STRESS: Are you living your most fulfilled life?
ATTENTION; This is a longer article then normal, but it is absolutely critical to read.
Are you reaching the goals that you set out for yourself? Do you feel like you are doing everything possible, but still, you are slightly missing the mark?
EX: Rachel has an expert coach with Nova 3 Performance, she has her nutrition dialed in, and still isn’t achieving the results in the gym she desires. One day Rachel came into the gym with an aura of frustration surrounding her. When asked by her Coach if everything was okay, she just said that everything was fine and survived her workout.
Outside of the gym, she barely slept and she stayed up late, going to bed around 1AM but still getting up at 7AM. Rachel loved her job but there have been so many recent lay offs that she worried she was next, so she focused on putting in additional hours to go above and beyond to prove herself. Rachel also has 3 kids who were constantly busy with activities needing rides to and from, but her husband worked long hours as well, so Rachel was alone most of the time to handle family responsibilities, as well as her own work.
Sound familiar? We all have stress in our lives. Stress is a natural physical and mental reaction to life experiences. How we perceive and respond to stress differs by person. Your body responds to stress by releasing hormones which increase your heart and breathing rate. Short term stress can be beneficial as it helps during potentially serious situations, this issue lays in chronic long-term stress that is not managed properly.
During chronic long-term stress, hormones do not get a break. The CNS (central nervous system) oversees your stress response, also coined ‘fight or flight’. This begins in the brain where the hypothalamus sends a signal to the adrenal glands to release stress hormones; adrenaline and cortisol. These are the hormones that increase your breathing and heart rate. Blood rushes to the areas that need it most, which during a workout would be your muscles. When the perceived stress is gone, your hypothalamus should send a signal to your system to return to normal.
Our world today seems to operate by riding the stress roller coaster. The expectations we force upon ourselves are daunting; to look a certain way, perform a certain way, act a certain way, have a certain job, be the best parent, etc. Where did we find these types of expectations anyways? Most come from the media and propaganda we see, literally everywhere. This ‘keeping up with the Jones’ mindset alone creates additional stress. Totaling up the expectations we have of ourselves along with workplace, family and other mental stressors with the added physical stress of exercise can be a recipe for chronic burnout if not managed properly.
Physical movement is critical to long term health. It also gives us personal fulfillment, which is why we are all here. Understanding how to optimize your stress so that you can live your life to the max within the gym and outside of the gym is the key to long term success in all areas of our life. Even just 5 minutes of stress reducing activities per day can make a crucial difference to your life. Your energy, immunity and health will improve, little adjustments, day by day, week by week, add up to larger long-term changes.
It may not be easy, but it is 100% worth it. You are worth it. Figure out which stress reducing activities work best for you. What works for one person may not work for another, don’t compare yourself. The goal is to eliminate stress, not add to it!
Our favorite strategies that you can implement are:
- Gratitude: Learning how to be happy right here, right now. You are in this moment for a reason. Take 5 minutes per day to write down 3 things that you are grateful for. You can start a note in your phone, use a journal, download a gratitude app.
- Sleep: This constantly under-utilized stress management, body composition, performance and happiness enhancing tool has more power then given credit for. 8 hours of sleep per night should become a nonnegotiable benchmark in your life.
- Get outside: Go for a walk! Nature is a medicine of its own. This is one of the best attenuators of stress, hands down.
- Headspace: This is a mindfulness app that you download. Give yourself 5 minutes per day, every single day.
- Learn to say NO: This very important word can be very difficult to say. However, learn your limits and stick to them. What are your values? Make your decisions based on your own personal values. Say no to what doesn’t align. Say no to what you SHOULD do and begin saying yes to what you MUST do.
Discussing an overview of the stress in your life with your coach is important to your wellbeing. The amount of physical stress that you put on your body during times of high stress should be tailored appropriately. Your coach is here for YOU, to help you be the best possible version of yourself that you can be. There is no time like the present to wake up and put your health first.