STRESS & WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR HEALTH
“ Its not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you choose to carry it.”
~ Lou Holts
Stress is inevitable in our lives. A balanced life between the demands of work, family, friends and other factors is a stressful life. Stress can take the shape of:
- Fear of the unknown
- Paying bills
- Late nights, early mornings
- Relationship problems (Spouse conflict, family conflict)
- Not enough time to perform tasks
- Lack of performance in life (Job, spouse etc)
- Anxiety etc..
FACT: YOU WILL HAVE STRESS IN YOUR LIFE
The list is endless… if stress is inevitable and we KNOW we are going to have to deal with the magnitude of it, why not learn to understand it and better equip ourselves to deal with it in an effective way.
What is stress and why does it matter?
Stress can show up in a million possible ways. Stressors can be acute or chronic and can appear in a wide range of severity.
While both acute and chronic stress offer strain on the individual both mentally and emotionally, the effect of the physiological health is interesting to note as well.
Some physiological effects of stress include:
• Heart disease
• Increased inflammation in the body
• High blood pressure
• Heart attacks
• Suppressed immune function (which provides for countless other diseases to take place
• Weight gain
• Hormonal imbalances
How to combat stress?
There are many ways to overcome stress and the negative effects that it brings forth.
One of the most influential ways to combat stress is to be involved in a social environment.
Supporting others and being supported by others is an incredible benefit to having a healthy social life.
(Personal Note: One of the things I love most about coaching is getting to know my clients and co-workers on a personal level. Having a listening ear, getting to know them and what’s going on in their life is an incredible privilege, they quickly become friends and are some of my favorite people in my life. They contribute to a vast social platform for me to help feel supported and help me feel less stressed)
The community at both CrossFit Markham and Reebok CrossFit East Woodbridge are so contagious. It is a community of like-minded individuals all pushing each other to be the best versions of themselves. Members quickly become friends and have a family like bond with each other. It is very unique and quickly evident when you jump into a class at either location.
Another great way to eliminate the side effects of stress is exercise. Exercise is advantageous both mentally and physically.
The release of endorphins through exercise have an incredible influence on our bodies. Endorphins contribute to pleasurable emotions, eliminating the negative feelings associated with a stressful day.
Next time you feel stressed, go work out for an hour then re-approach the problem at hand. Trust me, you will feel much more equipped to take on the demands of a stressful day.
When we get a lack of sleep our prefrontal cortex has trouble working and thus much of our response to decisions in life come from an emotional state rather than logical state.
~Ever been around someone tired and noticed how cranky and irrational they are!? ~lol,
Sleep has tremendous importance in regulating hormones and equipping us to handle the stress of life in the most effective manor.
Also, important to mention, that, when we sleep our minds and our muscles recover. Just like an over trained athlete. Diminished recovery = diminished performance. The same is true of our brains.
- Get at least 8 hours of sleep per night
- Limit screen usage before bedtime
- Have a dark place to sleep (eliminate night lights or electronic device lights)
- Try relaxation methods before bed
- Limit caffeine intake throughout the day
Nutrition plays a huge part in our stress management. Eating right will ensure your best equipped to meet the demands of life.
- Eat real food (avoid processed junk) Remember:
“Meats & veggies, nuts and seeds, some starch, little fruit and no sugar”-Glassman
- Don’t miss a meal (busy lives mean busy schedules- don’t miss a meal by not planning)
- Limit your caffeine intake (the busier you are doesn’t mean the more coffee you get)
- Find a meal plan or seek nutritional counseling ( Proenergy Nutrition) if you need some support
- Food prep so your ready for your stressful days ahead
Find time to relax. It is important to unwind from time to time and give our minds some much needed rest. It is easy to get caught up in the race of life and feel guilty for “not” finding something to do when you do have a moment to spare. Stop. Breath, and embrace it.
Allowing yourself some rest, will make you better at what it is your tackling that day.
Imagine operating at 20-30% of capacity all the time. Things get done poorly, relationships suffer, your not happy, etc. By giving yourself 20-30 minutes to unwind, or to do something that “fills your cup”, you will perform better in many areas in your life. You may even save the time spent “unwinding” and be further ahead than if you stuck it through, dragging your feet in the mud stressed out for the entire day.
A great APP you may want to check out is called HEAD SPACE, and is essentially, meditation for extreme beginners. It walks you through what to do, how to breath and shift your thoughts to help slow your heart rate and relax you. The APP has meditation sessions in as little as 5 minutes as well.
Stress is inevitable in life. “Its not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you choose to carry it.” ~Lou Holts
It is a choice in how you respond to the stressors of life. Don’t accept defeat and worry your life away, instead get to the gym, sweat through a class alongside fellow like minded people, high five your buddies after a PR, celebrate life together, get a good night sleep, eat right, smile often and be the best version of yourself regardless of what comes in your way!
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