Stress… the ugly word that is lurking in majority of us causing a plethora of health problems. While some stress is good for you, too much can cause health problems such as; decreased immune system, poor posture, lack of mobility, high blood pressure, digestive issues, lack of sleep, irritability, and many more. Typically stress is caused by adding too much onto your daily life with not enough time to achieve all of the tasks. (Raise your hand if you could use at least 2 more hours in the day!?) It can also be caused by irregularities in your diet, as well as too frequent/ intense exercise. Today we are mainly going to focus on stressors caused by having too much to do!
So, because basically everyone has some sort of stress going on in their life, how the heck are you supposed to manage it?
I’ll share with you some of my go to techniques and tips and tricks that allow me to keep going without crashing and burning. Keep in mind, for those that don’t know me, I am a natural introvert with some perfectionistic tendencies and I like to feel in control of my life. With that being said, these things that work for me, might not work for you, and thats OKAY! If you want tailored ideas of way to manage your stress shoot me an email/ message and we can work on what works for you 🙂
Being a fitness professional you are scheduled by the hour and every minute counts. With only 5 minutes between each client you must plan your schedule wisely in order to allow you to succeed. I not only live off of my work schedule but I also keep an old school pen and paper planner to help guide me on my daily/ weekly commitments. Scheduling things out make me feel like a zen buddha compared to when I’m in uncertainty mode and feeling like a lost puppy.
If you were to take a look at my schedule right now you will see exactly when I am working, when I have a doctor appointment coming up (I finally remembered to schedule one of those annual physicals.. whoops!), and chances are I also have it marked off when I will be working out, letting out the dogs, riding my horse, cleaning my apartment… you get the idea.
Along with your schedule you can keep track of little reminders/ “to-do’s” to keep you on track for what you need to accomplish each day. I’ll typically do little lists the night before so I am not waking up at 3am thinking “oh right, I need to do x,y, and z”. I personally find it is best to write a large to do list and then break it down into each day that you will be doing portions of that list. Majority of the time you don’t need to run all errands at once so it may be best to break it up into convince for what will work best for you that particular day. Breaking it up can also allow for those errands to feel a bit more manageable.
Overwhelmed? FEEL IT and MOVE ON
Now that you’ve written your schedule you might have that feeling of everything coming at you at one time and feeling helpless in that moment. That overwhelming feeling where you just want to cry, get frustrated, vent to a friend, or sulk in your own petty party. I have 100% been there! And guess what, its OKAY!! These emotions are completely normal and if you bottle those up you’ll end up exploding later!
I typically like to allow myself the rule of having my moment of emotion and feeling “all the feels”, for only a few hours maximum. Once I have let it all out, I make my plan and move on!
The point is to allow yourself that time because if you do not allow yourself to feel those emotions they will come out later. Typically at a time that you definitely don’t want them to come out. For example, how many of us have gotten into fights with our friends or significant others about things that were so mediocre but were really about something ages ago that still bothered you? Don’t let that happen, especially not at work!
Allowing some time to feel emotion also allows you to process information and be a able to view different angles of the situation a little better. It is so easy to have a quick reaction to something but once you sit down and think about it you realize that maybe its not quite as bad as you had imagined.
Make sure that the amount of time that you are feeling these emotions is limited. You do not want to be stuck in a slippery slope of feeling angry at a situation. Deriving a productive plan at how you will approach whatever situation is coming at you will allow you to be more level headed and calm. Adding a few moments of meditation in there will allow for an even better outcome. We will touch on more mindful approaches to help regulate your stress later.
I constantly hear people say “I’ve been so busy, I haven’t been sleeping.” Sleeping should be a top priority for any individual as it is the time for your body to repair and heal itself. Not only that, but if you are cramming for a test or trying to learn something, or retain information, sleeping well the night before allows that information to sink in and can greatly improve your cognitive ability the next day.
I am one of those people that goes to bed by 9am (sometimes earlier) during the weekdays (sometimes weekends) consistently. I don’t look at my phone after 8pm and any text or email that I get will have to wait until the next day. I enjoy to read at least an hour before I go to bed and this sets me up for a restful sleep and energy when I wake up at 5am or earlier. Whenever I can fit a quick power nap in my schedule I do that as well. At the end of the day your body will function much better mentally and physically with more sleep rather than needing to load up on coffee. During the times that I am busy or stressed sleep might be more interrupted however, I make it even more of a point to not schedule anything too close to my bedtime in order to allow my brain and body the greatest possibility of good sleep.
Make time for YOU
This can be the hardest to achieve during a stressful time as we typically put ourselves on the very bottom list of priorities. When we are in a constant state of stress our bodies physically become tense, our digestive system does not function as properly, and we can experience burn out much quicker then if we allow ourselves a few moments to truly relax. This moment doesn’t have to be a long portion of your time but rather a couple minutes to have to yourself. For example, your workout time is a perfect place to start where you can put your phone on do not disturb and really immerse yourself in your workout. Choosing to watch one episode of a show that makes you laugh is a perfect cap to a stressful day. Or even having an epsom salt bath are all wonderful opportunities to feel like you’re giving yourself a treat. I even utilize the time to walk my dog as a way to have a mini escape. Whether or not things are hectic in my life I leave my phone at home and take him on a stroll practicing gratitude and really being in the moment. Not only do the both of us get exercise but I think it’s a great way to slow time down and appreciate the time we have together (doggie parents will understand!).
Get OUT of your head
Did you all think I was about to go through a whole blog post without talking about meditation!? CLEARLY we need to get to know one another better 🙂
It is so easy to go down the rabbit hole of being in your own thoughts and letting them dictate your whole day during periods of stress (and in life in general if we’re honest). I obviously want you to think and be creative however, I don’t want any negative thoughts to crowd out those ones that will help you succeed. When you are distracted by negativity it is really hard to push past that and realize what creativity is lurking behind that waiting to be exposed and enjoyed!
Practicing meditation allows for you to distinguish the thoughts that are not constructive and in turns helps you focus on those thoughts that are beneficial. If you have never experienced meditation before I have a meditation guide on my website for free, along with gratitude and mindful guides to lead you to success. You can access that here. Gratitude is a wonderful practice to incorporate during this time as it will allow you to see the abundance you have in your life. Stressed because of work? Be grateful that you have a job and money coming in to help support you. Stressed about money problems? Be grateful that you have the certain things that you have, if you need to scale down on some items thats okay! At the end of the day the more you focus on the good things the more you radiate that positive energy and attract more of that positivity into your life.
Unfortunately stress is not something that will ever go away. Until you find healthy ways to manage your stress you will always feel like you can’t get an escape and will be running away from it rather then dealing with it! This can cause major issues down the road in terms of your health. Really work on this, make it a priority, get out of your stressed out cycle and find joy in your life again!