September 30, 2022
Around here, we love talking about how nutrition and movement can affect your health, goals and body composition. But as much as we love telling you how to eat enough protein and giving you free workouts, we understand that there is so much more to being the best version of you. We need to talk about one other important factor that can influence your health:
We ALL experience stress on a daily basis. This state of chronic stress causes our bodies to overproduce stress hormones. The most notorious of these is cortisol. While cortisol is important to keep us alert and awake, too much cortisol is bad. Cortisol sends the body into fight-or-flight mode. Evolutionarily, this system was effective at helping our ancestors survive short-term stressors such as running from a tiger or living through periods of famine. However, in our modern world where stress has become an everyday occurrence, cortisol and other stress hormones may be wreaking havoc in our bodies. Here’s what happens:
Besides, these negative effects of stress hormones of cortisol, stress itself can make sticking to your goals more challenging. Who wants to eat healthy and workout when you’ve got a million things stressing you out, right??!! We are automatically in a worse mood and less motivated when we are stressed.
Now, we understand that reducing the stressors in our lives is easier said than done. Everyone has different life circumstances that can make living on this planet pretty stressful. But here are some of the easy things that we try to implement in our lives to help reduce and manage the stress we deal with:
This is our biggest tip. It’s important to do something that makes you happy EVERY.SINGLE.DAY. Whether it’s 5 minutes or an hour, taking some time every day to add a little joy in your life can do wonders for your stress level. This also gives you something to look forward to every day and will keep you motivated to push through the stressful challenges that you do face in life. Some of our “Happy Activities” include cooking, watching a funny show, reading, going for a walk and playing music. The important thing here is to find something that makes YOU happy.
Having people around you that you love and that love you is so important to keep you sane! These are the people that you can go to if you need to rant or a pep talk. They are the ones that will get you through the good times AND the bad times. Life always seems more manageable when there are people around you that can relate to and empathize with whatever you are going through. Find these people in your life and keep them close!
Prioritize Your Health
While managing stress is important to maintaining good health, keeping healthy is also important to managing stress! Think about it, stress is draining for the body, both mentally and physically. When you are stressed out, this is prime time to unleash all the tools you have. The most important of these tools are nutrition, sleep and movement:
It sounds so simple but breathing is one of the best ways to manage stress. Our breathing automatically becomes shallow and quick when we are stressed. This can make us feel more anxious. On the other hand, slow and deep diaphragmatic breaths can help to calm the nervous system. The next time you are stressed, use your breath! Try diaphragmatic breathing, the 4-7-8 technique, box breathing or simply taking a few deep breaths. It takes a little practice but once you master your breath, it can become a very powerful stress reliever!
Here’s the thing, stress may always be part of our lives. But there are still things that we can do to help get us through stressful times. We hope that this post empowers you and helps you to keep moving forward!
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