The Hidden Health Dangers of the Government Shutdown

The Hidden Health Dangers of the Government Shutdown

As a former federal employee, I know firsthand the stress of government work, and as our wellness and chiropractic center is located in an area with many federal employees, I’ve worked closely with government employees and contractors over the years. With the ongoing government shutdown, our center has seen a dramatic increase in health issues in federal workers, government contractors, and their family members.

While most people are aware of how stressful the situation is, being furloughed or forced to work without pay, there are serious health risks associated with this stress.

Dangers of Acute Stress on Federal Workers

Acute stress is short-term stress - it’s the stress we feel when our children are having a difficult time in school, we’re overloaded with deadlines at work, or we’re worried about paying to fix a vehicle. Acute stress triggers the “fight-or-flight” response, which floods the body with adrenaline and cortisol.

While moments of acute stress are natural, continued feelings of acute stress can wreak havoc on your health with symptoms including:

  • Emotional distress, including short temper, anxiety, and depression;

  • Insomnia or difficulty sleeping;

  • Stomach and digestive upset, including acid reflux, heartburn, and nausea;

  • Muscle tension which causes headache, back pain, and increased likelihood of injuring tendons, ligaments, and muscles.

We’re seeing an increase in these symptoms at our center, and it’s not surprising! Missing paychecks, working harder to make up for increased call offs, wondering how the bills will get paid - these are all serious causes of acute stress.

How Acute Stress Becomes Chronic Stress

As the government shutdown drags out, the acute stress and ensuing health problems become more severe. With a stalemate in government and some people suggesting the shutdown could last for months, the stress federal workers face will likely become chronic. Chronic stress is the unrelenting, unceasing stress caused by long-term trauma or difficulty. Extended unemployment, poverty, caring for someone with illness - those are all causes of chronic stress, and long-term job and financial insecurity caused by the shutdown falls under these causes.

With chronic stress, the body continues to release adrenaline and cortisol at a near-constant state. Adrenaline causes your heart rate to speed up and boosts your energy, while cortisol triggers excess glucose release. Over time, these excess hormones damage your immune health, gut health, and cause chronic inflammation throughout the body.  

While the symptoms of acute stress are dangerous, the health conditions stemming from chronic stress are life-threatening. Chronic stress leads to:

  • High blood pressure

  • Chronic inflammation

  • Cancer

  • Heart disease

Surviving Stress During the Government Shutdown

Even while you’re experiencing high levels of stress due to the government shutdown, it’s important to put your health first and do what you can to reduce your stress levels. This will help to ease the debilitating symptoms of stress and reduce the likelihood of chronic illness.

At-Home Tips for Reducing Stress

  • Regular physical activity will allow you to channel your adrenaline and cortisol.

  • Get at least seven hours of sleep at night to help your body heal.

  • Connect with your friends and loved ones.

  • Eat healthy, nourishing meals with whole grains, lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables.

While these tips can keep you healthy and help mitigate stress, many people respond positively with professional wellness assistance. At the Enliven Center, we offer a wide variety of services designed with both physical and mental wellbeing in mind.

Professional Services to Reduce Stress

  • Chiropractic services to ease the tension and relieve pain in your body while aligning your parasympathetic system to reduce the adrenaline and cortisol in your body;

  • Stress reduction therapy in a customized relaxation room that blends light therapy with binaural beats to relax the mind and body. Our Mindspa shows to increase serotonin and endorphins while reducing acute and chronic stress.

  • Nutrition services to end chronic inflammation, boost your immune health, and keep you feeling energized and focused during the shutdown.

Contact Enliven Wellness for Stress Reducing Health Services

If you need assistance with the physical and emotional effects of stress due to the government shutdown, reach out to us at the Enliven Center. We’re here to help you restore and maintain your wellness through holistic and chiropractic treatments.

We understand that during this time, you may be struggling with finances, and we don’t want your copays or deductibles to stand in your way of your health, we will defer payment of copays and deductibles until the government reopens and workers begin receiving their paychecks.

To make an appointment, reach out to us at (304) 933-9355 or fill out our contact form, today!