Proper nutrition and exercise is proven to help in times of stress, but going about your fitness goals could be the obstacle to your mental health. Below is a message to the MF’ers who tend to be goal crushers… just a few reminders…
I thought now would be a fitting time to discuss STRESS and where it lives in our overall wellness, and our desire to commit to ANY fitness or eating plan. Obviously, in the circumstances we are living in, my program and my encouragement for eating healthy and exercise is never meant to compound or add to the level of stress you are feeling. I think we probably know this, but often our self expectations or the perceived expectations of others (like your fitness coach – me) end up adding to our load. And it’s not helpful! Consider these emotions which may arise when you have fitness goals in a time like ours which are adding to your stress:
- Anxiousness or a feeling of selfishness. When making time for self care creates an inner struggle because maybe you have children or an intense work initiative and people who rely heavily on you.
- Becoming upset with your performance. You aren’t putting in your maximum effort, you don’t have the motivation, or you aren’t meeting your personal expectations. And maybe you fear you aren’t meeting mine (or someone else’s)
- Inability to Find Joy in the Process. Is exercise making you miserable? Are salads or Greek yogurt starting to piss you off?
All of these things (and more I’m sure) come from thoughts in our head. Our perception could be valid or imaginary, but either way, what was once for the betterment of our health will come as an obstacle towhy we started in the first place. So how can you make it work in your favor? Andy Puddicombe from Headspace recommends that rather than participating in these negative thoughts or even trying to pep talk your way out of them, let go of the inner chatter and to step out of your thinking. Allow the thoughts to pass. He says “The last thing we need to do is add another layer of stress by thinking about it all the time.” Give your feelings a label (oh that’s guilt, oh thats me feeling anxious) and push forward.Consider this: Stress equals our body’s response to any demand put on ourselves PLUS our level of resistance to it. Long term stress that goes unaddressed can lead to serious health issues (strain on your heart, anxiety, depression etc.) HOWEVER, dealing with stress has incredible benefits. And you already know, one of the BEST (and crucial) ways to deal with stress is exercise.
I know you have grand endeavors, big goals and strict timelines, and these are all GREAT! Just remember, sometimes life sets a different schedule than we do. Please, in these weeks, do not get hung up on the details like the amount of weight you lift, the amount of weight you lose, the speed in which you run…. Showing up at all is a huge WIN and one day, after continued pursuit of your health. In time you WILL reach or even exceed the goals you are striving for. For now, it may only be ONE STEP IN FRONT OF THE OTHER. Evaluate your perspective and take advantage of the positive stresses in your life and allow yourself to nurture your way to good physical and mental health.
Lastly, if you feel overwhelmed, ask for help. It is never a weakness to discuss your feelings in fact, it is a great sign of strength. You may have family or friends you can talk to, maybe a doctor, and also know I am here for you as well.
Sending you virtual hugs!Kat