It’s spring! Hi everyone,Kris from Custom Fitness here, your personal trainer in Amarillo. We’ve been cooped up in our homes for most of the winter. And now is the time to break free and do … Well, everything that we haven’t in the past 3-4 months. The laundry list of to-do items seems never ending as is the list of activities and commitments. The word “NO” seems to have left our vocabulary and our stress level is on the rise (along with some possible back and joint pain from all of the new found activity). This heightened stress is causing things like lack of sleep, distracted driving (like when you go to work but don’t remember driving there), lack of mental focus and lack of productivity and possibly even weight gain to mention a few.
So when life feels like it’s spinning out of control, what do you do?
Here is my top 11 list of stress reducing activities to try:
- Get a good nights sleep – When you don’t sleep well at night, your body can’t recover from the day before. The effects of stress compound within the body and if not taken care of , can catapult you into some severe issues (ie. adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, mental fog, etc.) If you’re not sleeping well currently or having trouble falling asleep, try eliminating ALL electronic devices from your activities for 30 minutes before bed. This can also go as far as removing them from your bedroom to the best of your ability. The signals produced by these devices will continue to stimulate your mind and derail your body’s natural energy flow which can cause sleep to be more disturbed.
- Write in a journal– If you are having trouble sleeping, try writing in a journal before bed. This could be to list the things you need to do the next day or ideas that you’d like to look into further. This could even be a journal of gratitude where you could list the 3 best things that happened that day and the 3 things you are most grateful for.
- Create your BIG 3 list for the day– Before going to bed, spend 10 minutes creating your BIG 3 list for the following day. This prep work will help to make tomorrow easier by listing the 3 most important things you have to get done. By doing this the night before, your brain will be able to rest easier knowing that your “to-do” list has already been taken care of and when you wake up, you can get started right away.
- Get some consistent exercise– Exercise has been proven to release chemicals in your body called endorphins. These endorphins can reduce your body’s perception of pain and can trigger an overall positive feeling.
- Get outside– Going outside into the fresh air and sunshine can do wonders for your stress levels. The sun rays provide vitamin D which is an essential part of healing thyroid issues and boosting your mood as well as your immune system.
- Do some yoga– The benefits of yoga for stress reduction and relaxation are not a secret to many. Even if you don’t feel as though you are at an advanced yogi level, start with some basic stretching and breathing and see how it can benefit your mood and sleep.
- Deep breathing and meditation– Don’t make this one too complicated. If you haven’t practiced meditation before, just start off with taking 5 deep long breaths any time you start to feel the stress rising. When I first learned about meditation, I wasn’t sure what to think or if I could even do it…I mean you have to sit there with a quiet mind for HOW LONG? However, the dear friend that taught me brought it into a new perspective for me and that was “meditation is not like a conversation where you are talking, but rather it is a time to be quiet and listen”. This “quiet time” is beneficial on multiple levels. It can reduce the internal effects of stress as well as boost your mood and health.
- Meet up with some friends to talk it out– Speaking is often more therapeutic than thinking. If left to it’s own devices your brain can build things so out of proportion that they are barely recognizable. Speaking (and writing) can help to bring things back into perspective and make it easier to work through situations.
- Drink some hot herbal tea– Often drinking 1 cup of hot herbal tea twice per day can give you just enough time to “breathe” and can allow your body to process stress, relax, and heal from the depletion that can occur as a result of chronic stress.
- Do a “Brain Dump”– Simply write (or type) a list of EVERYTHING you have in your mind that needs to be accomplished (daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly, annually, whatever works best for you). Again, when the brain is allowed to build the stressors out of recognizable perspective, we have issues. Writing out a brain dump list can help you to #1 see what actually needs / has to be done, #2 prioritize, delegate and complete the tasks at hand, #3 get the list out of your head so you can see it and make it become actionable. As a personal trainer in Amarillo, a mom, and more, this tip is worth it’s weight in gold.
- Take a bath– An epsoms salt bath will make it even more beneficial (try adding 2 cups of epsoms salts to your warm bath water). When you add the salts, your body will be able to absorb magnesium which can help aid in a restful night’s sleep as well as fight some of the internal effects of chronic stress. Aim for 20-40 minutes in the bath to receive the most benefit.These are some of the top things I personally use and coach my clients to use during times of high stress, hopefully this will give you a great place to start on your personal journey of reducing stress. You probably won’t need all of them but having a few in your tool box will help guide you through some of your most high stressed moments. Also remember that you can use 1 by itself or combine several together.
We’d love to know what works for you. Leave a comment to let us know what you do to reduce your stress levels. Got stress on lockdown, but looking for other ways to ramp up your fitness? If you’re ready to take the first step, talk to one of our trainers about our many programs: nutrition, personal training, group fitness and more. We are ready to get you on your way to your goals. You can contact us at 806-322-3188 or firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to working with you. Have a great day.