Stress is terrible on the body, but only if it is chronic. In states of acute stress, it’s beneficial— but acute stress isn’t what most folks are dealing with now. Back in the cavemen days, though, it’s what kept us alive. If we saw a tiger our sympathetic nervous system, aka “fight or flight”, would get activated and the only thing that mattered was our survival, which meant shunting blood away from vital organ systems to our muscles instead so we could literally run for our lives. Our nervous system didn’t care about the food in our stomach, making a baby, or fighting off the bacterial infection we have— because if the tiger got us, it was all over. So our sympathetic nervous system makes it possible for us to GTFO and live another day, and when that happened, it would switch over to the parasympathetic nervous system, aka “rest and digest”. This would then give circulation back to all the other organs, so you can digest your food, have a libido, mount an immune response, etc.
Unfortunately, nowadays, that tiger is the news, social media, work, etc— and you know it never really goes away. So we are left with chronic stress that makes it difficult to have a fully functioning immune system (among other things). Then we go on vacation, decreasing stress significantly (in most cases), and bam we get sick. That’s because the sympathetic nervous system is no longer surpassing your immune system.
All this to say, stress management is incredibly important. We cannot make our stress go away completely, but we can do things to put a hold on it, so we can be in a rest and digest phase. Here are a few of my favorites: exercise (no surprise there), meditation, deep belly breathing, laughing, and play (do things you enjoy).