Stress Management

How much does stress suck!?!?

In my late 20s, stress sent me to hospital. Late nights, early mornings trying to get ahead in my finance career, I was working myself into the ground, stressed every day and not coping. I didn’t say no to anything or anyone, and just kept trying to do more and more.

Passions of mine like exercise and eating started to suffer, I was too busy for any of that!! I did such a good job of running myself into the ground that contracting glandular fever alone was not enough, my body thought combining that with the adult version of chickenpox might wake me up to what I was doing to myself. Those illnesses and the loss of 16kg of body weight plus the corresponding mental breakdown that came with it was a defining point in my life. N E V E R again was I going to let that happen.

10 plus years later, I’d like to think anyone that knows me or has met me in that time would reflect on how relaxed I am. This week I wanted to share some tips that helped me along the way, plus things I do now to stay relaxed and calm MOST of the time. Like most things in life, I don’t get it right all the time.

Stress is part of life – we all have stresses and anxieties. Accepting that is the first step, you can’t avoid it and most of the time you can’t control it. Ever look at people and think “easy for you, you don’t know what stress is” – chances are they do, they just respond better to it.

Awareness – if you feel yourself getting stressed, take action early, more on that below, but look for actions that will halt that spiral before you get too dizzy!!

Don’t dwell on the stress – think about how you’re going to address the situation. Traffic is shit? Train got cancelled? Call ahead if it’s going to make you late. That’s all you can control right?

Traffic is shit for the 3rd time this week? Get out of bed earlier. Control what you can control.

S T O P – you must must must find time each day and each week to stop. How that looks could be anything and is covered in part in the habits suggested below. Apps like Headspace have a whole series of short reset meditations you can listen to.

T A L K – I refer to the circle of 5 a lot – influential people in your life will listen and sometimes just getting it off your chest or saying out loud might present you with a solution, plus it’s not just running around your mind then. Another thing people would say about me is that I LOVE a chat – being open with people has been huge in managing my stress as best I can.

E V A L U A T E your daily habits and routines. In the fitness world, long term success boils down to consistent effort and application over an extended period – managing stress is no different, you need to work at it. Back in my corporate days, I’d keep a glass on my desk rather than a huge water bottle, every time I drank the glass I’d go to the kitchen and refill it – and use that time to switch off and just stop.

More habits

  • don’t look at your email for the first hour of the day. Are you going to deal with your priorities first or someone else’s???
  • get your body moving! Park 2 blocks further away from work, head out at lunch, hit the gym, walk your dog – commit to movement every day
  • Sort your nutrition out, skipping lunch cos your too busy is never a long term win. Have some protein powder, greens powder and your shaker handy, hunger pains and lack of nutrients add to your stress!!
  • Slow down – get an email that gets under your skin? Close it and reply to it later, speaking from direct experience, your immediate response is often not your most constructive

Hard conversations = easy life – I have had a lot more of these in the last 10 years than the 10 years before that, not saying something just because it’s hard leaves you with the burden/stress/frustration/whatever!! Yes not all of these conversations will go super well, but I have been better for it in the long run!!

Just like my training tips, I will keep posting the odd tip to help with stress management. What do you do to manage your stresses??

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