Get Your Boom Back!
Dr Veerle Van Tricht MD
I recently had a chat with Angela K Wright co-founder of Get your Boom! Back which is a company selling supplements for people who want to feel calm, energised, and in control. Angela particularly wanted to speak to me about how to recover from, and prevent becoming a victim of chronic stress.
AKW: If you don’t get chronic stress under control it can result in burnout which is particularly prevalent in professionals – such as medical professionals, service men and women. When the stress triggers build up too much your body goes into shutdown to protect itself. We don’t want to get to that stage but it is so easy for things to go wrong. Latest reports show that 80% of people in the western world are dealing with the effects of chronic stress. Dr V, can you talk to us about stress and chronic burnout as I know that is one of your particular areas of expertise?
Dr V: For the last 10 years I have been studying how people can avoid burnout. We are constantly stressed in our society by traffic, by technology and you are never really alone anymore, for instance, our phones alert us when someone rings or if we receive an email. So we are constantly busy, busy and find it hard to turn off and I teach people, how to turn all of this off. I had burnout 15 years ago, it was so bad, I couldn’t walk and was in a wheelchair. I lost my job and had to leave the country and I decided that I had to find out how to heal myself as the doctors did not know what to do with me and there was no help available. I have 2 missions;
- I want to help people avoid chronic stress and learn how they can support their body so that they don’t get burnout.
- I have an online programme where I actually get people out of burnout. It is a huge problem and stress causes so many diseases.
AKW: Can you talk about why you think so many people are struggling with chronic stress and how that can lead to burnout?
Dr V: Whereas before, people would go home after work and relax, take the weekend off, now with technology, we are constantly being inundated with social media, emails etc. Also, there is not enough nutrition in our food and we need to supplement ourselves. Food is not grown in the same way as it was 100 years ago and the minerals in the soil are not there anymore and we are exposed to so many toxins. Food can contain chemicals and antibiotics are given to animals, so even if we think the food we are eating is healthy, it might not be. We need to balance this out. Physical exercise is good for us because when you go for a run or a fast walk, your body releases stress hormones and the tension from your body.
AKW: What you have said there is really important. I was reading some research recently about animals. We have all seen the David Attenborough clip where a lizard is surrounded by snakes and the lizard manages to escape and scamper away over the rocks. So the thing with animals is that when they have a huge fright they run away and what science has now discovered is that the stress hormones, the cortisol, when these are triggered, if you don’t physically get up and move with a high intensity movement like running, you don’t get rid of those stress hormones and they build up in our bodies. When you run for your life, the stress hormones are flushed out of your body yet when we have a fright people are likely to say ‘have a cup of tea’ or ‘lie down’.
I know that you deal with a lot of medical professionals in your work is that right?
Dr V: Medical professionals are under constant stress as they deal with life and death issues. Plus patients come in with pain, anxiety, fear which rubs off on the medical people they encounter. Wherever I work I try to create a happy environment. I play nice music and talk to my patients when they are anxious, perhaps ask them about the best holiday they have had to try to take their mind off to a nice place. You work in a place where there is a lot of emotion, there are chemicals and radiation and often an overload of work with too little staff. They feel they have no control, they can’t cope and have no energy and start to worry about making medical mistakes. This is the reason I talk to medical students, doctors and nurses because they don’t ask for help and if you are exhausted mistakes will be made which can be very serious for them and the patient. I had a colleague who was a couple of years older than me who just dropped dead one day. He had previously told me that he could not continue working as he had too many patients and was under a lot of stress. So it is important that we take care of ourselves both inside and outside.
AKW: You are talking about people who have fatalities or near misses through stress and overwork. One of my family members had a very near miss last week. He was complaining about indigestion and went and got it checked out and they rushed him into hospital to operate. His arteries were so blocked that one of them was 90% and another was 80% and if he hadn’t gone in then he would probably just have dropped dead of a heart attack. It is so important to take good care of yourself as if you don’t look after yourself you cannot properly look after anyone else.
Please go into a bit more depth about how to look after yourself.
Dr V: I am a great believer in staying away from toxins. For instance my biggest dislike is tobacco smoke and they have now found that those vape cigarettes are toxic. Anyone who lives with a smoker will have their life expectancy reduced and even pets can get mouth cancer from licking the smoke from their fur. I studied longevity and in Monaco the life expectancy is 90 years, in the States it is around 78 years but there are certain cities where life expectancy is only 65 years and that is mainly because of the polluted environment. So the answer is to move out of those cities and live where you are surrounded by trees, with clean water, clean air and space. I am also trying to get rid of all my plastic containers because the chemicals they are made from goes into your food. So I buy glass containers to take my food to work. You also need to have a good night’s sleep as poor sleep shortens your life. If you work night shifts and are unwell you will feel better if you stop working night shifts because your hormonal axis gets confused if you are up at night and then sleep when it is light.
AKW: How many hours sleep do you say people need?
Dr V: I would say between 7 and 9 hours. For me, I find 7 hours is enough and it is good for your system to have a routine if you go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. It is good for your hormonal system when you do that. I know that you have an e-book about sleep?
AKW: I do, it is called Eat Sleep and Energy with lots of useful tips in it. You are absolutely right, sleep is so important and my mum used to say to me ‘an hour before midnight is worth two afterwards’. In fact there is some research that proves that is actually true.
Dr V: We have talked about things to avoid and what I like to teach my clients to implement, is regular exercise. It does not have to be a marathon but just 10,000 steps a day is enough. Having pets is really good for you because the hormones you produce when you pet a cat or a dog are the ones which make you feel relaxed. For people who don’t have another person to cuddle a pet is a good option. However the best answer for longevity is not exercise or what you eat but to have a community which supports you. A study from Scandinavia found that in couples when one partner died, the remaining partner did not survive long afterwards probably because they did not look after themselves and also due to lack of care and support. The report found that people live a lot longer in strong communities because they care of each other so well.
AKW: Yes, this morning I attended a breakfast at my husband’s coastguard organisation and it was a really lovely event and again it is a community. It is so nice to be a part of a group or community like that. It is about doing as much as you can to be part of a group or community as it makes a great deal of difference to one’s wellbeing.
It has been really wonderful to see you Dr V and thank you. 80% of the population are suffering from chronic stress and a lot of people are experiencing burnout but as you say, there are things you can do to prevent it
Dr V’s top tips for Living a Longer Life are:
- Avoid cigarette smoke
- Live in a clean, green, environment and reduce your use of plastic
- Exercise daily
- Ensure you get plenty of sleep
- Get involved in your local community
If you think that You Are On The Edge Because Of Chronic Stress do get in touch with me as I can help you to regain a balanced, happy and rewarding life.
If you would like to learn how to get better sleep have a look at my blog 10 Commandments of Sleeping Well
You may also be interested in reading my book ‘My Surgeon Talks to Angels: A Journey From Science to Faith’ which is available from Amazon
If you think that you are on the edge of Burnout do get in touch with me as I can help you to regain a balanced, happy and rewarding life.
You can contact me via my Facebook page( feel free to join the community of open minded caring souls)