Overcome Stress

Key Take Away:

  • Just as physically your body can only take so much stress, the mind has limits as well. 

  • Just like you plan out rest days to allow your body to recover you need to employ strategies to refresh your mind  

  • Some simple tips for staying emotionally fit include following your purpose, being grateful and staying active.

Stress doesn’t have to overwhelm you

Stress doesn’t have to overwhelm you

I understand that this may not be the sexiest topic in the world, but I think it's worth covering. And I promise to hit a workout by the end.

When we talk about staying emotionally fit really we're talking about effective strategies for managing stress.  I'm not saying that all stress is negative. Some stress in your life is a good thing. When you workout you are stressing your muscles and causing growth to occur in order to compensate for the stress you're placing on the body. In much the same way, stress can also force you into a place of growth. That said, knowing when you're getting close to the breaking point can save you a lot of heartache and pain later down the road.  

When you're stressed your heart rate increases, breathing becomes shallow, muscles tighten especially around the shoulders and neck, and your blood pressure will rise. Much of this is uncontrollable and is your bodies reaction to prepare to fight or run.

Signs and Symptoms of being over stressed:

  • Moody, quick to anger or react, over reacting to normally small situations

  • Feeling like you're losing control

  • Can't relax

  • Feelings of low self worth

  • Wanting to be alone 

  • Inability to focus

  • Clenched jaw, specifically on the right side

If you let these feelings of stress go for too long it can be detrimental in a number of ways. Not only can you quickly sink into depression which can impact your job and relationships, you may also see a number of physical hits as well.

Physical impacts of stress:

  • Obesity is linked to high chronic stress, (while this may be a chicken and egg situation, it is still worth noting) 

  • Because of the impact of stress on blood pressure and increased heart rate you are also putting your heart at risk

  • The last one is bad enough but it can also lead to sexual dysfunction issues such as impotence and lack of desire 

  • Loss of energy to complete workouts or even workout at all

So now that we know what to look for and the impacts if we don't, let's get into what to do about it when you start feeling too stressed out.

The action plan:

  1. Keep a gratitude journal-I recommend starting your day by writing down 5-10 things you are grateful for in the past 24 hours. We will find what we look for. When you start the day looking for the positive you'll keep that with you all day.  

  2. Look ahead-In the midst of a high stress period it can often feel like things are always going to be like this.  Try taking a moment or two out of your day to imagine where you want to be 3 years from now.  Be specific and really visualize it. How do you feel, what do you look like, who's with you.  I recommend doing this right before you go to sleep. It will help your brain internalize the visualization. 

  3. Take a minute to breathe-Check out for 60 seconds and simply focus on breathing.  Follow your breath in and then out. Just notice how the air feels against your nose and throat going in and then out.  Set a timer and focus for 60 seconds.  If your brain wanders, simply bring it back to your breath.  If breath is too much to focus on, select any object and just notice it, appreciate that it exists and move on. Being mindful of the moment can often create clarity in that moment and help to reduce stress in the immediate situation giving your mind and body a moment of reprieve. 

  4. Exercise-Simply get active for 10-15 minutes, even better if you can do that outside. When you're active you will release feel good chemicals in your body like dopamine and serotonin. This will help to buffer some of the effects of stress. Sometimes, instead of looking at a workout as beneficial in the future sense, reminding yourself of the immediate impact will help get you going. We all love an opportunity to embrace something positive now and not delaying gratification. 

Some stress is good for you. It can help you know when something isn't quite right and needs to change, force growth and helps you prepare for events beyond the scope of control. That said, too much can be damaging. Being able to recognize when you are getting too stressed can help you lessen the impact and may even help you turn a negative situation into a positive.

Alright, I promised a workout, it is fit Friday after all. Here we go:

(2 rounds)

10 - Close grip push-ups (left)

10 - Single leg push-ups (right)

10 reps - Single leg squat (left)

10 reps - Single leg squat (right)

14 reps - Pilates backbow

Group 2 (2 rounds)

14 reps - Supine Pushup

14 reps - Pilates shoulder bridge prep (left)

14 reps - Pilates shoulder bridge prep (right)

14 reps - Pilates side hip raise (left)

14 reps - Pilates side hip raise (right)

Group 3 (2 rounds)

14 reps - Inverted pushup

10 reps - Lateral jumps

14 reps - Jackknife crunch

Group 4 (2 rounds)

8 reps - Pullups

12 reps - Side plank with leg raise (left)

12 reps - Side plank with leg raise (right)

10 reps - Windshield Wipers

So there you have it. When you can recognize the stress you can work to over come it. We want you to be the best you ever. If you like what we're doing, please share it and subscribe.