Stress Management Tip #3
When life gives you lemons, keep training.
I work with people in the city who deal with lots of pressure, lots of stress, busy jobs and busy lives. All of this takes its toll on your health.
Time and time again I have seen clients cancelling training sessions citing periods of extreme stress at work or at home. It can seem like the easiest way to carve out more time to complete the stressful task.
In times of increased stress, taking time for yourself and taking time to look after your body is even more important. It helps to fortify your system in the face of this stress. Even when time is the one thing that you feel like you don't have, try to make your training regimen non-negotiable.
This sounds preachy and I can almost see some of you shaking your heads. Don't just take my word for it!
The Mayo Clinic sums up the benefits of exercise during stress nicely:
- It pumps up your endorphins. Physical activity helps bump up the production of your brain's feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins.
- It's meditation in motion. After a fast-paced game of racquetball or several laps in the pool, [or a training session or even just a brisk walk around the block] you'll often find that you've forgotten the day's irritations and concentrated only on your body's movements.
- As you begin to regularly shed your daily tensions through movement and physical activity, you may find that this focus on a single task, and the resulting energy and optimism, can help you remain calm and clear in everything you do.
- It improves your mood. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence, it can relax you, and it can lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety.
- Exercise can also improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress, depression and anxiety.
- All of these exercise benefits can ease your stress levels and give you a sense of command over your body and your life.
If taking the time for a full training session just isn't possible, go outside for a walk, breathe in some fresh air. Clear your head. It's a great reset mechanism. It helps you improve your brain function when you are feeling in a fog and can remove that mental block.
If you do stop training for any reason the most important thing is to remember that it is never too late to start again. You will not be starting from scratch! Don't feel disheartened. You still have that knowledge that you have built up and the muscle memory. You'll be back to your old form before you know it and smashing those goals.
Don't forget, whatever happens, you're doing great.
Further Reading and References:
There are millions of studies showing the positive effects of exercise on stress...
For a simple summary of the benefits, as per above, see the Mayo Clinic article.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America is also a fantastic resource.