It was Friday night. I sat here on the couch staring at my husband thinking about all the things that still needed to get done. We were both drained, physically and mentally, and on the brink of an argument over nothing. It was only 6 pm, my toddler just gave herself a toothpaste facial and the house looked like a mini tornado came through our living room. I was counting down the hours until bedtime, but I couldn’t help but feel on edge, frustrated, and not sure if I wanted to laugh, cry or sleep. My positive, upbeat personality was fading, as it usually does on a Friday night.
I realized I hadn’t even got a workout in yet, and although I don’t typically exercise at night, it sounded like just what I needed to snap out of my funk. So I forced myself off the couch, threw on my fun workout pants and dragged my butt to the gym.
“In times of great stress or adversity, it’s always best to keep busy, to plow your anger and your energy into something positive” Lee Iacocca
For me, exercise is my ‘something positive’. How many times this week has a client said “You know…I didn’t want to workout, but I’m so glad I did”. You by no means have to set new personal records, but a powerwalk or 10-minute sweat session can still do wonders.
Think of the last time you’ve been in my Friday night state of mind, feeling tired, mentally foggy, and overall unmotivated. Now imagine how you feel after a workout, your muscles are vibrating with energy; your brain is sharp and focused, and all of the sudden the to-do list seems manageable again.
Stress and Coping
When it comes to stress, everyone has it. It may be stem from work, your relationships with others, your responsibilities at home, finances, illness, mood, hormones, or simply because of a change in routine or habit. A great thing about stress is that we get to decide how we are going to cope. People cope with stress in different ways; you can avoid the stressor (e.g. throw away the credit card bills and pretend they don’t exist), or you can use active coping strategies, which often include, exercise, positive reframing, meditation, social support, and other self-care activities.
Stress Management Techniques
The Center for Studies on Human Stress identifies the following tips for coping with everyday stress and challenging situations.
1. Be positive!
2. Make the choice not to overreact to stressors and deal with them one at a time
3. Take an objective view of your stressor (e.g. is it really that bad?
5. Accept yourself (and others) – nobody is perfect.
6. Make connections with people
7. Deal effectively with mistakes, blaming and self-doubt won’t get you far.
8. Effectively addressing successes, you deserve to be proud, own it!
9. Develop self-discipline and control
The common theme here is that we need to be in tune with ourselves and others around us. Being proactive, communicating our feelings and taking care of ourselves are all key steps in coping with stress when it arises. If taking care of yourself is tough, a personal trainer or coach can help keep you on track and accountable to your workouts. With my clients I like to incorporate daily check-ins and online workouts so I know they are doing their work, even when I am away. Setting yourself up for success is the first step to reaching your goals.
So just do it. Move your body, exercise your mind. Your body and family will thank you for it later!
Do 1 of each, then 2 of each, then 3 of each, until you get to 10, then work your way back down to 1.
Squat with Shoulder Press
Ab Tucks on Ball
In fitness and good health,