Stressors such as job pressure, kids (family), money, eating and exercise regimen can energize and inspire you, OR sap your will and mojo. How do we reach our potential and balance the stressors in our lives?
Being stressed out can make it hard to reach any goals, especially health and fitness goals. But did you know that not having enough stress can slow your progress as well? Stress is a “thing” that happens to everyone. It is a response to the challenges we face every day. These stressors can drive you to “get ‘er done” or to crumble and sink. The key is finding your “stress sweet spot”. This means just enough stress, but not too much so you can reach your potential without crashing and burning.
Stressors such as work deadlines, parenting, and workouts are not necessarily good or bad, but do we respond positively or negatively? Positive responses are inspiring, energizing, motivating, increase focus and alertness, explore edges of our comfort zone, and balance stress. These positive responses aid us in learning, growing, and getting stronger. Negative responses are weakening, worrying, demoralizing, and distracting. These negative responses cause us to become unwilling to challenge ourselves, the quality of our rest and recovery goes down, cortisol and adrenaline go up, muscle decreases, fat increases. Irregularities in blood sugar, immunity, metabolism, sleep patterns, and hormone levels can also result from negative responses. How do you respond?
Some factors are static. We have little or no control over these intrinsic factors such as: genetics, history, current stress load, and environment. But we can control our coping ability, attitude and support network. To evaluate where you are on the “stress spectrum”, think about these factors: Am I bored, lethargic, unfocused, directionless and struggling to find purpose? If so my stress is TOO LOW. Am I anxious or obsessive, depressed, panicked and flailing, stuck or numb? If so, my stress is TOO HIGH. Am I energized, engaged and interested, actively moving toward goals and setting goals, learning and growing? I’m JUST RIGHT.
To reach your potential without crashing and burning try these little steps.
Set effective goals that motivate you
Start with one action each day
Track your progress
Find a mentor or coach
Finally, rest and recovery are very important…daily! Practice parasympathetic activities such as walking, yoga, stretching, easy swimming, hot tub, green tea, mindfulness, meditation, laughing, nature, etc. Take time to meditate…quiet time boosts the immune system, improves sleep, mood and emotional regulation. It also lowers blood pressure, sharpens focus and mental clarity. With the arrival of spring, take time to be outdoors!! Balance your exercise routine with a mix of strength training, conditioning, cardio and low intensity recovery. Most importantly, practice self-compassion. Ask for help/support as needed, get coaching or counseling if you’re stuck. Know your limits and honor them! Unplug at least once a week!
Challenge yourself to be the best you can be! With balance! Have a great week!