“I’m fine, just stressed”
How often do we say this? I feel like every time I use to answer a question, I always added that I was STRESSED. Now some of this stress comes from the fact that I have anxiety, but that’s a whole other blog post/for another time – I’m talking about the stress we CAN and SHOULD control.
I’ve even been stressed about writing. I love to write, but I put stress on myself for thinking that every blog had to be so life changing and profound that I have 10 drafts of blog posts I never posted because they weren’t “good enough”… Dumb, I know.
If you have followed me for a while, you know I stress about a lot of things. And if you haven’t? Well, I stress about a lot of things – now you’re caught up.
I’ve been a chronically stressed person most of my life. In fact, my coach Nick recognized it from the beginning and has been telling me for over a year and a half that I need to keep my stress in check. I brushed him off on that topic because I really didn’t think that stress could be THAT big of a factor in my health, progress, or… digestion.
Nick told me for the millionth time, “Sue. You need to prioritize your stress, recognize stressors – and get that shit done.”
1) Waaaay easier said than done
2) How can I stop stressing?
3) Is stress REAAAALLLY affecting me?
That was the main kicker, my digestion. I have IBS and after SUCH A LONG TIME of trying to find a way to live with it, and live with it comfortably – I finally took a look at my stress.
So what even does stress do to you?
Stress can affect your body, your thoughts, your feelings, and your behavior.
Stress that’s left unchecked can contribute to many health problems, like high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and diabetes.
Not to mention:
· Muscle Pain
· Upset Stomach
· Slowed/Messed up Digestion
· Trouble with Sleep
· Lack of Motivation
· Lack of Focus
· Constantly feeling overwhelmed
· Angry Outbursts
· Social Withdrawal
· ETC ETC ETC
The list could literally go on for FOREVER. Your body is intertwined. Each body system can affect the next, and it just turns out that stress affects them all.
How did I change? How did I stop the stress? Well, with ANYTHING worth changing in life, it wasn’t that easy. It didn’t happen overnight – and spoiler alert – I still stress (just much less).
Being able to recognize common stress symptoms can give you a jump on managing them.
A big thing that worked for me was LISTS. I actually have 3 lists.
A list for “NOW DO IT RIGHT NOW IT NEEDS TO BE DONE BY THE END OF THE DAY!”
A list for “Get it done sometime this week, you have a little time left – but not a ton”
A list for “You should probably get these done at sometime, but you can definitely put it on the backburner for now but make sure you don’t put these tasks above the other two lists just to procrastinate and/or feel accomplished for checking thinks off your list.
Most people give their lists shorter names but IMMA DO ME.
Onto some other things you should do:
– Prioritize it. Get to the bottom of it.
– Recognize stressors you have and figure out what you can do to fix them and/or how you can be on the lookout for them.
– Manage the stress. Find things (like lists) that help you.
My lists help me. Especially because I keep that first list very short, only 3-4 things. By keeping that list short: I’m insuring I’ll get it done and I’ll feel accomplished. I use to make lists, but they were lists that were SUPER long and really not feasible to get done in the time frame I gave myself, and then I would get stressed and disappointed at myself for not finishing all the things, and then I would get more stressed about what a disappointment I was and it would turn into a viscous cycle of stress.
Another thing you gots to do: Become PNS dominant.
Let me explain.
I went to a seminar this past weekend given by @allencress_ifbbpro. He talked about a lot of things, but he mainly emphasized the fact that HEALTH comes first with clients, and that stress is ruining a lot of people’s health and progress and can be detrimental.
Let’s talk about CNS – your central nervous system.
There’s the SNS (sympathetic nervous system), which has your fight or flight.
Then there’s the PNS (parasympathetic nervous system), which is your rest and digest.
Your SNS is turned “on” when you are training. It is also turned on when a bear is chasing you.
Your PNS is turned “on” when you are doing things like: getting quality sleep, meditating, doing yoga (restorative or Yin), and going on leisurely walks. (and when you are petting your perfect pup).
When your SNS is on, your cortisol increases, your insulin resistance increases, your fatty acids are mobilized. ALSO, your digestion is down regulated as well as your immune system.
Your SNS is turned on when training, and it not bad to have on… but only for a few hours a day. If you are someone who has chronic stress, your SNS is always on and your body is suffering.
The takeaway? Your body loves you. It’s trying to talk to you and tell you something – so listen to it. For me? My digestion was so unmanageable and was affecting my everyday life. It was my body SCREAMING for help. Asking me to take care of myself, and to turn on my PNS more and prioritize my dang health.
So if you won’t listen to your body – listen to me.
And remember, you’re too blessed to be stressed <33333
Keep doing hard things,