We’re living in a wild year in a rapidly changing world.
The unstable political and social climates can add to the stress of everyday living and leave you thinking, “How am I going to get through this day? This month? This year?”
Add to that the pressure to eat healthy and exercise and take care of everyone in your life (in addition to you!) and it can all feel a bit out of control.
But there’s hope.
Here are 5 things you can do right now to re-orient your mind and calm your nerves:
1.) Realize You Can’t Control the World But You Can Control Your Workout
You get to choose if your workout happens or not.
“Wait,” you say, “I have a job and kids. I don’t always get to choose.”
No, some days you won’t be able to get to the gym, but you can probably get push-ups and squats done no matter where you are. And, if you have little kids, you might be able to go to the gym at 5am, before anyone in your house wakes up with a runny nose or the start of a fever. (I’ve been there. I went to the gym at 5am for years when my kids were little because I knew exactly how that happens.)
See, the bottom line is this: a workout will happen if you make it happen. Some days, it might be really tough and not exactly what you wanted (a walk instead of deadlifts), but roll with it. Stay committed. Doing something is better than doing nothing.
2.) Move More Because Movement Helps You Manage Stress
We all know how much better we feel after exercise. If we could start at the end of our workout, we’d all be the fittest people ever!
But that’s not how it works, so we all have to go through those first 10 minutes of exercise where it feels like you’re dying or at least about to spit up a hairball. But stay with it until those endorphins kick and your bloodstream gets flooded with the good stuff to make you high on life. Hang on until you hit Dopamine Heaven.
3.) Try Meditation or Other Ways to De-stress
I know it sounds a little goofy, but there’s something to be said for a bit of meditation. I couldn’t commit to that special room and candles stuff (although I do think a gong would be cool to have), but I like the “Simply Being” meditation app. You just have it on your phone and boom you can do five minutes of meditation anywhere. I sit on my couch with my dog in my lap and just lean my head back and listen and breath. It’s pretty awesome.
You also might have noticed the growing industry of adult coloring books. I thought they were wacky until I tried them, then I went and created the FUNctional Fitness Coloring Book because I wanted to color in barbells and do deadlift crossword puzzles!
Try anything you think might help: yoga, meditation, walking, coloring books, playing fetch with your dog. The important thing is not what you do so much as that you do something besides eating and drinking and sitting in front of a screen. Life can be a rough game, and you need to take care of yourself.
4.) Prepare for the Unexpected
That’s a stupid saying, right? How do you prepare for the unexpected when you’re not expecting it? But you kind of can.
Sometimes, it’s as easy as buying extra chicken or eggs so that when your perfect meal plan for dinner blows up (because of your schedule or your kid’s schedule) you still have something healthy you can make quickly.
It’s also keeping a pair of hiking shoes in your trunk so that if you unexpectedly get the chance to spend 30 minutes on a trail at the end of the day, you’re prepared. Ditto on keeping some gym clothes in your car. Basically, whenever you get a chance to move, be prepared to move. We can all minimize our SOMA (Sitting On My Ass) Time and feel better for doing so.
5.) $%^& Some Stuff Up in the Gym
Wait. What? You heard me. $%^& some stuff up.
If your gym has a slam-ball, use it! Slam that ball down hard! And with each slam, think of (or yell out) what you’re angry about! I used to teach women at my CrossFit affiliate how to use a slam-ball by telling them “Think of everyone who pissed you off today. Now slam that ball down! Get that anger out!” By the time they left, their aggression was on the floor and not held in their belly or their shoulders anymore. They felt calmer and less likely to go eat their feelings.
Slam therapy is sort of like sledge hammer therapy or boxing therapy or tire flip therapy or powerlifting or Olympic lifting or CrossFit or any sort of exercise: Acceptable outlets for your anger that don’t require bail money. Go hard and leave your frustration on the gym floor. It works!
Do what you can to control your stress in these stressful times and you’ll feel the results! Hang in there!
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