count of 2, and exhale slowly through your mouth with your tongue against the back of your teeth to a count of 6. Do this until you feel a sense of calm and centeredness.
  3. Be focused on the Present; be here and now. The past is a dream, and the future is yet to be created from our present moments.
  4. Get good quality sleep; at least 7 hours a night. 

I once attended an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) Health Practitioner class reunion where one of the subjects we explored was the effect of stress on our long-term health. Because of my own experience, I wanted to share this information with you in the hope you will find some value in it and begin to apply it in your own life. Start earlier in life to have a longer, healthier, happier life. Start any time; it's never too late for self-care, loving your body, and caring for it.

 Are you loving and caring for your body as it deserves? If not, what has stopped you up until now?

 So, what do you do to de-stress?

Post your answer at   I'd love to hear what you have to say!



Rina Kansagra is a Doctor of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of wellness, which translates to "the science of life/longevity." Her practice, Ananta Ayurveda, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, provides online and in-person holistic wellness support, including personalized guidance regarding nutrition, herbal remedies, breathwork, meditation, and plant medicine to support digestion, women's health, anxiety, chronic pain, and more.

In her practice, she uses Ayurvedic assessment to understand the root cause of her patient's symptoms of dis-ease and address them at their core. Wellness plans will typically begin with optimizing digestion and include recommendations related to your diet, lifestyle, and daily routine.

Rina also recommends customized Ayurvedic herbal formulations and spiritual practices, including meditation and breathwork. Ultimately, her goal is to enable clients to take charge of their own health, empowering them with the tools and education they need to understand and navigate their health journeys.   

As part of her Doctorate program in Ayurveda, Rina completed her thesis on women's hormones from an Ayurvedic perspective. She is well-versed in the time-tested tools that Ayurveda holds to promote vitality and support a healthy and graceful aging process. Check out her website,, for more details.




To the woman whose get up and go, has well and truly gone.

This is for you.

This is to remind you whose daughter you are.

This is to remind you, that you don't have to be everything to everyone, every day.

You didn't sign up for that.

Remember when you used to laugh? Sing? Throw caution to the wind?

Remember when you used to forgive yourself more quickly for not always being perfect.

You can get that back again.

You really can.

And that doesn't have to mean letting people down or walking away.

It just means being kinder to you, feeling brave enough to say no sometimes.

Being brave enough to stop sometimes.

And rest.

It starts the moment you realise that you're not quite who you used to be. Some of that is good, some of that is not.

There are parts of you that need to be brought back.

And if anyone in your life is not okay with that… they are not your people. Your people will be glad to see that spark starting to light up again.

So, if you have been slowly fading away my friend, this is the time to start saying yes to things that bring you joy and no to things that don't.

It's really pretty simple.

©Donna Ashworth

from 'To The Women' on Amazon:



 MY ASK...

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Taru Fisher
Alive! Fitness Studio LLC/Seasons of Life Coaching